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Get Quotes from Top General Contractor in Denver, CO

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a General Contractor in Denver

Hiring a professional general contractor to handle your project in Denver is the best way to ensure that your home or construction project is completed successfully. At an average cost of 10 to 20 percent of your project's value, or $37.06 per hour, a good local general contractor can:

  • Provide you with access to an established network of subcontractors and vendors
  • Save you time and money by ensuring your project meets its stipulated timeline
  • Ensure that your project complies with the city's local construction regulations and building codes
  • Avail you coverage for possible accidents on site

Before you hire a general contractor in Denver, make sure that the contractor has the necessary license, training and experience to handle your project by asking the following questions:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a General Contractor in Denver?

General contractors in Denver are required to obtain a general contractor license from the city's Department of Community Planning and Development before they can offer any type of service to the residents. According to the city's Building and Fire Code, it is illegal for general contractors in the city to carry out any construction activity without a license. Doing so will usually result in a fine of up to $999 or a jail term of up to 300 days.

To avoid these penalties, general contractors must meet the requirements for obtaining a license in the city. These include obtaining a supervisor certificate or employing an individual with a supervisor certificate. The city's Department of Community Development only issues general contractor licenses to individuals who hold supervisor certificates or employ a supervisor certificate holder.

Individuals with a supervisor certificate can start their general contractor license application. In contrast, those who have not yet obtained a supervisor certificate can obtain it by creating a user profile, logging in to the online portal, and following the step-by-step application process to complete an application. Alternatively, the applicants can complete and submit an affidavit of lawful presence, compile notarized letters, filled out a supervisor application form via mail to:

Contractor Licensing Desk
Department of Community Planning and Development
2nd Floor of Webb Municipal Building
201 W.Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80202

Meanwhile, walk-in applicants can submit their supervisor certificate application form, an affidavit of lawful presence, and notarized letters to the address mentioned above. They can apply for the construction or supervisor certificate categories depending on their requirements. Note that general contractors who are applying for a supervisor certificate must select the construction supervisor certificate.

After securing a supervisor certificate, individuals can start their general contractor license application by completing a statement of responsibility form. Depending on their business operating type, they must then file and submit the necessary Secretary of State documents. For instance, if an individual using a personal name or sole proprietor uses a trading name, they must fill out and notarize an Affidavit of Lawful Presence and upload a notarized copy of their secure and verifiable identification as listed on the affidavit.

To be considered for a general contractor license in Denver, applicants must submit proof of business registration. Individuals who want to work as a general contractor in Denver must meet the city's business requirements, like filing a business registration with the Colorado Secretary of State if the business is a limited liability corporation, partnership, or general partnership. Meanwhile, if the business is a sole proprietorship, the general contractor must also submit a trading name to the Secretary Of State. Other requirements such as paying taxes and carrying out proper insurance must be met before a general contractor license can be issued. To learn more about the procedures and requirements for filing a business registration, you can contact the Colorado Secretary of State at (303) 894-2200.

These document submission processes can be completed online using the city's Department of Community Planning and Development's e-permits platform. Similarly, applicants can fill out and submit a contractor license application form and other necessary documents in person or via mail to the Denver Department of Community Planning and Development address provided above.

Regardless of the method they use to submit their application, all general contractor license applicants must pay the required application fees. Once the necessary documents have been received, the Department of Community Development will issue a license card to the successful applicants.

To learn more about the requirements and process for obtaining a general contractor license in Denver, individuals can contact the Department of Community Development through email or by calling (720) 865-2770. Before hiring a contractor for window repairs or replacements, it is important that you confirm they have been licensed by the city's Department of Community Planning and Development. To confirm the status of a general contractor in the city, residents can use the Department of Community Development's verify a contractor's license portal.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other General Contractors in the City?

How much your intended construction and remodeling project will cost you is dependent on several factors, such as:

  • Accessibility to the project site
  • Site conditions
  • Permit and inspection costs
  • Labor costs
  • Nature and scope of the intended project
  • The specific locality of the project within the city
  • Cost of materials and supplies required to execute the project satisfactorily
  • The urgency of the project
  • The quality of available construction plans, projects drawings, and designs

Some general contractors in Denver use an hourly fee structure, while many prefer to charge a percentage fee, which typically falls between 10% to 20% of the project's total cost. Regardless of the method used, general contractors in the city typically use the following pricing methods to determine their charges.

