7 Steps to Choose the Best Residential General Contractor in Indianapolis

7 Steps to Choose the Best Residential General Contractor in Indianapolis

Renovating a home is a major task – it’s a project that requires a good deal of preparation, organization and knowledge. Without the right general contractor, you could end up with a botched project and an overall experience that is less than ideal. Not sure how to choose the best contractor for the job? Start with a thorough search that includes seeking word-of-mouth suggestions from friends and neighbors and searching digital marketplaces.

General contractors make your home renovation experience a smooth and successful one. It’s unlikely that you, the homeowner, will be able to spend all your time overseeing and managing various subcontractors. There are a lot of moving parts that contribute to the success of your renovation project, so it’s essential that everything comes together smoothly. An experienced general contractor will be able to manage all the moving parts of a home renovation, including subcontractor work, inspection approvals, obtaining permits and other building requirements. Here’s how to choose the best contractor for the job in seven quick steps:

  1. Find a Company You Can Trust

First and foremost, you’ll want to select a contractor you can trust. Avoid accepting a bid from your contractor over the phone, as you won’t have the full scope of their abilities without an in-person conversation. Make sure you have met the contractor in-person and have walked them through the home. Conducting a walk-through with the contractor and explaining the renovation in detail is the best way to ensure you receive an accurate cost estimate.

It’s also a good idea to provide the contractor with an itemized list of all changes you want to make within the home. If the initial bid you receive from your contractor is exceptionally high or low, be sure to ask what the reason is for the amount. Be thorough and detailed when it comes to examining this preliminary phase of your project.

  1. Consider Your Specific Needs

In addition to costs, it’s important to consider what projects a contractor specializes in, if applicable. Be sure to ask the contractor about their prior experiences. A reputable contractor should be able to give you photos and references from past projects.

Think about the specific needs of your project. Are you remodeling one room or an entire home? Do you need someone who also has experience with landscaping and dry scaping? What about someone who has experience renovating a wood-frame house versus a concrete-block home? These are the types of questions you should be asking when determining which contractor is for you. Make sure to choose a contractor that is aligned with your specific needs and has the experience needed to do the job well.

  1. Consider Their Availability

How available is each specific contractor? If the contractor is in high demand, then you’ll likely have to pay more for their services. Another potential roadblock could be that you may have to wait for the contractor to complete other projects before they start on your home renovation. A contractor who is extremely busy may even try to price themselves out of your project with an unusually high bid.

A busy contractor is generally busy for a reason—their services are likely top of the line and may be worth the wait for your project. However, if you need someone who can start work on your project right away, then you’ll need to find a contractor with more availability.

  1. Make Sure Contractor is Licensed and Insured

To avoid being ripped off, scammed or sued, it is crucial that you check to make sure a contractor is licensed and insured. Without proper insurance, you could be liable if a subcontractor or worker becomes injured while on the job. In addition to bodily harm or injury, a contractor’s insurance should cover property damage.

Unfortunately, there are contractors out there who claim to be licensed and insured when they are not. To ensure that you are hiring a reputable and licensed contractor, be sure to ask for a contractor’s credentials during the interview process. Check with your state and local government to confirm that the contractor meets all licensing requirements.

  1. Take Note of Their Communication Style

When interviewing a contractor, take note of their communication style. In other words: pay attention to their preferred methods when they communicate with you. Is it mostly by phone and text or does the contractor prefer to email? Are they slow to respond or do they reply quickly to all inquiries? If you need someone who gets back to you quickly, then don’t hire a contractor who is largely unresponsive via phone and email.

If you prefer to talk in-person, then be sure the contractor is available for meetings in that format. In addition to the ways in which a contractor communicates with clients, be aware of their specific style of communication. Are they assertive or passive? Home renovations can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, so it’s important that you communicate well with your contractor and feel at ease with them as well.

  1. Check for Reviews and References

Be sure to check a contractor’s reviews. Taking the time to research each residential general contractor in Indianapolis will put you in the best position to find the perfect one for your project. Read through all the reviews you can find and see what you learn about each contractor.

