Eight Steps Toward Hiring the Best Commercial Contractor

Whether your commercial building project involves design and building, renovation and remodeling, adding a new addition, or maintaining and repairing an existing structure, finding an expert commercial contractor can be the difference between success and disaster.

Any construction project of a commercial space demands not only a considerable financial investment but long-term planning to make the most effective use of all your resources. Hiring the right building company as your project partner will go a long way toward meeting this challenge. Here are some guidelines to help you find the best commercial contractor for your needs.

Step 1: Develop a set proposal format for bids from at least three commercial contractors.

Start by considering exactly what you expect your contractor to do for you. In an article on how to choose the best contractor for your project, E-Architect.com says, “It is critical to determine the service you expect the commercial contractor to render during the construction. If the construction is huge, you need to specify the goal at different levels of the construction. You may divide the project into phases to help you see the construction in parts.”

After determining your specific needs,  have each contractor provide a bid for each line item to make comparing them easier. Include questions about their starting date, estimated time of completion, the level of quality you would like to see and estimated costs as well as queries about the issues discussed below.

Step 2: Review company credentials and past history.

In construction, as in most things requiring expertise, experience counts and longevity indicates satisfied clients. The longer a commercial contractor has been in business the more likely they are to have a broad network of suppliers and resources to fill your needs. And their track record demonstrates how well they can fine-tune and customize solutions to meet the needs of individual clients.

Step 3: Examine their certifications, licenses and professional affiliations.

To ensure that your contractor meets current standards for your area, ask to see their licenses and certificates.  Also check out their reputation within their industry and general community. Are they regarded as a major thought leader among their professional peers? Are they considered a leader of the local community and its business associations? These activities indicate the company’s corporate commitment to the community and serving the needs of others.

Step 4:  Ask about the company’s relationships with subcontractors.

It’s common for commercial contractors to hire sub-contractors. If this is the case, what are their criteria for choosing these partners and what assurances can they offer you that you’ll get a full accounting of the work being done whenever you ask. 

Step 5: Check their safety record.

A well-developed and professionally-trained team will have minimal safety issues. Check the contractor’s safety procedures and policies. A recent article in Construction Executive noted that, “Companies that conduct an in-depth indoctrination of new employees into their safety culture, systems and processes based on a documented orientation process experience reduce TRIR (Total Recorded Incident Rate) by 70% and their Days Away Restricted or Transferred rate by 72% compared to companies that limit their orientations to basic safety and health compliance topics.” When a company takes good care of its work force it’s an indication that they’ll honor their commitments to their clients, too.

Step 6:  Ask the commercial contractor to describe their work on projects similar to yours.

Were there any special challenges that had to be resolved? How did they handle them? Their answers to this question will give you a lot of information about how good a fit they are for your project and also demonstrate how well they communicate about their work.

Step 7:  Get a detailed contract outlining the scope of work, project costs and timeline. Be sure to sign off on any changes in the plans before work is actually started.

This may seem obvious, but it doesn’t always happen. Details are sometimes left out, unforeseen challenges during a job can and do happen, material deliveries are delayed and more. An experienced construction team thinks through the details and potential challenges during the planning stages. And if and when changes are needed, it’s best to have procedures in place to keep you up to date about the situation.

Step 8:  Ask for several references. Call them. All of them.

Most commercial contractors can easily provide references. But all too often clients fail to ask former clients detailed, thoughtful questions about the contractor or, even worse, don’t call at all. Always call at least three references and take the time to question them in depth about their experience.

People love to talk about their vendor partnerships and finished projects, especially if the project was a success. In discussions with references, you’ll learn if the project was seamless, if delays happened, how problems were solved, how teams interacted and how the company met expectations about deadlines and budgets.

CCI is always ready to help you with every aspect of your project – from start to finish.

We hope this information will help make your buyer’s journey easier. With over 40 years as a commercial contractor, CCI is known for creating lasting relationships and an unwavering commitment to quality.  If you’re considering a project, please give us a call to see how we can help. Because with any building project the secret to success is always careful planning right from the start. And we’d be delighted to guide you on your way.