The most important general contractor attributes, according to respondents to a Sweeten survey.
Courtsey Sweeten The most important general contractor attributes, according to respondents to a Sweeten survey.

Two-thirds of renovators share positive views of general contractors, according to a survey conducted by Sweeten, a service that aims to match renovators with vetted contractors. The survey gauges responses of renovators from seven major cities nationwide—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, and Boston—to determine what characteristics homeowners look for in contractors. Despite the positive perceptions of general contractors, 85% of respondents said the home renovation process is stressful, with 60% indicating planning projects was among their top three stressors.

Respondents said the most important factors when identifying a contractor were providing written proposals (63%), returning phone calls in a timely manner (63%), the ability to stay at cost (63%), a guarantee of workmanship for a certain period of time (61%), and professional references (61%). The top four factors remained the same from the 2017 version of the survey, while showing up for meetings on time dropped from the fifth most important factor for renovators in 2017 to the seventh most important factor.

Respondents said they would be deterred from hiring a contractor if they were difficult to get a hold of and if the contractor did not show up to meetings on time.

The survey also highlighted the differences between genders in factors considered when hiring a contractor. Men have a higher overall opinion of general contractors than women, according to the survey, and are less likely to be stressed about the renovation process. The survey found men were most concerned with going over budget. Women place the most importance on general contractors returning calls quickly and tend to get more project estimates before determining which contractor to work with, according to Sweeten.

According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they rely on family and friends for recommendations for general contractors, down from nearly 75% in 2017. Almost half say they look for contractors online. Respondents indicated going over budget, finding hidden problems, and projects taking longer than expected were the greatest concerns regarding remodeling projects.

The Sweeten survey draws from responses of 875 people who were involved with past, current, and future renovations across the seven cities nationwide. Sweeten is currently operational in the New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles metro areas with plans to expand to Chicago and Miami this summer.