  1. Meet their Team

You’ll be interacting and dealing with the contractor’s team and subcontractors on a regular basis. When interviewing a contractor, make sure to ask who they use for certain renovation projects. You’ll want to do the same due diligence with your subcontractors as you do with your contractor.

Be sure to also ask about the contractor’s management style. For instance, do they personally oversee every aspect of the renovation in-person? How much time do they spend overseeing and managing the subcontractors? Do they conduct a background check for all subcontractors?

Taking initiative when it comes to working with your team of contractors and subcontractors is essential to the success of your project. Be diligent and thorough with your questions on the front end to reap the benefits of your research from the results of your project!

Ready to Take on Your Home Renovation Project?

At White Oak Construction, we have over four decades of experience handling home renovation projects across the Indianapolis area and beyond. Our projects are built upon a foundation of trust, communication and your specific ideas. If you’re ready to take on your home renovation project, contact us today to learn more about our process and get a free estimate!

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We had a wonderful experience with Matt and Eric from White Oak. Like most homeowners, we dreaded the process of finding a company we could trust, navigating all the ins and outs, and, quite frankly, all the things we don’t know. White Oak provided an on-site walk through, asked questions to better understand the challenges of the property, and even climbed into the attic to inspect it and prevent any unforeseen issues. We were happily surprised with how knowledgeable they were and comforted by how candidly they spoke with us about our concerns over taking on such a costly project. They listened to us and put our minds at ease by explaining the available financing options. We feel comfortable with White Oak because they've been around for 40 years and have a reputation for guaranteeing the quality of their products and workmanship.
John and Adrienne Summerlot
I had 4 old, rusted basement windows replaced with new, energy-efficient windows. The White Oak sales people were personable and knowledgeable. The men who installed the windows did a great job. They removed the old windows and handled an unexpected glitch with speed. The new windows were installed, framed, and sealed in just a few hours. The new windows definitely improve the look of the basement both inside and out. I look forward to opening the new windows this summer and allowing some fresh air to circulate. That has not been an option in the past.
Joyce J. Hinton
White Oak Construction assisted us with the construction of a mother-in-law unit. They went above and beyond at every step of the project to make us feel like valuable customers. We appreciate their great work and highly recommend the White Oak team!
Betty & Charles Johnson
We are very appreciative to the White Oak team for the great job they did on our rain gutter and fascia replacement projects! They were pleasant to work with and did a great job on installation and clean up. The White Oak team definitely met and exceeded our expectations.
Merlen & Donna Rasmussen
We recently had 4 windows and a front door installed in our home by White Oak Construction. The White Oak crew arrived on time and made quick work of our installation project. The door and the windows look great! We are very pleased with their professional workmanship and would like to give a special shout out to Rick, who was very informative and friendly throughout the process. Thank you, White Oak!
James A.
I was in the market for a bay window and had spoken with several construction companies when I encountered White Oak Construction at the Indiana State Fair. I met with Jeff Long and Joe Myers and was impressed with their window demonstration. I would definitely recommend White Oak Construction for their high-quality windows and excellent price.
Cheryl Black
White Oak Construction is such a fantastic company. I have talked to numerous employees of White Oak and I get the same result ... they make me happy. I am very satisfied with all of their work in numerous areas of my house. They didn’t tell me what I needed, they showed me what I needed and I like that. Paul was awesome. He treated me with respect and made me feel like I was a family friend. Thank you for a job well done.
Mary C. Smith
One thing I would like to say is the people you having working for you are amazing, the work turned out beautiful, and the men that did it I don’t know where you found them but so well mannered, fast, and then time to go over it a talk to you. All I can say is job very well done and if anyone needs anything that you do I am definitely going to give them your name. Thank you so much for a job well done, and again amazing people you have them, and of course don’t forget you office help she was super sweet on the phone. Thank You!
Coy A. Gentz
