How Does Sweeten Vet General Contractors?

by Maddie Latoche

What does Sweeten consider when vetting general contractors? Here’s everything you need to know.

How Sweeten Screens General Contractors

Sweeten wants general contractors who can do all of the construction work for every type of renovation project, right? Actually, wrong! While prior construction experience is great, many factors go into the process of hiring general contractors and adding them to the platform. Want to know what goes into vetting general contractors at Sweeten? Here, we outline the key factors Sweeten considers when vetting general contractors and approving them. (Plus, there’s a breakdown highlighting the difference between a general contractor and subcontractor!)

What is a general contractor? 

  • A general contractor finds and manages experts to complete a construction project. Sometimes, the contractor themself may have background experience in construction. Or, the contractor may actually do some specialized work, like framing a room or doing tile work.
  • The kind of general contractor you’ll need depends on the type of project you’re doing! If you’re starting a ground-up project for a brand-new office building, you’ll need a contractor with experience in commercial construction or office buildings. If you were starting a luxury home bathroom project, you’d want a contractor who specializes in luxury bathrooms. (Luckily, Sweeten does this homework for you by expertly matching individual projects with the right type of contractor!)

General contractor vs. subcontractor

  • General contractors organize experts from other trades and then bring them together to complete a project. For example, for a bathroom remodel, a general contractor would find experts in electrical, plumbing, and potentially painting work for the job.
  • Subcontractors are the experts specifically trained in a trade. In the bathroom remodel example, subcontractors would do the actual electrical, plumbing, or painting work. MEPs (Mechanical, electrical and plumbing) are the most frequently subcontracted trades, mainly because these trades are highly skilled and require special licenses or registrations. General Contractors may choose to subcontract out various trades depending on the scope of the project.

How does Sweeten choose general contractors? 

Sweeten considers several factors when reviewing contractors: 

  • That they have proof of insurance and licenses in Sweeten’s service areas
  • Photos of previous work
  • References from previous projects
  • The contractor’s online presence, from professional websites to reviews or social media business accounts 
  • Communication style 
  • Length of time in business (a minimum of 6 months)

Do Sweeten general contractors have insurance?

  • Yes. All Sweeten general contractors are required to carry insurance.
  • If a contractor is in a state that doesn’t require them to carry insurance, (Texas, for example,) Sweeten still requires that they get a certificate of insurance.
  • Although Sweeten offers up to $50,000 in financial protection, that coverage is in addition to the separate insurance policy required of all Sweeten contractors. 
  • The three most common types of insurance carried by contractors are general liability, workman’s compensation, and auto liability insurance.
  • Workman’s compensation is useful for projects that require a crew to be on site.
  • Auto liability insurance is useful for when a general contractor is parking on your property.

Do Sweeten general contractors have licenses?

  • Yes. All Sweeten general contractors carry licenses when available for residential renovation projects where they work. 
  • Did you know that different states have different licensing requirements? It’s true! Fortunately, Sweeten checks licenses at both the state and/or county level. 
  • Additionally, Sweeten actively monitors the expiration dates of general contractor licenses. In fact, any general contractor with an expired license is not matched to new projects. This does two things:
    • Ensures Sweeten contractors are staying up-to-date with their licenses
    • Prevents Sweeten contractors from working on projects until their licenses are up-to-date

What kinds of contractors work with Sweeten? 

  • Actually, Sweeten works with general contractor teams of all sizes! From single-person firms who subcontract out labor to contractors with dozens of employees on their payroll. 
  • Regional trends also affect the size of firms. Some markets, like Los Angeles, tend to offer more one-stop-shop firms. This is compared to cities like Atlanta and Chicago, who have a wealth of independently-owned “mom-and-pop” firms

Does it cost money to join Sweeten’s network?

  • It is completely free for all general contractors to join the Sweeten platform.
  • Contractors do not pay for access to leads on Sweeten.
  • General contractors pay a fee, from 3% to 6%, of any awarded contracts they win on Sweeten.
  • In this model, contractors only pay when they win projects on Sweeten’s platform.

Now you have all the information that goes into vetting general contractors at Sweeten! Interested in working with a Sweeten general contractor? Post a project today to receive your contractor matches. If you’re a general contractor interested in joining our platform for free, you can apply today.

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