Irwin Weiner ASID - I've seen my clients hire contractors that have caused them nothing but problems. A great general contractor will hire a reliable, hard-working, ethical, and honest group of subs; they'll mirror the honesty, integrity, and skill of the gen con. Then they'll make sure the subs stick to the scope of work, follow the plans, ask questions, quickly and politely correct mistakes to the clients' and designer's satisfaction, show up on time and work steadily, maintain the schedule (but always mentally pad the end date for your job by a few months!), and keep the job site clean and tidy. (Watch our earlier Design2Share video on tips for hiring professional interior designers and contractors: Do I Need Professional Help?)
This video came to us from someone who strikes us as a great contractor, Ian Szabo from Edmonton (visit his PLP Contracting site for more information). He talks about the "old school" ways he practices with his subs, and I'd like to add that this is a great way for homeowners to treat contractors and the rest of the "hired help." Kindness, consideration, cups of coffee and personal conversation - being civil goes a long way to help you reach your home design goals.