Residential general contractors in Chicago



When to Hire Residential General Contractors: tips and tricks

In real estate, being up to date ensures that the value of your property is always high. Residential general contractors are critical in ensuring your home remodeling process is conducted seamlessly. Whether it is your home or a residential property you rely on for passive income, general residential contractors will ensure the needed improvements are completed to offer you, or your tenant, a better living space.



Who are Residential General Contractors?

Residential general contractors are the professionals you rely upon when conducting a home rebuilding process. Your residential general contractor will coordinate and oversee all aspects of the remodeling project. They are responsible for hiring all the professionals needed for the successful completion of the project.

The industry practice is that the residential general contractor coordinates the work of all subcontractors through managing their schedules. At Fortress Home, we stand above the rest because we rely on professionals who are our permanent employees. We find that having a team of construction professionals that have worked together for many projects ensures that the coordination process has minimal hiccups. Trust us to deliver a stellar finished product on completion of your custom home renovation

There are different types of residential general contractors:

  • Residential Remodeling Contractors

    When your hire a residential remodeling contractor, it means your home does not need any significant structural changes. This type of contractor focuses mainly on kitchen and bathroom remodels. There is significantly less work in designing with all efforts focused on building. When hiring a residential remodeling contractor, be sure to inquire whether they handle the sourcing of materials so that you can take their rates into account.

  • Home Additions Contractors

    The residential general contractors in this category prefer building and stay away from designing. Contracting a home additions contractor means you will need a separate designer or architect to handle your home improvement project designs. Take the time to understand the dynamics of the home additions contractor company that you want to handle your construction process.

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Type of Work performed by Residential General Contractors

When do you know you need the services of a residential general contractor? The type of work that a residential general contractor can handle may vary depending on your needs. Here are the instances when a general contractor will be able to meet your construction needs.

  • Painting and flooring. 

  • Electrical work, HVAC, and plumbing. 

  • Door and windows installation or replacement. 

  • Home renovation, remodeling, and restoration. 

  • Home additions and new constructions. 

  • Porches, patios, and decks. 

  • Concrete work.

Most residential general contractors specialize in the type of work they handle. You can check their portfolio as part of your due diligence to see whether they have handled types of work similar to what you need them to do. Remember that there is a big difference between a handyman and a general contractor. You can entrust a handyman with minor repairs and maintenance tasks but be careful not to assign them complex roles that need the expertise of a general contractor.

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How does a home improvement contractor differ from a residential general contractor?

  1. Size of their Operation
    With most home improvement contractors, it is usually a one-person operation with a few assistants. They do not need an expansive staff because they only take on small tasks. A residential general contractor may accept small tasks, but they are equipped to handle large projects.
  2. Staff Capabilities
    Residential general contractors that do not have enough staff to handle the work will rely on capable subcontractors to get the job done. In such cases, their role involves quality assurances and ensuring that the terms of the general contracting agreement are met. Suppose a home improvement contractor has a task that is beyond their capability. In that case, they will either decline the job or use unreliable subcontractors. You may be vulnerable to violating the terms of your property insurance in such cases.
  3. Licensing Requirements
    The City of Chicago only requires one to obtain a home repair license to be a home improvement contractor. A Chicago real estate general contractor needs to obtain a general contractor license. Unlike the home repair license, the general contractor one requires the applicant to purchase insurance whose value is equivalent to the maximum project value they can handle. Once you have identified that your general contractor’s license fits the value of your construction project, you can worry less about liabilities that you may incur because of their activities.

What are the benefits of hiring a residential general contractor?

Getting a residential general contractor to handle your project has some key benefits. Keep this in mind when deciding on the best way to complete your construction project

  • Seamless process: Your residential contractor will handle all aspects of the process, including securing the necessary permits, supplies acquisition, planning for inspections, and hiring subcontractors if the need arises.
  • Experience and wealth of knowledge: General contractors are often professionals that have operated in the construction industry long enough to know how it works. Your contractor will share information regarding cost-saving measures, and their professional networks will ensure the project is completed efficiently
  • Insurance: As mentioned before, licensed general contractors are required to purchase insurance. Once you confirm that the contractor is licensed to handle the size of your project, you can rest easy knowing that you are not liable for any events that may occur during the construction period.
  • Access to discounts and special rates: Getting your residential general contractor to handle the acquisition of supplies means they will tap into their supplier network. The suppliers are incentivized to offer discounts and special rates to preserve their working relationship. This will have a positive impact on your project costs.
  • Singular contact point: Your general contractor’s ability to handle all aspects of the project means that you do not need to communicate with each team separately. A clear line of communication will be provided, and you can build a relationship with your contact person. This minimizes the chances of miscommunication.