Seven years ago we had you install 14 windows ni our home and we loved them. We had 4 newer windows at the time and decided that we would not replace them. Over time those inferior windows that were bought at a local store began to fail and the room became drafty and cold. So we called you again and had you replace those 4 windows along with 2 windows ni the garage. We are so happy with the new windows. They look so great and are so easy to clean. We were so happy with al of the people that help to get our windows. They were al very friendly and helpful. They are excellent windows and worth every penny that we spent. The installation was great! Thanks again for doing another great job on our windows. Sincerely, John and Marian Dykes
John and Marian Dykes
I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to every single employee at White Oak Construction. Without exaggeration, every single person I dealt with from your company took the time to get to know me as a person and allow me to get to know them, and their families/lives - who they are. I’ve seen a lot in my 64 years on this earth, but I’ve never seen the likes of the quality of your people and workmanship.
Crystal Miller
White Oak Construction contacted us at exactly the time we were looking for a contractor to replace our rotted cedar siding. Rather than replace our cedar siding, the White Oak team suggested we use vinyl instead to save money on future cedar replacements and upkeep. We loved that suggestion but had one requirement: that they maintain our home’s unique siding design and placement. White Oak finished our project in just 6 weeks and did a beautiful job duplicating the siding design. We appreciated their attention to detail and commitment to keeping us in the loop every step of the way. Even our neighbors have noticed and complimented their work!
Harding and Carol Kennedy
I would like to thank all of the people involved in this. I had my roof replaced and the entire process was smooth and well done. The job was done to my satisfaction and very high quality. The entire job took less than half of the time I expected and the quality of the work is outstanding. I would recommend calling this company for roof repair or replacement to anyone that needs the work done.
Robert Brooking
Would like to say thank you for putting my front window in my house. I have had several compliments on how good it looks! They were quick and thorough. Went right to work and didn’t stop until they were done. Cleaned up so well it did not look like they had even been here.
Connie Wayren
On August 18th our new door was delivered and installed. It is so beautiful! I could not have imagined how great it was going to look. It changes the look of the entire house and has such a nice tight seal. Scott, the young man who installed it, is beyond words. What great work. Installed and cleaned up in a couple hours. Our salesman Rob was top notch also. He helped me pick the color for the door and I want him to know how perfect it was. I feel that I have the most beautiful front door in town. This is the second time we have used White Oak Construction and I promise you if you need work done they do quality work and use quality products. They are better than all the rest.
Matt and Mariellen Tipton
We are so happy with our new windows from White Oak Construction! From the sales team to the installation technician, everyone was so quick to help us in this process. Not only are the windows of excellent quality, the installation was very fast. We are so happy with our windows and we look forward to working with White Oak again in the future! Thank you everyone!
Allie Bland
On October 6, 2020, I had three of the six windows in my house replaced by White Oak Construction. The windows I had replaced are in the front room of my house. Two of the windows face the east and one faces the north. The two that face the east were originally double hung windows and were replaced with an encasement window with a tint to it. The tint reflects the sunlight which has helped to keep the front room from getting too warm. The other window was a double hung window replaced with another double hung window. This window has a half screen which allows me to open it from the top or bottom. This feature is very beneficial to me as I have a large dog. The old windows were twenty years old and leaking a lot of air. The front window was about to fall out because they had come loose from the frame of the house.
Victoria Irwin
White Oak Construction gave me a free estimate of my roof and siding and found that I needed drip edge installed on my roof. The two gentlemen showed me what my roof looked like, what it should look like, and why it was needed. The installers who did the work did an excellent job, they were able to complete it in one day and showed me the work. Very well done! I would definitely do work with them in the future if I have other needs.
Jonathan OCain
Thank you for working with us to install 6 new replacement windows. The people that we interacted with from the sales team through installation were great, both helpful and friendly. We had 8 windows replaced by White Oak Construction a couple of years ago and when we needed these windows replaced, we knew that they would do a good job and give us the kind of quality windows we wanted at a reasonable price.
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