When you’re looking for a commercial contractor, a lot is riding on your decision. Unreliable, shoddy developers can be a real threat to the safety and financial viability of your building.
You need to ask plenty of questions and make sure you’re comfortable with your contractor way before construction begins. Here are a few essential tips on how to choose the right builder for your job.
As you look for a contractor for your commercial building, ask around. Friends, family, and neighbors may have worked with someone personally or through their job that they can personally vouch for. Other contractors in adjacent industries can also be a great source. They know who does good work vs. those who are unreliable and unprofessional.
Pre-Screen on the Phone
Once you have several options, make some calls. Ask questions to verify if they have availability, are experienced in the area, and take on commercial buildings of this size. If you need something complex built, a contractor that’s swamped with a major project may not have time to commit to new work.
Meet in Person
Try to par your list down to three or four contractors. Then ask for a face to face meeting that will allow you to understand more about their communication style and experience. It’s good to check out their company website to see past commercial buildings and get a few references.
Be sure that you’re comfortable with the type of communication the builder prefers. If you want weekly updates, and he insists on calling biweekly, you’ll know right there you have a difference that could make the project frustrating and unsatisfactory. Be firm on your expectations.
If you feel you’re on the right track with one or two contractors, verify their references. Don’t just ask if their commercial building turned out well-get some details about how often they got updates and if the job went over budget or over time. Were there any delays or safety issues?
And if they give you a single reference-run! A reputable developer should have dozens of names of satisfied customers.
Ask for Bids, and Don’t Just Go by Cost
Clearly communicate your project to your top choices, and ask for bids. When you receive the estimate, be careful not to get too wrapped up in the final cost. A company with a super low bid could signal a problem.
Maybe they are desperate for work or need your downpayment to get another job finished. Choose which contractor has the best balance of price AND the ability to complete your commercial building safely and accurately.
Agree on a Plan
Once you finalize your selection, ask them for a detailed plan of your commercial building’s construction and make sure you agree with the timeline, cost, and expectations. This is not a time for surprises.
Get the plan in writing and hold the contractor to it. Successful builders would much rather spell things out from the get-go, rather than have difficult conversations and disappointing outcomes down the road.
Keep in Touch
As your job progresses, keep in contact with the builder on your agreed-upon schedule. A short meeting every two to three weeks can clear up confusion and help everyone understand any unexpected situations that may arise.
Choosing a great contractor for your commercial building is easy if you follow these recommendations. Communication and getting details upfront are the primary keys to a satisfactory experience with your construction project.