Construction Contracting Tips

Things to Think About When Hiring A Commercial Construction Contractor

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If you are in the market for hiring a commercial construction contractor, chances are you have a big project on your hands. Whether you’re an investor building a new shopping center or a business owner renovating your office space, the contractor you choose to hire for your commercial construction plays a huge factor in the success of the project. A quality contractor can save you time and money with excellent leadership skills and attention to detail. Read on to learn what to consider when looking for a commercial construction contractor.

Research Research Research

When it comes to hiring a commercial contractor for any project, research beforehand is fundamental. You should always check reviews online before even calling a potential contractor. If their company has horrible reviews, you don’t want to waste your time by soliciting a bid when you know their work is not high quality.

After conducting an initial search and narrowing down your list, solicit specific references from each company. Savvy contractors can buy good reviews, so you must speak to someone directly who has used this contractor before. Many contractors have a testimonial or referral page on their website, and quality contractors will be happy to pass on the contact information for past customers. 

See A Current Project

Once you have your shortlist, ask each contractor if they can take you to a current project. Visiting an ongoing project is a great way to see for yourself the work they are currently doing as well as how they manage a job. You want the contractor you choose to have excellent organizational skills, arrive on time, and treat his or her employees with respect. Seeing a worksite yourself can give you a good idea of the kind of work they can handle as well as how they will work on your job site. 

Don’t Let Price Be the Determining Factor for Hiring a Commercial Construction Contractor

When it comes to commercial projects, cutting corners can be detrimental in the long run. Unless you have a strict budget, don’t let price be the determining factor when it comes to selecting the right contractor. Bids that come in substantially lower than the market rate means these contractors are most likely underpaying their employees (which translates to unskilled laborers) and using substandard materials. Quality contractors will:

  • Give honest recommendations 
  • Point out flaws in your building plan
  • Have ample references and encourage you to contact them
  • Give you a detailed, written estimate 
  • Include labor and material costs in the initial estimate
  • Be licensed and insured and can provide proof 

Beware of Subcontractors 

Many general contractors are unorganized and often take on more projects than they can handle. When they become overwhelmed, these contractors turn to subcontractors, essentially giving work to another company, so they don’t have to give up the job. 

Subcontractors typically handle a specific portion of the job that is taking longer than expected or going over budgets, such as electrical work or plumbing. A subcontractor has no interaction with the customer themselves, and therefore, many customers aren’t even aware they are working on their job. Unless a customer takes a hands-on approach and travels to the job sites themselves, they remain oblivious to who is completing the work on their commercial project. Many contractors take advantage of this fact and employ subcontractors to do the job. 

Ask beforehand if the general contractor you are considering for your commercial construction is planning on using subcontractors. If they do, this isn’t necessarily a reason to dismiss this contractor, but it will require more due diligence on your part. Ask for a list of all subcontractors used and conduct high-level research on each company. If you find certain subcontractors do not do quality work or have negative reviews, you can ask your general contractor to put in writing that they will not use them for your project. 

When it comes to choosing the right contractor for your commercial construction project, research and follow up is the key. Don’t trust good reviews online, seek out past customers yourself and ask them specific questions about how the job went and if they were satisfied with the work. Don’t be afraid to ask the contractor you are considering to take you to an active job site to see first hand their leadership skills, and always ask for a list of subcontractors that could potentially be working on your project. While it may be tempting, refrain from going with the cheapest contractor as this usually translates to low quality work. When it comes to commercial construction, take it seriously and don’t cut corners.