Hiring the right commercial contractor is the key to your project’s success. Here are tips to help you in your search.
1. Select a Commercial Contractor with Exceptional Character and Integrity
“Selecting a contractor with exceptional character is absolutely essential to the success of a building project,” says Tony LaPelusa, past president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. “Someone with a strong moral compass will follow the right standards and be trustworthy, assets necessary for a successful project.”
Another essential contractor component encompassed under character is communication, both with you, the business owner, and within your team. Through the building process, it’s necessary to have someone who establishes effective methods of contact and clearly explains procedures and project details. Contractors must display a customer-oriented rapport to form a productive business relationship with clients. At the end of the day, a compatible match in character is crucial for the success of your project.
2. Make Sure Contractor is Licensed
3. Ask for References and Research Contractors and Clients
Ask for a list of references, which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says should include the names, phone numbers, and addresses of three clients. Read reviews from past clients. Contacting references, as well as pouring through online reviews, helps choose someone that prioritizes your preferences.
IMPORTANT TIP!: Make sure you ask references about how scheduling and budgeting went on their projects.
4. Consider the Contractor’s Experience
Experience is beneficial in the construction industry since many tricks of the trade can only be learned through practical application.
5. Experience with Permits & Inspections
It seems simple and obvious but permit and inspection experience is a must. Dealing with government agencies is not simple and the bureaucracy can slow you down. Hire a commercial contractor that has great government relations.
6. Throw Out the Lowest Bid
The best bid may not always be the best value. This Old House general contractor, Tom Silva, recommends throwing out the lowest bid. Be wary of “outlier bids” because extremely low bids, while enticing, often utilize substandard building materials and cut corners to finish constructing.
Finances are fundamental to every building timeline, and while browsing multiple estimates, note that a fair bid is comprehensive. The best rule of thumb is to gather at least three bids for your project, which will give an idea of the general price range and also help recognize outlier bids.
In addition, beware of estimates without a cap price or that have “allowances,” as your final payment might be considerably higher. Finance is the lifeblood of business and considering where you want to invest your money is an integral part of choosing a contractor.
7. Engage in a Face-to-Face Meeting
Set up a meeting and be prepared with questions. According to the FTC, contractors are only as good as their team, so you’ll want to ask which team members and subcontractors are being used and what is their experience.
This is the time to inquire into their expertise in your specific project area, as well as their success with integrating multiple disciplines.
Go over a schedule and budget. Hire a commercial contractor that is efficient, on-time, and budget accurate.
By following these tips when hiring a commercial building contractor, you can create the project of your dreams, whether it be a retail renovation or office overhaul. While scouring the hundreds of contractors that appear with a quick Google search, do your due diligence following the tips above.