In the construction industry, a contractor can make or break a project. Choosing a commercial contractor requires careful consideration and logic. You must rely on hard facts to make your choice. Trust
your gut instinct and continue to investigate the facts. Be on the lookout for common mistakes that people make when hiring commercial contractors.
When selecting your commercial contractor, you must be careful and avoid making a hasty decision that you might regret later. Please do your homework and get as much information as possible and verify each of them carefully. Rely on the vital facts that will show the real character of the person you are considering. Apart from his professional qualifications and industrial certifications and insurance, you have to see the character of the man standing behind all these to find the best commercial contractor for your construction project.
The person’s true character is the most essential trait in the person you want to appoint as your commercial contractor, and you must try to find it out for the successful selection of your commercial contractor.
Trust and mutual respect with professionalism in approach are the real watchwords, and you need to find a person to be your commercial contractor. In the process, you should not commit the following mistakes while hiring a commercial contractor:
Mistake No.1: Making A Selection Solely Based On The Price
This Is The Most Attractive Yet Deceptive Mistake!
This is the most common one, and when you are hiring a commercial contractor, you get quotes from many people and will be comparing each one with others, and the natural tendency will be to select the one that has the lowest price tag. This is because you want to keep the project cost down, and this is not the best place to decide solely on the price alone.
As you know, the cheapest things are never the best, and the best things come at a price. So, please do not go with the lowest price quote as he may not be the best person to trust. Possibly he is unsure of the true requirements for the project, or maybe he simply wants to complete it how he wants without considering your needs.
This gap in approach may lead to fatal disputes, completely jeopardizing the project’s outcome. So, don’t select your commercial contractor solely based on their lowest price.
Mistake No. 2: Hiring An Inexperienced Professional
Because An Experienced Professional Knows The Tricks Of The Trade!
Experience brings valuable knowledge that can be acquired only through practical application. A commercial contractor with over 5 years of industry experience will thoroughly inspect your property and provide a precise assessment. This is useful for saving time, money, and stress.
Industry experience is pivotal while dealing with complicated construction and renovation projects. For these reasons, considering experience is extremely important. Before choosing the right commercial contractor, ask about their past projects similar to yours and how they handled them. Someone efficient in the Design-Build method is preferable as it has growing market demand.
As a client, you should select a seasoned professional that knows the in-and-outs of commercial construction.
Mistake No. 3: Failure To Consider The References
Never Forget, Reference Is The Only Evidence!
It is routine to ask for references from their past clients- customers with whom they have worked. The intention behind this is to see how they have conducted themselves during the past projects and how they have treated their past customers. This will show how desirable is the person to become your commercial contractor.
Once the person has provided references, you must contact them and inquire with as many persons as possible and get the answers you need. Before making a decision, ask some of these questions and carefully consider the answers:
- Were the past owners satisfied with the contractor’s handling of the project?
- After the project was completed, were they satisfied with his selection as their commercial contractor?
- Was the project completed on time?
- Did they like the quality of his work?
- During the project execution, did he communicate well with them?
- Was he available to you when you want to discuss something with him?
- Did he keep his promises and gave sufficient importance to the terms of the contract?
- When requested, was he willing to make corrections and changes?
- Will they hire him again?
- Did he complete the project on budget?
The answers to these questions are very vital to consider him as a probable person to select as your commercial contractor.
Also, with the social media coming to your aid, search for his business on social media and find out what their past customers have said about the contractor and, if so, how many positive reviews he has received for his business. Consider the negative or critical reviews carefully.
Consider whether they are real and true, and then decide how they will affect your contract if the contractor does those things during the project execution phase after you have selected him.
Also, have interactions with those persons with whom the person you are considering has business transactions and find out how good he is in finance management and people management, which is vital for the project’s success. You can talk with people like the design team, owners of tile shops, subcontractors, and so on.
This will help you find the human nature of the person with whom you want to enter into dealings as your commercial contractor.
Mistake No. 4: Overlooking Safety Records
Make Safety A Priority, And Don’t Be A Fatality!
The construction industry has its own dangers, and so, safety should come first. Never forget to ask your prospective commercial contractor about their safety records. It’s a non-negotiable step to ensure the safety of the workers and visitors at the construction site. Also, you wouldn’t want any expensive lawsuits to pop up.
Inquire about the contractor’s safety procedures and policies. A well-trained professional firm will have zero or minimal safety failures. Ask the following questions before signing the contract :
- Can you show the documentation of your safety record?
- Do you have any references to prove your safety claims?
- Are you consistently successful in following on-site safety standards?
- Which guidelines does your team follow to prevent injuries?
- What are the insurance coverages that you carry?
- How will you ensure safety on our construction site?
A commercial contractor who doesn’t answer these questions confidently, probably has safety issues to hide. When a construction firm takes care of its workforce, it also indicates its commitment to its clients.
Mistake No. 5: Not Checking On the Documents Properly
Cause, Documents Cause No Arguments!
A commercial contractor is required to submit basic documents such as a license and insurance paperwork so that you can determine his status and legal permissions. He must be fully insured to comply with all current laws and regulations and must be able to show enough proof for the same.
