General Contracting

Find a general contractor near San Francisco, CA

Find a general contractor near San Francisco, CA

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Top 10 General Contractors near San Francisco, CA

Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What kind of jobs can a general contractor do?

General contractors can complete all types of projects, from small home repairs and new construction, from building a new home to landscaping an entire yard. General contractors may specialize in plumbing, framing, electrical, foundations or roofing projects, and they can work on commercial or residential buildings. 

Before hiring a general contractor, make sure the contractor holds the proper licenses, registration, insurance and certifications required by your city or state. 

How do I hire the best general contractor in San Francisco?

First, conduct an online search for qualified general contractors in the San Francisco area. Take a few minutes to review their services and decide which contractors are best suited for you. For example, if you need some electrical work done, search for contractors who have completed electrical projects. If you can’t find enough information on their profiles, send the general contractors a message, read customer reviews and view past project photos. 

You should also check to see if the contractor is properly licensed. For example, you can try looking for their license information on their profiles on the Contractors State License Board website. You can also ask the contractors to provide that information.

Finally, ask several contractors in San Francisco to send you free quotes so you can get an idea of how much it will cost to hire a general contractor.

What is a general contractor?

When starting a home remodel or new construction project, you will probably hire a general contractor. A general contractor is a professional who is qualified to take a set of building plans and construct them as outlined. The general contractor may help perform the day-to-day building, or they may just hire workers and oversee all the work activities. In either case, the job of the general contractor is to see that your project gets built.

When you have a building project, ask for bids from various contractors. The bids tell you how much each will charge and what their scope of work will be. Once you have selected a bid, you sign a contract with that general contractor outlining the specifics of the project and the milestones during the project when they will receive payment installments. Once the contract is official, the general contractor will bring in their crew to begin construction. The contractor will manage the workers and subcontractors (anyone who doesn’t work directly for their company but that they need to outsource, like a marble installation pro), order all the materials, obtain work permits, and confirm that all the workers and subcontractors are completing their projects as planned. They typically handle all the payments to the workers and subcontractors, and send you invoice. For all these reasons, it’s also especially important to follow a few smart hiring practices when it comes to finding a general contractor.  If you are organized and competent to oversee construction projects, and are able to make sure everything is being built properly and meeting code, it’s possible you can be your own general contractor.  

How much do general contractors charge per hour?

On average, a general contractor will charge around $50 per hour for their services. However, the range of their fees varies between $30 and $85 per hour, depending on your geographical location and the type of project they’re undertaking. 

You can get a better idea of how much it will cost to hire a general contractor by requesting free estimates from contractors near you.

What do general contractors charge?

If you’re doing a home remodel, building a new home or embarking on a commercial building project, you’ll hire a general contractor. A general contractor is a professional who is qualified to oversee and execute construction projects. Each construction project is unique; even two duplicate homes built on lots next door to each other could have different construction costs due to factors like different excavation costs when building the foundation. Since each project is unique, many general contractors make bids on potential construction projects. These bids can then break down to a per square foot cost that encompasses the labor of all the workers needed for the job, materials, the scope of work, and any equipment needed. Materials and finishes make a major difference in your cost per square foot. For example, choosing standard kitchen tiles at $3 per square foot will result in a lower total project cost than imported marble tiles that cost $63 per square foot. Where you live will also affect how much general contractors charge, as labor and the cost to do business can cost less in many regions than in high-cost areas like New York or San Francisco. Here are some examples of average costs general contractors typically charge in various regions:

  • Home addition in San Francisco: $250-$270 per square foot.
  • New home construction in Knoxville, Tennessee: $100-$200 per square foot.
  • Kitchen remodel in Tennessee: $40-$80 per square foot, depending on finishes.
  • Bathroom remodel in Vancouver, Washington: $110-$170 per square foot.

Be sure to check out our smart hiring practices when it comes to finding a general contractor.

How do you hire a general contractor?

You can use Thumbtack to find local general contractors, read their customer ratings and get cost estimates. First, read the written reviews to learn about their professionalism, paying attention to photos for evidence of their workmanship. You should also verify their license, insurance and other credentials.

For more tips, read our guide on how to hire a contractor.

How do you choose a commercial general contractor?

A commercial contractor provides similar services as a residential general contractor but specializes in working with large-scale projects for businesses, schools, nonprofits, governments and development firms. When researching commercial general contractors, review their portfolio of work and confirm they have ample experience working in the area you need. For example, if you are building a small strip mall, ask if the contractors have experience successfully incorporating all the needed elements such as a parking lot, meeting ADA requirements, accessing the proper permits, and completing work on time.

Once you’ve identified several qualified candidates, request bids for your project and then compare the scope of work with your needs and budget. Your commercial general contractor should oversee design, permitting, construction, materials purchase, and adherence to building code and zoning regulations, as well as sticking to an agreed-upon budget and schedule. It’s important to establish clear communication with your future commercial general contractor, as this will mean a smoother process for everyone. For all these reasons, it’s also especially important to follow a few smart hiring practices when it comes to finding a general contractor.

