Retail, medical and office space remodeling and construction projects can either be a smooth undertaking or a huge headache depending on what General Contractor you choose. Things can quickly turn for the worse if you select a company who has poor communication or if they fail to understand your goals and the important aspects particular to your business. The lowest bid may not be the best value. These four tips will help you choose the right commercial contractor to insure your business’s project will be successful and worry-free.
Find Reputable Candidates
A General Contractor supervises the construction of the project and therefore must be knowledgeable, easy to communicate with, responsive, and professional. You can find reputable commercial general contractors through word of mouth, from print advertising or on the Internet. It is crucial you thoroughly screen each candidate. Ask how long the company has been in business and if they have experience doing the kind of work you need. If you are planning a renovation in an office that will remain open, be sure to ask if the contractor has experience working in occupied spaces to insure they will provide minimal interruption of your business. If you don’t have plans yet for your project, you may want to look for a General Contractor who provides Design-Build services. This can save you time and money.
Check Credentials Carefully
You will need to call at least three references from previous clients. Ask the references if they were happy with the company and if there was open communication. Be sure to ask for a copy of the General Contractor’s license and see if they have been involved in any lawsuits or had disciplinary action taken against them by their licensing body. Searching the Secretary of State’s website is an excellent resource for this. Request a copy of the contractor’s insurance and make sure it is adequate-it should at a minimum include liability and workers compensation insurance. In these times it is wise to ensure the company is financially strong and pays its bills on time by obtaining a business credit report such as one from Dun & Bradstreet.
Interview the General Contractor
Start the communication process by interviewing the General Contractor. Ask how the project will be supervised. Will there be a superintendent on site full time or as needed? Ask how the contractor will communicate the status of the projects and determine, for instance, if you would want weekly updates via email, or phone, or on site meetings. And be sure to discuss permitting time frames and issues in advance because the time it takes to obtain permits from governmental bodies can fluctuate widely.
Don’t be fooled by the lowest price
Once you have narrowed down the list of General Contractors, then it’s time to ask your candidates for an estimate for your project plans. Make sure that all General Contractors are given the same plans, specifications, time frames, and requirements. In this economy, most commercial construction companies have remained competitive by reducing their profits. The one company with a much lower estimate may be reducing the price by using substandard materials or knowingly omitting requirements only to hike it up later with change orders, so make sure all bids are covering the same things