Overseeing a commercial renovation or construction can be a stressful task. So, make it as easy on yourself as you can by hiring the best contractor in the first place. Here is a checklist of things to look for in a reputable commercial contractor:
Most states require licenses for general contractors and subcontractors, but not all. Even if a license is optional in your state, it’s still in your best interest to hire a contractor that has one. In some states, a contractor may only need to register their business in order to operate, which only requires some paperwork and a small fee. However, to obtain a license, a contractor will need to meet certain requirements including education, experience, and possibly taking a test.
Never hire an uninsured contractor. If you do and something goes wrong, you could be liable for any accidents. Before signing the contract, ask your potential contractor for a certificate of insurance (COI) and check the policy limits to be sure they have appropriate coverage to cover any problems that may arise with the project.
Be sure your contractor has a local address. This needs to be a physical address. Never hire someone who only operates on a door-to-door basis. This will save you from falling for potential scams where a contractor starts the project and then disappears without an address for you to trace. Also, ensuring that this address is local, means that this contractor is nearby and can easily return if there are any issues with their work.
Never skip out on reading the reviews. Check Yelp, Google, and local sites to see how past customers have felt about the contractor you are considering. Never take a chance on a contractor who does not have any reviews unless someone you know and trust has referred them.
Compares Well with Other Estimates
Finally, to make sure you are paying a reasonable price, be sure to get multiple estimates. You shouldn’t necessarily go with the lowest bidder, especially if they don’t meet the previous points on this checklist. However, you should make sure that what you are paying is generally in line with what other local contractors would charge.
Provides a Clear Contract
Ask your contractor for a written contract and make sure you fully understand it before work begins. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Otherwise, you may wind up with hidden fees, delayed work schedules, and unfinished work. Make sure the contract states exactly what work will be done, when it will be completed, and breaks down the cost by materials and labor. Then, any time that there are changes to the plan, no matter how small, make sure that the contract is appropriately amended to include them.