What is your first step in hiring a commercial contractor? Typing “commercial contractors” into Google and picking the first site you see? While that may help you find you a contractor, it’s important to find the right contractor for you and your project.
What is a Commercial Contractor?
Your actual first step when looking for a commercial contractor is to know what they do. Seems pretty obvious, right? As the name suggests, a commercial contractor is a general contractor who specializes in commercial construction. However, unlike a residential contractor, a commercial builder works on projects such as builds and remodels of schools, corporate offices, restaurants, retail buildings and more.
Based on the needs of the project, a contractor will oversee all stages of construction sometimes including:
- supply purchases
- building codes adherence
- zoning regulations
Does My Project Require a Commercial Contractor?
In many cases of commercial construction projects, the answer to this question is simple: yes, depending on your scope of work. By law, most construction projects, commercial and residential, require some form of contracting licensing which is obtained from proven skills. While the skills needed may not necessarily include design and supplies, most jurisdictions will require an obtained building permit in order to begin construction and a certificate of occupancy upon completion of the permit to open your business. This is one of the many ways having a general building contractor will come in handy.
Tasks such as obtaining permits and supervising regulations can be an overwhelming feat for the owners looking to build without using a building contractor. In all, a contractor is needed to manage and guide the progress of a build in order to establish a peace of mind for the owners and ensure the most proper and efficient completion of the project. A typical owner’s timeline is best used managing their business or working on hiring and marketing for new or expanded build.
What Should I Look for When Hiring a Commercial Contractor?
Now that you’ve established that you need a contractor, your next step is to figure which one is right for you. Whether it’s a large contractor at a firm or a small, individual contractor, you have to make sure that you know what to look for and what to consider when hiring a commercial contractor. Below are a few examples:
Once a building contractor has reviewed your project, they will draw up a list of plans and estimated costs which is known as a ‘bid’. In a bid, you should be sure that the proposal is as detailed as possible and take into account what is excluded from the bid. It may be something that you actually need. Ensure all of your bids adhere to the same scope so you are comparing apples to apples.
Having a licensed commercial contractor is critical to a successful project. Most states and/or local jurisdictions require that a contractor is licensed, carries substantial insurance and, in many instances, has a bond with them. When considering a commercial contractor, check online to ensure they have the qualified license and request insurance verification directly from the insurance company. Be sure to compare the coverages between contractors as it can vary tremendously.
Excellent communication between the contractor and the client is paramount for a successful project. You want to find a contractor who is willing to work with your style of communication. Whether you want a weekly, monthly or daily update meeting via email, phone or in-person, it’s important that a contractor adjusts to your communication needs.
Choosing a Contractor to Fit Your Needs
The best advice when looking to hire a contractor is to start early. Allow plenty of time for every step of the build process. Getting drawings done, making decisions, getting permits, and actually finishing a project the takes longer than most expect. Be sure to communicate with several contractors and find one you feel comfortable with. Overall, it’s important to choose your commercial contractor based on your individual project needs.