When planning for any commercial building project, one of the essential steps you will take is hiring a commercial contractor. A search through the Internet will lead you to endless results—and while it’s easy to select blindly from the list, how would you know if you’re hiring the best candidate?
One cannot easily tell by looking at a commercial contractor’s site. You have to do the legwork by asking the right questions. By doing so, you help narrow down your options and save you from potential pitfalls like over budget and poor construction.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Commercial Contractor
Any commercial construction project will take up a significant amount of your company’s resources—time, money, and effort. As such, you must gather as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Remember, you will be working with your commercial contractor for the duration of the project, and it just makes sense that you work with a company you’re comfortable with and whose team members you can confidently speak with to ensure that the project is on track.
But, beyond asking about the basics—company history, pricing, past projects—what else do you need to know?
- How long have you been in business?
A commercial general contractor who has been in business for several years will most likely deliver a high-quality buildout. In addition, they will have more professional experience and a wider network of subcontractors and suppliers to fulfill your requirements.
- Have you worked on projects similar to ours?
Not every commercial contractor is fit for your job requirements. So, besides asking whether they have experience working with construction projects similar to yours, you should also ask whether those projects were successful and ask if they can provide a referral.
- Will you hire subcontractors?
It’s rare for a general contractor to provide every type of construction service under one roof. This is particularly true if you’re building from the ground up. Ask for the subcontractors they will hire—make sure to verify their credentials and whether they have all the necessary licenses to carry out the job.
- Who will be the point of contact?
Some contractors may not always be in the thick of things during construction and so they often have project managers who will be on-site to keep track of the progress. With that in mind, ask whether you will also be able to contact them directly with questions.
- Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
It’s non-negotiable: your commercial general contractor must be licensed, bonded, and insured to keep you from being exposed to poor construction or, worse, undelivered buildout. Ask to see a potential contractor’s up-to-date licensing and proof of insurance. Also, ask whether they have enough insurance to cover all the needs of the project.
- What is the timeline of the project?
Set project expectations right there and then by establishing a timeline and deadlines. These should detail start dates and end dates, with a realistic allowance for uncontrollable factors like the weather. Ask around and compare the timelines different contractors give you.
- Is the price fixed or an estimate?
Contractors usually have sub-contractors who bid on the different parts of the project. This should enable them to give you a fixed cost and reduce your risks of overspending. Nevertheless, make sure you understand what you’re getting into before moving forward.
- What is your payment schedule?
How will the contractor bill you for the project? Know when payments are due and what the payment terms will be. Never settle in full upfront—stagger payments throughout the length of the project instead. Also, discuss what you will require to make the final payment (e.g. certificate of occupancy) and have it written in the contract.
- Do you provide warranties?
Find out what kind of guarantee and warranties a potential contractor offers and make sure to get it in writing. This should disclose what is and what is not covered in the build, and for how long.
Find the Right Commercial Contractor for You
The right contractor should guide you through the complex commercial construction process and proceed with the project with transparency and commitment to keep it moving according to plan. Asking the above questions when hiring a commercial contractor is a great start to find the one that works best for you and your company.
For your commercial construction needs, get in touch with us today at Vulcan Construction!