  • Fixed bid/Lump sum pricing: This pricing model allows the general contractor to set a fixed price that covers the project's total cost from its inception to its completion. It eliminates the possibility of conflicts between the parties or unexpected price changes. It ensures that the project is completed on time and with a clear understanding of the expected cost. This type of pricing model also allows the general contractor to set a price that covers the various costs associated with the project. It can be used to cushion the effects of unforeseen circumstances.
  • Time and materials/Cost-plus pricing: This pricing model is ideal for projects with a definite timeline, as it allows the consumer to save money if the project is completed earlier than expected. It can also help minimize the risk of delays and costly mistakes if the project gets delayed. Although this pricing model can help the consumer save money, it can also expose them to additional costs if the project gets delayed.

Before you hire a general contractor for your home renovation or construction project, it's important that you thoroughly compare multiple bids from different contractors in the city. Doing so will allow you to avoid getting ripped off by a contractor trying to overcharge you. Ensure that you provide each contractor with the project details needed to complete their work. This will allow you to accurately compare all the offers you will receive. Aside from considering the cost of services of the general contractor, you should also consider other factors, such as the quality of the work and the contractor's experience. You should also check their insurance and licensing status.

General Contractors in Denver earn an estimated annual average wage of $77,080. The list below compares the average hourly wage of these contractors with those of general contractors in other parts of Colorado and other locations across the United States:

Denver General Contractors Average Hourly Wage
$37.06
Boulder General Contractors Average Hourly Wage
$35.91
Fort Collins General Contractors Average Hourly Wage
$36.71
Colorado Springs General Contractors Average Hourly Wage
$34.06
Aurora General Contractors Average Hourly Wage
$37.06
Chicago General Contractors Average Hourly Wage
$43.15
Houston General Contractors Average Hourly Wage
$36.35
Los Angeles General Contractors Average Hourly Wage
$41.51
New York City General Contractors Average Hourly Wage
$46.94
Philadelphia General Contractors Average Hourly Wage
$41.53
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of General Contractor Services Do You Offer?

Although general contractors usually supervise and manage renovation and construction projects in Denver, their specific services can vary depending on the project and the scope of work. This is why it is important that you hire a professional general contractor who can provide you with the best possible service. General contractors in the city offer the following services when you hire them:

  • Pulling all required permits for the project
  • Making arrangements for required equipment
  • Developing and managing a project schedule
  • Generating cost estimates for the project
  • Organizing and managing the project site
  • Coordinating construction material suppliers and vendors
  • Keeping proper records of the project-related activities
  • Making sure that quality services are provided on time
  • Helping with actual labor and clean-up where necessary
  • Hiring subcontractors for a specialized project and providing necessary labor for the project
  • Making sure that relevant construction codes, regulations, and safety standards in the city are upheld
  • Overseeing cash flow, worker payments, scheduling, and other administrative aspects of the project

Before you hire a general contractor, make sure that you confirm the scope and nature of the services that they will provide for your project. You should also be aware of the various tasks that will be handled by their subcontractors, especially those that are outside their in-house crew. Most specialized renovation and construction projects require the expertise and skills of subcontractors. These individuals are usually hired to perform various tasks and responsibilities such as:

  • Roofing
  • Demolition
  • Woodwork
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical work
  • HVAC installations

Although it's possible to handle the hiring of subcontractors all by yourself for the project, it is always in your best interest to let the general contractor handle the hiring process. This will allow you to benefit from their industry connections and ensure that you're protected from any potential issues involving these subcontractors that might arise during the project.

The table below provides some significant differences between general contractors and subcontractors who work on building and renovation projects in Denver:

General ContractorsSubcontractors
Usually hired by the project owner and interact directly with themUsually hired by general contractors and do not interact directly with the project owner
Oversee the entire project and may perform general construction activitiesWork on specialized portions of the project
Do not typically require specialized knowledgeUsually require specialized knowledge and expertise
Receive payment directly from the project ownerPayment is usually received through a general contractor

Will You Get the Necessary Permits as Required per the City Code?

In Denver, residents cannot carry out any form of construction, removal, alteration, or repair of any building structure or utility without obtaining a permit from the city's Community Planning & Development Department. It is a violation of the Denver Building and Fire Code if any type of construction or remodeling activity is carried out without a permit. The department can take any action it deems necessary to ensure all projects in the city comply with the code.

