How One Woman's General Contractor Helped Her Get Through a Big Project with Little Stress

ESTATENVY interviews Chicago resident, Erin Caitlin, to talk about how she found her renovation general contractor, Ovi Smallberger, at 4th Generation Construction.

Why did you love your general contractor?

I loved our contractor, 4th Generation Construction, because the general contractor, Ovi Smallberger, clearly communicated the renovation process and kept us informed of all the changes. I am a very detailed person, so each change (small or big) mattered greatly to me. He also worked with me to make changes I wanted during the project. We had a team-oriented relationship, which is what I had aimed for.

What kind of work did he or she do?

Our general contractor's team and hired sub-contractors applied interior finishes, installed millwork, and installed kitchen cabinetry for our first-floor renovation. Some of the items they completed: painting, refinishing wood floors, installing wall base, fixing several doors, re-installing kitchen cabinetry, fabricating/installing kitchen stone countertops and backsplashes, installing a bathroom vanity and light fixture, installing wallcovering, installing home technologies (iPad control panel, smart lighting, kitchen water filtration/carbonation system), and other odds and ends.

What makes him or her different from the rest?

When I met our contractor, he was honest and knowledgeable about all my questions. The quote he put together was very detailed with accurate pricing, which was an indication of his seriousness for the project. His personality is what made the project go smoothly and what made him stand out (even during the unavoidable bumps). He was positive, genuine, honest, and energetic. When he didn't think his team could complete a task to the proper quality, he would call in a more experienced sub-contractor and give us a chance to become involved with that process.

What would you do differently if you had to go through the process of looking for a general contractor again?

I wouldn’t do anything different. I did online research and narrowed my selection down to three general contractors. When reading people's online reviews, I paid special attention to what the contractor's relationship was like with the client and how the project turned. I met with each contractor and received a quote for our project from each. After looking at the numbers and reflecting on personalities and online research, I made a selection.

What kind of advice would you give to anyone looking to hire a general contractor?

Do your research. Don't just rely on recommendations. Personalities and relationships play a big part in a long project, so make sure it is a good fit. Also, if you find a local contractor with connections to great sub-contractors, it will be extremely helpful. It means they can find a qualified person quickly if the need arises and the project will keep moving forward.