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8 Tips for Hiring a Charleston Construction Company

Choosing the right construction company is a crucial step for any construction project. A good company ensures that you get your desired results within the set deadline. Also, the right firm saves you the construction costs because you don’t have to deal with mistakes along the way.

That’s why; you should take your time in the hiring process to ensure you get the best. Here are seven tips to guide you when picking the right Charleston construction company.

1. Check the Services Offered

Some construction companies in South Carolina handle a wide array of projects, from roofing to flooring. Others only specialize in a single service. For instance, you may find a firm that is good at roofing but is not very good at painting.

If you need a company that will oversee all the construction elements, you will need to consider the services they offer first.

The primary services offered by a general contractor include the following:

  • Siding
  • Flooring
  • Siding
  • Painting
  • Woodworking

2. Hire a Local, Licensed Firm If Possible

A local firm promises availability. If your building project is in Charleston, then a construction firm based in Charleston would be the best. This is because the firm will be readily available for your queries and concerns.

Plus, a local firm understands the specific needs of the residents, so you won’t have a hard time working with them.

Ensure that you have the physical address of the firm. Also, confirm that the firm is registered and licensed to offer building services in Charleston.

Be suspicious of construction companies South Carolina that go from door to door and never show any proof of their physical location or license.

3. Check Reviews from Past Clients

Reviews and referrals can save you lots of time and money when looking for the ideal general contractor for your project.

The reviews help you to understand the firm better based on the experiences of past clients. Too many negative remarks on a particular firm can be a warning sign that the company never delivers.

If possible, you should contact some of the past clients to learn more about the service they got from the contractor.

Some platforms such as Google and Yelp also provide helpful reviews about local Charleston construction firms. Be sure to use them to gain confidence in the construction firm you choose.

4. Check the Safety Records

The construction job is quite risky. All firms working in the construction industry should have safety protocols that protect their clients and their staff.

Beware of contractors who hesitate to reveal their insurance and bonding certifications or don’t seem to care about the safety of their work.

Here are a few questions to ask the construction firm in regards to safety:

  • Do you have liability insurance cover?
  • Are you bonded?
  • Can I see your safety records?
  • What guidelines do you use to prevent accidents in construction sites?
  • What protocols do you apply after an accidental injury at work?

The best Charleston construction company will show you the Certificate of Insurance (COI) and answer your questions confidently. If in doubt, reach out to the insurer directly to confirm if the insurance of the construction firm is still valid.

5. Consider the Experience

Whether it’s painting, roofing, siding, or an entire building renovation, you will want to ensure you are working with the best.

As such, you may need to consider the number of years the construction firm has been in operation. We highly recommend that clients choose construction firms that have existed for a more extended period – more than five years.

The costs may be relatively higher, but excellent results are guaranteed because many years in the construction industry translate to better skills and expertise.

6. Consider the Payment Options

Create and budget and discuss it with the general contractor. The contractor will assess the project and probably, offer their budget too. Before the construction starts, you should have an open discussion with the contractor regarding the ideal budget and the payment options.

You will probably get multiple pricing quotes because each company prices its services differently. Compare the quotes and choose the best for your needs while still considering the other aspects such as the terms and payments, experience, and quality expectations.

However, do not accept cash payment, irrespective of the pricing. Consider using a cheque for the smaller projects, and arrange for better financing for the huge projects.

Also, do not pay a huge down payment. A contractor who asks for a huge down payment in cash is probably a scam. If possible, make your payment agreement in writing.

7. Don’t Rush the Process.

It’s normal to be excited about the outcome of a project to the extent of rushing the hiring process.

Don’t rush.

You need to find a good company that you can rely on for an extended period, so you don’t have to rush the hiring process.

That’s why we emphasize getting multiple quotes from different construction companies in Charleston.

Only hire when you are comfortable about:

  • The transparency of the firm
  • The expertise
  • The reliability
  • The pricing

8. Get Everything in Writing

The hiring process ends with a contract, which should only be made in writing. Ideally, the contract summarizes all the details of the project as per your agreements.

Vital things to include in the contract include:

  • The name of the construction firm and the clients, signed by both parties
  • Terms of payments ( cost of the project and payment dates)
  • The predetermined completion of the project
  • A short description of the type of construction job

If your project is vast and will take an extended period, a lawyer should be present when signing the contract.

Note: the contractor cannot change any contract clause without your knowledge.

Keep off a contractor who does not want to sign an agreement for the project.

Find the Best Construction Firm for Your Project

Hopefully, the above guide will help you secure the best construction firm in Charleston for your project. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you experience any struggles in the hiring process.

O.L. Thompson Construction Co., Inc is a construction firm based in Charleston. We have been in the construction industry for more than 70 years, so we have the expertise needed to deliver excellent construction results.

