Businesses may choose to hire contractors over employees for a variety of reasons. For legal reasons it can be easier to hire and to release a contractor compared to a permanent employee. Additionally, business owners may choose to hire contractors because of economic uncertainty or other factors that make hiring employees impractical. Other reasons include access to specialist skills, flexible hiring and firing, and lower costs.
The first step in vetting a general contractor is to perform a contractor licensing lookup to ensure the contractor is properly licensed to perform the work. Most states in the United States have free online license check databases available to the general public.
A property owner or real estate developer develops a program of their needs and select a site (often with an architect). The architect assembles a design team of consultingengineers and other experts to design the building and specify the building systems. Today contractors frequently participate on the design team by providing pre-design services such as providing estimations of the budget and scheduling requirements to improve the economy of the project. In other cases the general contractor is hired at the close of the design phase. The owner, architect, and general contractor work closely together to meet deadlines and budget. The general contractor works with subcontractors to ensure quality standards.