Most importantly, he must be covered by Workmen’s Compensation for any injuries or deaths on your site. Additionally, he must have
general liability insurance for a sufficient amount to protect you from liability during his employment with you.
Likewise, you must also check his professional association affiliations so that you can easily find out his professional acumen, which is one of the most important characteristics for selecting a person as your commercial contractor.
Apart from this, check if he has a well-marked physical office or if he is operating out of his residence with a PO Box for his letter correspondence.
Mistake No. 6: Working Without A Written Agreement
Never Let Verbal Agreements Cause Physical Disagreements:
Once you have hired a commercial contractor, you must enter into a written contract with him. This is the basic document that will have everything you need to hold him responsible for the completion of the project.
A well-written contract containing clear terms and conditions will defend you in court. You must insist on entering into a written agreement with him, outlining all the details of the project and defining the rights and obligations of each party.
If you are not entering into a written contract with the commercial contractor, you will not be able to prove the full scope of the project, and you cannot make him do the project as you want.
This is a grave mistake to be committed by a client, and most of the time, the contractor will take advantage of this vital lapse on your part and will complete the project to his liking. As a result, the project will not be completed as you wish.
So, always insist on entering into a well-written contract and signing it after reading and understanding each and everything contained in it, knowing the real meaning of the content of the contract and how they will impact the outcome of your project.
Therefore, selecting a commercial contractor requires collecting and analyzing various documents and facts. Pay more attention to the human part of the transaction and take steps to find out the human being’s nature rather than paying more attention to his professional qualifications.
Mistake No. 7: Unawareness Of Unexpected Costs
In Commercial Construction, Awareness Is Better Than Carelessness:
Before the project work starts, understand the cost estimates provided by the commercial contractor. Because estimates are just anticipated expenses that a contractor considers based on his previous experience. Although no contractor will give an unfair estimate, no two projects have the same objectives; there may be costs that were never part of the contractor’s vision. Hence, you cannot expect the estimated cost to be the final cost of the project.
Instead, request the contractor to give the maximum possible cost for your project. This maximum cost may include any additional costs not included in the initial project plan. For example, the previously built foundation might not be durable enough and needs to be repaired; such an event would reduce the long-term maintenance costs.
Never assume the estimated cost will be the only cost you will incur; always keep a reserve for unavoidable and unexpected expenses.
Mistake No. 8: No Advance & Cash Payments
As Cash Payments Don’t Qualify For Statements!
A contractor who insists on advance payment for a project signals danger. This showcases unprofessionalism because, in this industry, the client has to initially pay a small deposit amount before the project starts, which is then followed by payments in installments at pre-decided stages of the project.
Before a project starts, a contractor who asks you to pay the upfront deposit or any subsequent installments in cash should not be hired. All the professional & experienced contractors will accept their payments in either debit card, credit card, or through money orders. This helps the client and the contractor have a record and proof of the payments made when ending the project contract.
Mistake No. 9: Neglecting The Communication Part
Clear Communication Is The Secret To a Successful Project!
Amidst official formalities, clients tend to neglect the most fundamental aspect, good communication. Partnering with a commercial contractor that communicates clearly is a prerequisite for a stress-free project. You don’t want to hire someone who will be unreachable when you need them.
A well-run company will have a regular means of communication between its workforce and clients. Phone calls, face-to-face meetings, and progress emails are necessary to keep everyone on the same page. Also, any contractor who offers cost estimates and assessments over the phone without building inspection is a major red flag.
You should set up a discussion meeting to inquire about their subcontractors and company ethics. Make sure they understand your communication expectations.
Conducting smooth interactions indicates the honesty of the contractor you are working with.
Mistake No. 10: Hiring A Contractor Without A Plan
A Contractor Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail!
During the project, you will be working with your commercial contractor for a long time. And hence, you should have confidence in the contractor’s expertise and solutions. Your contractor should provide a detailed plan with the exact steps required to complete your project as skillfully as possible.
Throughout the construction process, there are several decisions to make. Your contractor should present all the available options and help choose the one that fits your budget without compromising the quality. An experienced contractor will focus on building strategies to overcome potential challenges.
Reliable contractors form a customer-oriented bond to create a productive work relationship with their clients.
A construction project is a long-term commitment. No project owner wants to suffer from the headache and expense of holding a commercial contractor accountable for poor performance, delays, and other blunders. Therefore, avoiding these common hiring mistakes is so critical. A contractor that helps achieve your vision with expertise, experience, customer service, and flawless implementation is the key to a project’s success.
We hope this article has made you well aware of the most common mistakes you could make. If you are looking for an experienced commercial general contractor, feel free to contact us.
Please Note – Commercial contractors have different levels of experience and expertise. Their fields of expertise can be – architecture and design, purchase and supply logistics, permits and licenses, or building codes and regulations. Hire the one who meets your project requirements. Another thing to remember is, not to hurry the decision process. Stay open to all the options. Interview suitable candidates with an extensive list of questions. Identify their merits and demerits. Take enough time to evaluate everything before finalizing the right choice.