In addition, we provide employment opportunities. If you are looking for construction jobs in North Charleston SC, contact us today or apply online to join our team.


How to Hire a General Contractor: Checklist and Tips

As you plan your next construction project, choosing the right general contractor is a critical first step within your planning process. To avoid any disruptions throughout the process, you ought to find the best fit for your project, spell out in writing their duties and their payments, and agree upon the specific scope of the project.

Hiring a Contractor Checklist

In this checklist, you will find several tips you ought to keep in mind as you embark on hiring a general contractor.

Have Several Bids

After getting the referrals from associates and searching online, you should then reduce the number to just the top three contractors. From there, ask for both time and cost estimates for your project. Once you have this information from these top candidates, you can then compare the material and see who best understands the project as you had presented it.

Seek Licensed Contractors

Cutting corners in construction is the best way to lose money. One of the ways this happens is when you fail to take advantage of hiring a licensed contractor. As a project manager, having a licensed contractor means that even when something goes wrong, you can easily get in touch with them. What’s more, local regulations require that you hire professionals with the proper documentation.

If you decide on hiring locally, it is vital that the contractor has a local address. Consider visiting their facility before signing a contract as trusting a contractor that simply goes door-to-door could be disastrous in the end.

Ask How Their Insurance Works

A cardinal rule in construction is that you should never hire a contractor that does not have proper and updated insurance cover. This is particularly since with every construction zone, there are likely going to be accidents. When the contractor does not have the right insurance, you become liable for any damage or injury incurred. Besides, this puts you at a risk of facing legal action.

Therefore, consider asking the contractor for their insurance details. This is an intentional step in the right direction.

Be Careful With Paying Upfront

At no point throughout the negotiations should you accept to pay for the entire project upfront. Stay on course with the usual one-third payment of the overall cost. What’s more, be keen about keeping receipts of any payment you make.

To protect yourself in the event that you are unsatisfied with the service offered, include a cancellation window within your contract with the general contractor. With this clause, you are sure that you will incur no penalties even when you want to get out of the contract.

Get Everything in Writing

Throughout the finding and hiring of the general contractor, you want to have everything in writing. This means that you have to secure a comprehensive contract that details the work to be completed and the price of each item, the payment schedule, including what is to be a pain when the work is partially completed and upon completion. What’s more, make a comprehensive list of any applicable guarantees and include signatures from both parties.

Where to Find Candidates

Hiring a contractor is often nerve-wrecking. It is because of how overwhelming this task seems that we have created a checklist full of tips that should guide you through getting of a contractor for your project.

Start With Referrals

Realistically, the first step towards finding a referral is often word of mouth. This is, at its core, the traditional referral way through which you get to learn about contractors who do a great job from friends, family, and other associates. Overall, you can sufficiently lean into your personal and professional networks to find both capable and handy workers. You want to be sure that the person being referred has, in fact, done some work for the person doing the referral. This saves you from the possible headache that is referrals based on personal relationships instead of merit.

Search Online

In the perfect setting, you would have a small black book that had the names and contact information of reliable contractors. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Still, it helps along with the process is a host of websites created to specifically match you with contractors that could provide you with top-notch service at a reasonable rate.

The downside is that you then have to search through a plethora of websites to find the perfect fit for you. This is without a doubt a daunting endeavor, given that some of these will have at least 300 professional categories. A great tip would be to look out for websites that vet these professionals based on the previous client’s experiences.

Part of also searching online would be doing a local search on a search engine of contractors who have worked in Charleston construction companies South Carolina. The yield of this search is likely going to be individuals advertising themselves for jobs in North Charleston.

These individuals will often provide a description of their previous works and specializations. When you reach out, you can have them provide a rough quote for the work you want to get done. In actuality, this way, you get to interact with a larger pool of local contractors.

Questions To Ask Before Hiring

Before committing to a single contractor, there are questions you should consider asking. For starters, you want to ask how long they have been working under the specific specialization you were looking for. What’s more, it would be prudent to inquire what experience they have with the current project you are embarking on.

To be on the safer side with the law, you want to ask them what necessary permits or licenses they have. Go ahead and also inquire about whether they are insured. Finally, you should also ask for a cost breakdown as well as a timeline for the project. These last inquiries should be able to provide you with adequate information on whether the general contractor is a good fit for you.

O.L. Thompson Construction Co., Inc. we are demolition, clearing, erosion control, and concrete experts. We have been in operation for over 70 years, with the main emphasis being site development, material handling, and transportation. We have the capabilities of performing all operations in the area of site development, which means you are well taken care of from your initial contact with us. If you are looking for a Lowcountry expert, get in touch with us today and request a proposal.