What does general liability insurance cover for contractors?

For contractors, general liability insurance is an important part of protecting businesses and contractors. This type of insurance will vary in its details and scope, but it can generally be expected to cover damage to the property and injuries. Here’s how you can verify a pro’s insurance.

How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom?

Nationally, the average cost of bathroom remodeling varies greatly. Bathroom remodels can vary widely, from standard makeovers to luxurious master bathroom revamps.

The factors that affect your bathroom remodeling cost are the finishes you choose (marble tiles can cost 20 times as much as standard subway tiles), the square footage of the project, regional labor rates in your area and the scope of work. Changing the layout or size of the bathroom will also raise costs. Moving electrical wiring and plumbing lines will also dramatically increase costs, as you’ll need to hire plumbers and electricians to handle the work. What’s happening behind your walls and under your floor will also affect bathroom remodeling cost. Rot, damage or mold can lead to additional work and charges. 

Here are some examples of average bathroom remodeling costs:

  • 6-foot by 6-foot bathroom remodel: $3,500, including labor and materials.
  • Standard renovation: $6,500-$10,000. Price includes labor and materials the customer has purchased. Labor may include taking out the shower and shower pan, installing new shower pan and shower, and installing new door, new vanity, new mirror, new bathroom fan, and all new fixtures. Price variation depends on the quality of the finishes.
  • 10-foot by 6-foot bathroom remodel: $7,200, including labor and materials.
  • Mid-range renovation: $12,000-$15,000. Price includes labor and materials the customer has purchased.
  • Upscale renovation: $35,000 and up. Price includes labor and materials. Items might include digital displays for fixtures, multiple shower heads and custom showers.

How can I find out if a general contractor is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

To find out whether a general contractor is considered essential in your area during the current coronavirus pandemic, visit your city or state’s government website, which will have information on essential services.

Find information on national recommendations by visiting CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 webpage. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure. 