When to hire Residential Contractors

Everyone is out to save on costs, and the idea can sound incredibly compelling when there is no downside. There are instances where you may not need the services of a residential contractor. However, be careful not to do the work yourself or deal with home improvement contractors and handymen directly when the construction requirements are complex. Here are the instances where you need to hire a residential contractor

  • When the project is bound to take more than a week: In such a case, the professionalism and experience of a general contractor will come in handy to ensure everything moves smoothly.
  • When the project requires more than one construction professional: Here, you will need a residential general contractor to coordinate the functions of the different professionals working on your project to ensure their efforts do not clash.
  • When your city’s building codes require permits or licensed professionals to carry out the tasks you have in mind: You will need a general contractor to obtain the necessary permits, and their licensing status will shield you from fines and the wrath of your property insurance carrier.

What guides your decision to hire a general contractor?

Choosing the suitable residential general contractor for your construction project is the most important decision you can make. As such, it should not be taken lightly, and you should make every effort to ensure that your choice of the general contractor is the ideal one. Here are some factors that should guide your decision.

  • The company’s age: knowing how long the contractor has been in business will indicate the experience level they bring to the table.
  • References: simply referring to the general contractor’s portfolio is not enough. Ask for testimonials from previous clients to get a feel of what you will be getting into
  • Similar projects experience: Ask your contractor candidates to offer details on their experience with projects with requirements close to yours.
  • Insurance level and status: Look at the contractor’s insurance policy to ensure that its limits are within the limit of the value of your project.
  • Cost estimates: Your contractor should provide a detailed budget and inform you of their unique value that justifies the rates.
  • Project timeline: Let the contractor break down the project’s duration with details on how they intend to meet every milestone.
  • Industry recognition: Ask your contractor about any recognition they have received from credible institutions, awards, and ratings.

Once all these factors have been considered, you can select the contractor that ticks your boxes. You may want to conduct some due diligence with bodies such as the Better Business Bureau. They maintain records of complaints against business entities.

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Importance of a General Contractor License/Certificate

Whether it is small renovations or significant construction projects, there is a temptation to “cut out the middleman” and handle the project yourself, hire subcontractors and supervise them without the help of a general contractor. This may seem like a good idea, but the risks it carries with it make the decision not worth it. A general contractor license is important because it offers you security. Here are three key reasons to hire a licensed general contractor.

  1. They will ensure all city and state requirements have been met. A large part of being a licensed general contractor is the understanding that the company fully understands all the building codes for relevant projects and the required permits. You will be in an ideal position with a licensed general contractor since they will ensure that city inspections do not highlight any issues.
  2. Systematic project completion. The professionalism associated with licensed general contractors means that they have enough experience and capacity to deliver exactly what is promised. They will communicate with you at every step of the way to keep you informed on the progress.
  3. Insurance. This has been mentioned on more than one occasion, and it is a testament to the importance of having insurance. You may have property insurance, but the scope of many insurance policies does not include any damage to property or persons that may occur during renovations or initial construction. Your investment is protected during the construction process since the contractor’s activities are covered under their legally required insurance policy.

About Fortress Home

After reading all these tips about the need to hire a licensed residential general contractor, you may find yourself asking why Fortress Home should be your choice. We are a reliable general contractor that applies an integrated approach to the entire construction process. Being a family-owned and operated business, we understand the need to have competent professionals handle construction projects for residential properties.

The standard industry practice is to rely on subcontractors. However, at Fortress Home, we rely on our internal team of construction professionals. We have found the practice incredibly rewarding since all the team members have plenty of experience working together. As a client, you will experience an efficient construction process with professionals who complement each other and solely focus on meeting your set objectives.

Once you have completed your due diligence process on us, you will not need to research other players since we will handle every aspect of your project. We always strive to meet the set milestones while maintaining high standards for the project.

The hiring process at Fortress Home is extensive to ensure that they have unblemished backgrounds. We also conduct regular substance testing to ensure that our clients receive services from competent professionals without the influence of any substances. Our years of experience as general contractors in Chicago have allowed us to build networks with key players in the local construction industry. We will get you the best deals on supplies and access the best quality of fittings alongside the latest technologies. All these at incredibly friendly prices due to the relationships we have nurtured over the years.

If you are interested in seeking our services for your next construction project, feel free to reach out, and we will provide a free estimate. Our commitment to high standards of business ethics ensures that we deliver outstanding work while offering affordable prices to our clients.

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Fortress Home understands how important it is for the customer to implement the future home project at the highest level. And our clients understand that achieving such a level is possible only by choosing a reputable and competent general contractor. If you are one of those customers, you can always rely on us when looking for a reliable construction partner for your new home or renovation.

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