However, certain constructions are exempted from the permit requirements of this code, such as:

  • One-story detached accessory buildings or structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses, and similar uses, that do not exceed 200 square feet.
  • Fences of any type not over 4 feet (1220 mm) high.
  • Non-fixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters, and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1750 mm) high.
  • Retaining walls not over 4 feet (1220 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II, or III-A liquids.
  • Water tanks supported directly upon grade where the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18,930L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.
  • Sidewalks and driveways less than 30 inches (760 mm) above grade, not over any basement or story below, and not part of an accessible route.
  • Uncovered decks less than 30 inches above grade and accessories to one and two-family dwellings and townhomes.
  • Prefabricated swimming pool accessory to one- and two-family dwellings or U Occupancies in which the pool walls are above the adjacent grade and when utilities are provided.
  • Site development work includes grading, water detention/retention ponds, and soil erosion control.

Aside from the exemptions mentioned above, building permits are required for construction projects. Homeowners planning a project requiring a permit can obtain it through a general contractor. To obtain a building permit, contractors should submit their building permit applications through the department's online Permitting and Licensing System. Users must first register for an account or log in with an existing one to use the system.

After the application has been reviewed and the necessary fees paid, the Department of Development Services department will issue a building permit to the general contractor. The homeowner must ensure that the copy of the document is displayed on the project's site at all times. Also, they ensure the project is accessible to the inspection department. The Denver Department of Community Development inspects all construction projects that have received permits to ensure compliance with the city's Building and Fire Code. To schedule an inspection, contractors can use the online e-permit webpage or call (720) 865-2505. For more information about the permit application and inspection process, contact the department at (720) 865-2505.

Do You Work with Subcontractors?

When you retain a general contractor in Denver, you can expect them to hire other subcontractors to work on certain specialized tasks that they or their workers cannot carry out. Some of the subcontractors that are commonly involved in renovation and construction projects in Denver:

  • HVAC contractors
  • Painters
  • Insulation installers
  • Flooring installers
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Demolition experts
  • Welders
  • Roofers
  • Carpenters
  • Door and window installers

Typically, a general contractor will hire a subcontractor for your project for the following reasons:

  • To increase the cost efficiency of the project
  • To help you avoid adverse risks
  • To perform tasks that require specialized skills and knowledge that the general contractor or their direct workers do not have
  • To assist with complex, large, or diverse projects
  • To increase the general contractor's flexibility and job productivity

You should ensure that your general contractor provides you with prior notice regarding hiring other subcontractors. You can also make this notice a requirement in the contract to be signed by you and the contractor. It will also allow you to stay informed about the various activities of the general contractor and the other parties involved in the project. Also, it will help you be in the know if disputes occur between the general contractor and the subcontractors over certain issues such as:

  • Late payments
  • Incomplete payments
  • Poor service delivery

The payment schedule for private construction projects in Denver is currently set out in a bill before the Colorado General Assembly. HB20-1046 states the requirements for a private construction contract of at least $150,000, including:

  • If you are a property owner in Denver, you must make partial payments of any amount due to the general contractor at the end of the month or as soon as possible after the month has ended.
  • A general contractor in Denver must pay a subcontracted worker within 30 days of receiving the money from the project owner.
  • Subcontractors must pay suppliers or laborers who provide materials and labor within 30 days after receiving payment under their subcontract. A subcontracted worker in Denver must provide a list of all the suppliers, laborers, and equipment used for the work to the general contractor.

These bills will protect property owners who have paid a general contractor for the services rendered. However, they can still be held liable if the general contractor deliberately or mistakenly doesn't pay the wages of laborers, material suppliers, and subcontractors who have liens on their properties. If the property owner does not make a required payment within 30 days of the contract's completion, the interest on the debt will be charged at 1.5% per month. Note that this bill does not apply to contracts involving the purchase, construction, or maintenance of one multi-family dwelling with no more than four units or one single-family dwelling.

Also, according to Chapter 68 of the Colorado revised Statutes, individuals who are not paid for their construction services can enforce their claim against the property if they place a lien on it. Even if you have already paid the full amount due to the general contractor, you can still be liable for these late payments. Lien-related matters can be very unpleasant, and you should avoid dealing with them in the first place. As such, before you start a construction or renovation project in Denver, make sure that you take the following necessary precautions to protect yourself:

  • Due diligence and proper research: Before you hire a general contractor, conduct a thorough due diligence check to make sure that they are licensed and have a good reputation for paying their workers, suppliers, and subcontractors. This will also help you avoid potential issues with their workers and suppliers.
  • Preliminary notices: Ensure that the general contractor has notified you about the various parties involved in the project. This will also help you avoid potential issues with the materials suppliers and subcontractors.
  • Timely settlements: Make sure you make all necessary payments to the general contractor on time. This will help you avoid potential issues with late payments.
  • Written contracts: You should execute a written contract with the general contractor, which will include all of the agreements that have been reached between you and the contractor.
  • Lien waivers: This will help prevent the materials suppliers and subcontractors from placing a lien on your property. As such, you should insist on a lien waiver for every payment.
  • Contractor bonds: Make sure that the general contractor has a payment bond. This will allow any claim to be filed against this payment bond if the contractor fails to make timely payments to the materials suppliers and subcontractors.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for General Contractors in the City?

