How do I select the right General Contractor in Hawaii? / by brent gomes

General Contractor in Hawaii

The first question I would ask yourself is “do I need a general contractor?” If it’s a real small project, a handyman might be the right way to go. Hawaii state law requires you hire a licensed general contractor for any project that costs over $1,000.00.

Hiring a General Contractor gives you peace of mind because (a) they are licensed professionals overseen by the State of Hawaii and (b) they are required to be licensed and carry a decent amount of insurance. This gives you added protection and a safety net in case they burn down your house or skip town.

What type of contractor should I select? What are the different different types of contractors? There are flooring contractors, roofing contractors, painting contractors, drywall contractors and so on.  If you are only doing flooring, then maybe a licensed flooring contractor is the right choice for you.  These are specialty contractors that do one thing.

General contractors can help you with your entire project.  They are the conductors of the orchestra. If you are doing cabinets, countertops, plumbing, electrical, and flooring then you will need to hire a licensed general contractor. They will be able to manage your entire project.  Licensed general contractors are required by law to use licensed specialty sub-contractors like plumbers and electricians.

Some general contractors are basically a one man-show that do most of the work themselves. This can be good and bad. If they are a one man show they will probably be a lot less expensive, which is good. However, the “cons” of hiring a general contractor who is a one-man show is that (a) it will likely take a lot longer to complete your project, (b) they might not carry as much insurance if something goes wrong, (c) they sometimes bite off more than they can chew, and (d) a one-man show may take on too many jobs at once and have to bounce around from jobsite to jobsite, leaving their clients wondering where they are and if their project will ever be finished.

Most contractors start off as a one-man show and then slowly grow. If something should go wrong on your project, it can be hard for a one-man show to make it right with the clients. A larger company can afford to take a loss and make it right for the clients. For people that want a lot of hand holding on a project, a one-man show might not be able to give you the attention your project may desire.

Furthermore, there are companies that compete solely on price. A lot of people want to hire the lowest bidder. This is not always the right choice. 

Some general contractors sub-contract everything out to the lowest bidder, and just manage the project. Others do everything in house. Most fall somewhere in between the two. I find it impossible to control quality if absolutely everything is subcontracted out to the lowest bidder. However, some people are not that concerned about quality and just want the lowest price. For this type of client, a general contractor who sub-contracts everything out to the lowest bidder would be perfect for them. Contractors like this, have a low overhead and can provide lower pricing, than other contractors that focus more on service and quality.

We do the majority of our tasks in-house. That said, certain tasks should be sub-contracted out to specialists. Moorhead & Company does not hire the lowest bidder. We work with the same subcontractors over and over again. We have built an amazing team of sub-contractors that aligns with our values. Our sub-contractors know what we expect from them. They provide exceptional quality and professionalism every time. They are usually more expensive than a lot of the other cheaper companies that compete solely on price.

Our company focuses on extreme customer service and quality. Our clients are not looking for the lowest bidder. Our clients want to hire a company they can trust that offers fair price for a high level of service and quality. For that reason, we find that the majority of our clients are individuals who will live (or are living) in the home.