How to Choose a General Contractor
20+ Questions for Interviewing Your General Contractor
(provided by RALCO Builders to all of our prospective clients)
1. Are you a registered builder in good standing with the State of NJ?Yes. New Home Builder - License #41157Home Improvement - License #13VH2485300
2. Do you participate in the NJ New Home Warranty Program?
Yes. We are enrolled with Professional Warranty Corporation.
3. Are you fully insured for general liabilty? Which insurance Company? Will you provide certification?
Yes. We are fully insured through Connelly, Campion & Wright. We also provide our certificate of insurance to all clients.
4. Do you have employees? If so, what is your organization structure? Do you carry Workers' Compensation?
RALCO Builders outsources most all company functions in order to keep overhead as low as possible allowing us to pass this savings onto our clients. Our business developer is a consultant to the company and is fully dedicated to making sure that we provide the best service to our clients. Every RALCO Builders employee is covered under our Workers Compensation Insurance.
5. Do you provide a legal contract?
Yes. We encourage you to review our contract carefully to make sure that you are legally protected and have a clear understanding of our respective responsibilities.
6. Is it specified what is and is not to be done on your jobs? What other information is included in your contract?
Yes. We clearly state what will and will not be provided prior to starting your project. Of course, the building process is dynamic and complex, so we also provide for flexibility and contingencies to provide services that can enhance your project beyond your original expectations or handle unforseen situations that may arise during the building process.
7. Is your start date and projected finish date clearly specified in your contract?
Yes. Most important to us is getting your project finished on time, and within budget.
8. Do you have a "Change Order" policy and will you provide a sample of a change order?
Yes. We understand that you will need or want to change certain aspects of your project and will provide a seamless Change Order policy so you may take advantage of new information as it becomes available to you. We provide the costs upfront so that you may make an informed decision.
9. Are your subcontractors licensed where required? Do they carry liability insurance, and do they carry Workers' Compensation for their employees?
Yes. We require that all subcontractors provide appropriate insurance certificates prior to coming to the jobsite and we keep them on file for the duration of the project.
10. Do you, as the builder, obtain permits?
Yes. We have a great repuation with construction offices and are conficent that we can expediate the permitting process for you.
11. When will my payments be due?
As part of your contract, there will be a clearly stated progress payment schedule that will facilitate timely procurement of materials and labor to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. We work with the construction lenders as well to keep your project moving.
12. What professional trade organizations are you a member of?
RALCO Builders is an active member of NJBIA, NFIB and the New Jersey Shore Builders Association
13. Do you and your employees attend regular industry expos and continuing education courses?
Yes. We also take time to evaluate and learn about new materials and technology that can significantly benefit your project.
14. How long have you been in the construction business?
Longevity in the construction business is rare and should not be taken lightly. We feel that in addition to longevity, having a broad experience is also important. With RALCO Builders you get both. Neil Ducharme has been in the construction business since his high school days. He has obtained formal higher education in construction management and has worked for reputable construction and development companies, holding positions in the highest levels of project management on complex private and municipal projects. He has formed RALCO Builders, incorporating more than 15 years experience.
15. Do you create a project plan for how the job will be completed including costs, schedule, and resources needed?
We carefully plan out every phase of each project to ensure that it is completed on time and within budget. It is via our project plan, that we can track and monitor your project's progress on a daily basis and keep you informed throughout the entire building process.
16. Do you use a job completion punch list that ensures job quality and completion?
Yes. A punch list is your final confirmation that the job is completed properly. Our punch list also includes input from municipal officals to ensure that all authorities having jurisdiction over your project verify the quality and completness.
17. Can you provide a reference list of completed jobs and jobs in progress?
Yes. You should think about questions to ask our references that will help you really get to know RALCO Builders.
18. Can I visit your job sites, and talk to construction officials about your reputation?
We recommend visiting both completed jobs and jobs in progress. Completed jobs will give you a chance to speak with other homeowners and visiting jobs in progress will give you a chance to view how our sites operate.
19. Can you supply the names of 3 subcontractors and 3 suppliers you've used in the past? (This indicates a good working relationship.) How long have you been affliated with these subcontractors?
Yes. We've worked with some of our subcontractors and suppliers for a long time. We are continually shopping around for the best price and service for our clients so we maintain serveral sources for each subcontractor and supplier.
20. Do you specify all materials or do you use allowances?
Where to utilize allowances and hard specification is unique to each project, and sometimes is a personal preference to our clients. Once the advantages and disadvantages of each scenario is understood, we feel that combining upfront specification of materials with flexible allowances is key to getting the most positive outcome for our clients.
21. Will I be able to work with your suppliers and subcontractors directly during the building process and be made aware of timely cost saving deals as they are made available to you?
Yes. There are many advantages to working directly with our suppliers. Among them are getting what you really want by working with their designers and sales people ensuring that they have every detail directly from you. Also, you get the confidence that you are paying the absolute lowest prices for materials and services because you see the invoices directly.
22. What happens if you get hurt or sick and can no longer work at the site?
We have project manager that stay informed about all of our projects on an ongoing basis so that there is backup for every project. RALCO Builders embraces the team approach to providing the best service to our clients.
23. How can I expect conflicts to be resolved?
We believe that proactive communication is the best way to avoid conflicts altogether. However, any issue that does arise will be dealt with quickly, understood fully and resolved in the best interest of your project.
24. How do you communicate with your clients during the building process? Phone? Email?
We will use all means of communication. We understand that the best ideas sometimes come in the middle of the night. Send us an email or leave us a message. We don't mind as long as it is a benefit to your project. We don't punch a timeclock.
25. Will I ever have to wait long for a call back?
At RALCO Builders we take pride in our dedication, reputation, and integrity. We believe that every client deserves a call back within 1 hour.