Choosing a commercial contractor you can trust isn’t an easy feat. We all know that a commercial project gone wrong can cost you, so it’s imperative you take the necessary steps to choose the best commercial contractor for your project. Here, we’ve outlined what you need to know and look for when choosing a contractor.
1. Ask other businesses and facility managers in your area who they have used.
Take the time to talk with other business owners who have worked with a general contractor. These people can give you valuable information about their experiences. Ask them what they liked about their contractor and what they didn’t like. Ask what questions they would suggest you ask a contractor. Find out if there was an experience or event they didn’t enjoy and if the issue was resolved to their satisfaction.
2. Once you’ve assembled a list of contractors do a phone interview.
Make sure your list of questions includes the following:
- How many bathroom projects similar to yours have they completed in the past year?
- How many other jobs will they be working on at the same time as your project?
- Will they provide financial references from banks and suppliers?
- Will they be using subcontractors and if so how long have they worked with these businesses?
- Will they supply you with a list of clients or completed projects?
- Have the contractors worked in your area and do they know the local codes and regulations?
3. Make sure they specialize in the renovation you need.
You want a contractor who has experience with your type of remodeling project. Ask to see a portfolio of 10 to 12 completed projects. You want clear photos of the room showing pre-remodeling or construction work, the remodeling or construction at mid-point, and the finished project.
4. Ask for references.
A reliable contractor won’t hesitate to give you referrals of completed remodeling or building projects. Speak with the owners of the buildings about their experiences with the contractor. Ask if the projects were completed on time and within budget. Did the contractor communicate clearly and did they enjoy working with the company? You want information that will help you visualize the experience you can expect to have with your builder.
5. You get what you pay for, so cost shouldn’t be the only factor.
As a general rule, materials cost the contractor about 40% of the project’s cost and 15 to 20% covers the contractor’s overhead, labor and profit margin. So compare the bids carefully. Check to see if each of the contracts lists the same quality materials and contain the same critical steps in the remodeling process. Be careful of the contractor who under bids, but may be cutting corners at your expense.
When you think you’ve made a decision, ask yourself the following critical questions: How comfortable are you working with this contractor? Does this person communicate well and answer your questions easily and clearly? Can you trust this contractor’s suggestions and decisions? You’ll be in frequent contact with this person, so choose a professional you like.
6. Make sure they’re licensed, bonded, insured and has workers’ comp.
A license means your contractor has the necessary training to complete the work you hired him or her to do. Ask to see the builder’s license and copy down the number. A bond helps to protect you against unethical or poor business practices, such as theft or fraud. Contractor’s insurance protects you from property damage and non-employee injuries. Last, but not least, workers’ comp provides coverage for the contractor’s employees while on the job.
7. Discuss the finer details with your contractor.
Know ahead of time what is expected of you and what you can expect of your contractor. For instance:
- What time of day does the crew arrive and when do they leave?
- Which restrooms will the workers use?
- Will there be a project manager and, if so, how often will they check in on your site?
- What is the best way to reach your contractor – phone, text or email – and when should you expect a response?
8. Have a detailed contract in place before work begins.
The contract should include details such as, costs, brands of items being installed and subcontractor project start and finish dates. Firm cost projections are best. So, if you see estimated figures, ask why. You should also have a complete set of architectural drawings with specifications.
9. Discuss a payment schedule.
Generally, contractors prefer the following payment schedule: 10% when the contract is signed and then three payments of 25% spread over the duration of the project, with 15% paid after the punch out is completed. Just make sure you are comfortable with your contractor’s schedule.
10. Review your contract on a regular basis.
As the work progresses take the time to review the contract. Check to see if the work is on schedule or if some projects or materials have been delayed. Don’t hesitate to ask the contractor if these issues will change the project’s completion date.
If you have any questions about selecting a commercial bathroom contractor, give us a call at 1-800-573-5404 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.