Reviews for San Francisco general contractors
Shev G.
After speaking with 9 different general contractors, I chose to do my San Francisco condo renovation project with Sky home builders. Reason: good market reputation, reasonable quotes and earliest to start and finish dates. The renovation included full kitchen (cabinets, sink, faucets, gas range, microwave, exhaust, backsplash), full bathroom (flooring, vanity, backsplash, toilet, tub to walk-in shower, shower backsplash) a new closet in the living area, flooring and full paint update including building and city permits. I’d highly recommend to work directly with Johnny Ohana who leads the contractor teams. Always ask for his main man Benito who can deal with any kind of construction and installation without any problems. What I liked about Sky home builders: - Responsive customer service and attention to detail - Friendly response to last minute changes - Worked even on weekends to finish project in time - Extended installation/small fixes post project completion - Easy payment options
Sky Home BuildersSky Home Builders
Juna A.
We hired Outline General Contractors for converting one large bathroom + guest closet into one master bath and one guest bath in San Francisco. The work involved working with our architect to ensure that the city requirements were met and city permits were procured. Luis was pretty easy to work with from the beginning and suggested some great places for tiles and fixtures. Being first time homeowners and performing a renovation project for the first time, it was useful to sit down with Luis to get a deeper understanding of all the various nitty-gritty details of the tasks as mentioned in the contract. It was also essential to be proactive through the project, as that helped us effectively monitor the progress of the project, especially in the final stages, where we were juggling between finishing the work and moving into the home where it would have been easy to slip into delays. Luis also has great employees working on the site who show great flexibility and excellent attention to detail. Out of the dozen companies we contacted, Outline offered us a competitive quote for the project relative to many others. Overall we are quite satisfied with the outcome of the project and look forward to working with Luis on future home improvements projects.
Outline General Contractors, Inc.Outline General Contractors, Inc.
Quan N.
Sergey helped me with a big renovation project that includes kitchen & bathroom complete remodel, additional bathroom, structural wall removal, skylight replacement & addition, external post replacement (due to dry rot), roofing, backyard renovation, electrical rewiring, HVAC system, painting, and many more. My experience with Sergey and his team was very positive from the beginning to the end. His estimate was throughout, detailed, and realistic. He took the time to learn about what I envisioned, my style, my budget, and gave me helpful suggestions. Learning about him and his past projects, developed trust in him to choose the right options and materials that would match my taste and expectation. As expected for any other extensive projects, there were surprises and delays that came up throughout the process due to many unforeseen circumstances (the house condition, weather, health, etc.) but Sergey and his team were very communicative and responsive. They always gave me explanation and recommended options before asking for permission to execute. Most importantly, when there were mistakes, their team did not try to excuse themselves but got right into action to fix them. Another benefit in hiring Sergey is his network. As a general contractor, Sergey was able to bring in different teams of roofers, landscapers, etc. to work on projects I added. His folks provided quality work and services. His brother Dima is also an honest & great guy with solid skillsets. One tip I have is you still can shop around and negotiate for a fair price with Sergey's teams (but also keep in mind you have to compare apple to apple regarding the high quality of work they're able to provide). The original time estimate was 5 months. With a few delays, additional scopes, and hiccups (COVID-19 regulation, holidays, health, scheduling, etc.) it was finally finished after 8 months and an additional 25% above the original budget. These are things that I expected and would recommend anyone to keep those in mind before starting any renovation project. Overall, I'm very happy with the end result and have been recommending Sergey to my friends and family. It was a pleasure working with Sergey, his brother Dima, and his team. I would hire them again for my future projects.
Wise Stage of RemodelingWise Stage of Remodeling
Aleksey P.
I waited a few months to write this, just to avoid doing it while I’m angry, and settle into my new place, but I still think people deserve a fair warning if hiring Sergey. He estimated to be done in 2-3 months, but took 6.5. I was paying rent and mortgage during this time. It quickly became obvious that we’re not on track, but Sergey told me repeatedly not to worry, he'll be done on time and with "highest quality". After 3 months we were barely half-way, and he told me it was *MY* fault, as I haven’t provided professional drawings for the remodel (it was very simple, so I made them myself). He hasn’t told me if anything was unclear or asked any questions until that 3 months mark. When questions started coming, I answered them within a day, sometimes within minutes, but still, he proceeded to use this excuse for literally everything that went wrong. For electrical work, he insisted that we have to move electrical panel in order to pass code. Then they started burning 300 amp fuses for the entire floor (10 units). They did it several times in one day to the point that the building ran out of fuses, and all residents were with no electricity till next day. My HOA charged me for the damages. When I asked Sergey to look into it, he **screamed profanities** at me, saying, roughly, that my HOA should go f**k themselves because he just passed electrical inspection, and it couldn’t have been him. My HOA sent their own electrician to figure out this mess, and it turned out, when they installed the panel, one of the screws was too long and perforated wiring inside, shorting the electrical lines onto the box itself. High quality work indeed! Then Sergey told me that there were $13K extra costs for “change orders”. I never requested any changes, and it was him who failed to realize what work was needed to pass code. He said that he’d take on half of that cost because he’s very “honest and nice guy”. I questioned if I should be responsible for the costs that he didn’t include in his quote, but he'd just stop work, so I was forced to pay, since I was losing money on rent as long as the project is stalled. Some would call this extortion. Some other examples: - Charged me extra for evening out the floors, look at the result: - Cracked my bathtub, refused to pay for it - Wrote memos on the walls with a red marker. After painting, I still see them through the paint! - Grout between tiles cracked already This isn’t even half of it! Feel free to contact me for a full list, if you're morbidly curios. When we got the condo to the point that I could move in and he had no more leverage to charge me extra, I wanted to renegotiate those "change orders" he forced me to pay. I already paid the total sum of our contract, but we still had $8K left in originally scheduled payments. When I brought it up, he stormed out, saying he’ll sue me, file for a mechanic’s lien, and I won’t be able to pay my utilities, and I’ll owe him $40K by year’s end. I tried to have a constructive discussion over email and come to a consensus regarding how to handle final payment. He would just repeat how great a job he’s done and reiterate that he’s going to sue. This is his explanation for the extra electrical work, I quote: "The truth is that we confirmed change order for $3,700 then it came back in a miracle way with the number of $13,300.” I didn’t want to waste time on court, so I agreed to pay him a portion of what he asked, which one might say is also extortion. You might wonder about other 5 star reviews, and here is my take: He worked for his brothers’ reputable company Zeus Remodeling for a few years, and recently decided to start his own (he actually used his brother’s license, as he did not have one himself). He probably made connections with some good teams, which he now employs, and generally they do a great job, as reviews indicate. In my case, he told me that he hired another subcontractor who he’s not worked a lot with. When things started going wrong, I understood that all he does is find work and pass it to a subcontractor. He’s a sales agent, and he really has no idea how to manage projects, and he will NOT put effort into keeping them on track, or control quality. Why haven't I fired him? It would cost me more to look and wait for another contractor. My main gripe isn’t even that the project took longer and cost more. It’s how he behaved when things don’t go according to plan, completely absolving himself of any responsibility, shifting the blame, making excuses, and repeatedly telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about when I tried helping him with organizational issues, which is HIS job. His behavior was disrespectful, childish, and not an any point did he take ownership of any mistakes. He told me, and I quote again: “There are no mistakes of mine here. I don’t make mistakes. This is how I work.” You decide what to make of it. ****UPDATE**** Aside from calling me a liar, he claimed to Thumbtack that he hasn’t worked with me and tried to have this review taken down. Thumbtack reached out to me for proof, and, of course, I have plenty of it, which is why review shows as verified. Nice going Sergey... So who’s the liar?
Wise Stage of RemodelingWise Stage of Remodeling
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