If you hire a general contractor without the proper insurance, you will be held liable for any damages or accidents resulting from your project. In Denver, general contractors are not required to carry general liability insurance. Nonetheless, per the Colorado Workers' Compensation Act, all Denver employers must carry workers' compensation insurance if they have more than three employees. This type of insurance can be purchased through a self or commercial insurance policy. If the business fails to maintain this policy, it will be fined $500 for each day of default or closure of the business.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over half of the fatal work injuries in Denver in 2020 were caused by construction and building-related industries. Likewise, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reported over 88 fatal and over 5,090 non-fatal injuries were reported by general contractors in the United States in 2020. Due to the high risk of work-related injury occurring during a renovation or construction project, it is important that you hire a general contractor with proper insurance coverage. There are a variety of hazards that construction workers and contractors face, such as:

  • Exposure to extreme weather conditions, toxic substances, loud noises, and harmful airborne fibers and materials
  • Injuries caused by falling, flying, swinging, and slipping objects
  • Electrocutions
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Cuts, tears, and lacerations

As such, before you hire a general contractor, make sure that you request proof of general liability insurance policy from them. You can check the validity of the insurance documents you have received from the contractor with the insurance company. This will allow you to protect yourself against the risks that may come with the project. Make sure that the contractor's insurance policy will cover all of their employees and subcontractors. It is also important to note that they have professional liability insurance to cover their negligent acts.

For more information regarding workers' compensation requirements, you can contact the Division of Workers' Compensation of Colorado's Department of Labour and Employment at (303)-318-8700 or toll-free number 1-888-390-7936 or in person at:

Division of Workers' Compensation
Department of Labour and Employment
633 17th Street
Suite 400
Denver, CO 80202

Do You Provide a Warranty for Works Completed?

A warranty is a type of guarantee made by sellers or manufacturers that their product or service will perform or function as expected. Although there are many types of warranties, the general contractors in Denver can offer two main types, namely:

  • Explicit Warranties
  • Implied Warranties

An explicit warranty is a type of guarantee typically written in a contract or proposal from a general contractor for the project. While implied warranties are not always written contracts, they are recognized by law. They are still applicable in construction projects regardless of whether or not a written contract is in place. There are a variety of categories of implied and explicit warranties.

  • Call-back warranty: This type of warranty gives the project owner a certain period to call the contractor to resolve any issues that were not properly performed.
  • Design-build warranty: This type of warranty assures the project owner that the design professionals will perform their work according to industry standards.
  • Material or equipment warranty: This type of warranty states that the products and services used for a project are properly constructed and will perform according to the design specifications.
  • Vendor warranty: These are typically issued by the manufacturer or seller of the products used in the project.
  • Warranties of Habitability: These warranties are typically issued for residential projects. They state that the building will be structurally sound and meet the intended use requirements.
  • Warranties of Fitness and Merchantability: These state that the products will meet or even exceed the expectations of their intended usage.
  • Workmanship warranties: These are typically issued by the contractor to ensure that the work done on the project is free from major defects.

Colorado law does not provide the type of warranties that must be included in a home improvement contract. Nonetheless, before you sign a contract with a general contractor in the city, it is important that you understand the various types of warranties that the contractor will offer. If the contractor breaches any of the construction warranties provided, C.R.S. § 13-20-801 of Colorado's Construction Defect Action Reform Act of 2003 allows you to file a construction defect claim. You have two years to file the claim if you have discovered the defect early. At the same time, you have up to six years to discover such defects to enable you to bring a construction defect claim.

Can You Provide References of Clients Served in Denver?

It is important that you ask for references of past clients from the general contractor before you complete their hiring process. This helps you inquire about their professionalism and service delivery. You can also get referrals from friends and family and through online searches. You can additionally contact various associations for more information, such as:

  • The National Association of Home Builders
  • The Colorado Contractors Association
  • The Colorado Association of Homebuilders
  • The Home Builders Association of Metro Denver
  • The Colorado Builder Associations - F.H.A.

Before you start a project, it is important that you ask for at least three references from multiple contractors. This will allow you to determine their legitimacy and ensure they are competent to handle your project. Some contractors might try to convince you they are not needed to provide this information. You can also check for additional reviews about the general contractors you consider using by visiting third-party websites such as Google Review, Better Business Bureau, and Yelp.