How to Get a Job at a Construction Company in Charleston

If you’re looking to start a construction career in Charleston, South Carolina, then you’ve made a great choice. Construction is an admirable career choice that contains many specialties. Unfortunately, construction jobs are becoming more and more difficult to find. However, to help you remain optimistic about your construction job search, Charleston has seen consistent rises in construction activity since 2014. After residential construction, infrastructure is a close second in terms of activity. Due to the increasing construction activity in Charleston, it’s likely that more and more jobs are becoming available in order to keep up.

So when it comes to construction job opportunities in Charleston, you likely have many options. In this article, we’ll talk about employment in Charleston, SC in general as well as available construction jobs in the area.

Labor and Employment Stats in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston’s education and workforce training system continues to build a solid base of skilled workers in construction, engineering, information technology, and more. Since 2010, Charleston has seen a nearly 20% increase in people entering the civilian workforce.

The natural resources, mining, and construction industry make up about 6% of the labor force, This means that there probably aren’t as many construction jobs available in the area as there are jobs in other industries.  So finding a construction job in Charleston might be challenging, especially if you’re new to the industry.

Different Construction Jobs in Charleston, South Carolina

To have a better idea of what jobs to look for, it’s important to know what types of opportunities are available. Here are some of the top construction jobs in Charleston, SC:

  • General construction worker
  • Transportation  construction worker
  • Demolition worker
  • Asphalt laborer
  • Utilities maintenance worker
  • Mason and concrete finisher
  • Civil engineer
  • Brickmason
  • Carpenter
  • Electrician
  • Glazier
  • Tile contractor
  • Crane operator
  • Plumber
  • Painter
  • Drywall installer
  • Crane operator
  • Cost estimator
  • Project manager
  • Surveyor
  • Site safety manager
  • Construction inspector

How to Find a Construction Job in Charleston, South Carolina

Finding a job at a construction company in Charleston, SC doesn’t have to be difficult. You just have to be strategic and know where to look. Follow these tips for a more effective job search:

  • Optimize your resume. Create a resume that aligns with the type of construction job you desire. Make sure you highlight your unique strengths and skills. If you have formal construction experience, display it front-and-center. If you don’t have experience in the industry, focus on skills that can be beneficial at a construction company. Show off skills like attention to detail, good communication, fast learner, excellent time management, and strong work ethic.
  • Look for entry-level positions. Search online with the keywords, “general labor,” “construction labor,” “general contractor” or “construction helper.” Many employers use these terms to search for employees with little to no experience in the construction field. Applying for an entry-level position at a construction company can increase your chances of getting hired because these positions don’t require much experience or training. Although you might be performing basic cleaning tasks or doing manual labor, these positions can help you gain valuable experience and knowledge to further your career in construction.
  • Consider obtaining certification to stand out from other applicants. There are several certifications you can earn to improve your odds of landing a construction job. You can become certified by OSHA, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), and the Construction Management Association of America. These certifications can not only help you become more successful as a construction worker, but they can also help you be more successful in your job search.
  • Become an apprentice. If you’re having trouble finding a job at a construction company, you might consider an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships have on-the-job and classroom instruction. This training usually lasts anywhere between two and four years. As an added bonus, you get paid during your apprenticeship while you learn basic construction skills.
  • Look on job boards. There are numerous job sites where you can search for job openings in the construction field. Sites like Indeed, Career Builder, Glassdoor, and others get regular job postings in various industries, including the construction field. Just make sure you’re filtering your search by your location. Enter Charleston in the search bar to make sure you’re viewing listings that are relevant to you and your location.
  • Go through a temp agency. If it’s taking a while to land a permanent, long-term position as a construction worker, you can sign up for a short-term position at a temp agency in Charleston. Temp agencies have a wide variety of construction jobs available. Tradesmen International, Labor Finders Charleston, CCS Construction Staffing, and Trillium Staffing are just a few temp agencies in Charleston that can help you find construction jobs.
  • Check out the city of Charleston’s official website or visit your local employment office. The city of Charleston’s official website regularly posts new potential employment opportunities for job seekers in the construction industry. You can also try your local employment office, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW). The SCDEW offers resume building services, job fairs, hiring events, training opportunities, and a direct connection with employers and jobs.
  • Ask around. Reach out to people who are already employed in the construction industry to find leads on job openings. If you’re lucky, someone in your network might introduce you to someone looking for help with construction.
  • Focus your job search on specialties. Consider looking for more specialized positions. If you have the training and knowledge, having a specialty can often make it easier to find a construction job. For example, you can look for infrastructure and heavy construction jobs if you have experience in building railways, roads, and highways.

Construction jobs can be hard to find, even for the most seasoned workers. But if you take advantage of the right resources at your disposal, you can make your job search a lot easier. At OLTC, we have some of the best construction jobs in Charleston, SC. We are committed to hiring and nurturing top individuals, which has kept our company safe, competitive, and growing for over 70 years.

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