What Is the Expected Timeline for This Project?

One of the most important advantages of hiring a professional general contractor in Denver is that they can help you develop a schedule for your project. This can help you avoid getting stuck with a tight timeline for your work. There are a variety of factors that can affect the timeline of a project, such as:

  • The type of construction and renovation that you are planning on doing.
  • Changes to the project's initial scope or design
  • Weather conditions
  • Availability of resources, including subcontractors, laborers, money, and supplies
  • Regulatory requirements like permits and inspections

Working on a project with a mapped-out timeline gives you the following advantages, including:

  • Proper task allocation and execution
  • Better project monitoring
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Better cost control
  • Fewer project delays
  • Improved communication and fewer misunderstandings
  • The ability to plan for forthcoming occasions like birthdays, weddings, visits, relocations, and retirement.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad General Contractor in the City

The Denver Community Planning and Development Department and the Denver Attorney General's Office handle complaints against general contractors in Denver.

In 2020, a news outlet reported that a Denver contractor was scamming his clients by failing to complete their home improvement projects. The victims reportedly used a third-party website to contact the contractor, who they believed was legitimate. Unfortunately, many people in Denver are victims of fraud by contractors who are not following proper due diligence. These individuals usually trick their clients into paying for their projects by using various scam techniques, including:

  • Asking for a large down payment or a full payment. He then fails to complete the work and leaves the project unfinished.
  • Asking the victims to sign a contract that contains blank sections or malicious clauses.
  • Deliberately failing to pull all required permits.
  • Connives with third parties to provide financing for the project, often at cutthroat rates
  • Victims are asked to sign contracts before they can provide them with bids.
  • Victims are usually told that the project's cost will be higher than the original budget. This usually occurs when the contractor exaggerates the number of required materials and services.
  • The contractor uses inferior materials for the project.

In September 2020, a contractor was charged with felony theft after allegedly bilking elderly homeowners out of thousands of dollars following a hurricane. He reportedly hired several salespeople to try and collect their insurance settlement. Unfortunately, many people in Denver fall for these types of scams. To avoid falling for these types of scams, you can use the following tips when looking for a legit general contractor in Denver:

  • Confirm that your intended contractor holds an appropriate license using the Denver Department of Community Development's verify a contractor's license portal
  • You can also check out the reviews of other people who have used the services of your local contractor by visiting websites such as Google Review, Better Business Bureau, and Yelp.
  • Always request and check references.
  • Make sure that your intended contractor is adequately insured.

You can also take the following steps to avoid the actions of fraudulent contractors in the city:

Do'sDon'ts
Get referrals to general contractors in the city from trusted sources like relatives, friends, and online directories provided by reputable organizations like the NAHB, the AGC, and the BBBAvoid hiring unsolicited contractors
Get and compare bids and quotes from at least three different general contractors before choosing the one most suitable for to handle your projectDo not automatically hire the general contractor that submits the lowest bid or quote for the project
Execute a well-detailed contract for the project and sign it before any work starts. Ensure that it includes a timeline for the project, the types of materials and equipment to be used, its total cost, and warranty informationAvoid hiring general contractors that cannot provide you with up to three local and verifiable references
Review contracts, warranties, and other written documents that you are issued thoroughly before signing themDo not make full payment upfront and limit advance payment to one-third of the total cost of the project, which you should pay when the materials required for the project arrive
Confirm that the project has been completed satisfactorily and per the terms of your contract before making final paymentsDo not let payments for the project get ahead of its progress and avoid cash transactions to enable you have receipt of all transactions
Ensure that all subcontractors, suppliers, vendors, and workers involved in the project are paid on timeDo not let the general contractor arrange financing for the project
Request lien waivers from the general contractor and all subcontractors involved in the projectDo not pull permits for the project by yourself. Permits should always be obtained by the general contractor or subcontractors where necessary

If you believe that you have been a victim of a construction or renovation scam, then you can file a complaint with the Denver Community Planning and Development Department by contacting the office at (904) 630-2489. You can also report the incident to the Attorney General's Office by making a complaint online or by visiting their physical location at:

Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Section
Colorado Department of Law
Ralph L. Carr Judicial Building
1300 Broadway
7th FloorFloor
Denver, CO 80203

If you are planning on filing a private legal action against a general contractor, then you can do so by filing a lawsuit in the Colorado Judicial Branch. Before you start a lawsuit, it is important that you seek legal advice from a lawyer. You can use the For the Public platform provided and maintained by the Denver Bar Association to find a lawyer or use the legal clinic services if you qualify as a low-income earning individual.