Common Mistakes When Hiring a Commercial Contractor
Hiring a commercial contractor can be confusing and difficult if you’ve never worked with one before. While it might be tempting to hire the first general contractor that looks good on paper, choosing the wrong one can create negative consequences that impact your life for years to come. That’s why it’s important to do your own research and get it right the first time.
With that in mind, let’s look at three common mistakes people make when hiring a commercial contractor and tips on how to avoid them.
1. HIRING THE CHEAPEST COMMERCIAL CONTRACTOR
This is likely the most common mistake made when choosing a contractor. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most disastrous.
The conventional wisdom is to get a minimum of three bids, then take the lowest one. While it might be tempting to save a few bucks, you have to understand why one bid is cheaper than the others. Often, the lowest bid will result in the lowest quality of work.
Contracting is a service. And as with any service, you get what you pay for. The key is to compare price for service. Is the bid lower because they use poor quality materials? Are they cutting corners by using cheap labor? If so, you’ll be replacing and repairing things for years to come. Sometimes by paying less upfront, you end up paying much more in the end.
2. FORGETTING TO CHECK REFERENCES
When narrowing down potential commercial contractors, references are your key to learning more about work habits and quality of work. A credible contractor should have no problem providing you with multiple references. Unfortunately, many people either fail to take this step or they don’t ask questions when speaking to references.
If you’re interviewing a general contractor who is hesitant to provide names and contact information of past clients, consider it a red flag. If the contractor insists there’s no need to waste time contacting their references, consider it a full stop. There’s a very real possibility the contractor has a poor reputation among former clients and doesn’t want you to find out.
Contact as many references as you can, and ask them questions like:
- What was the scope of the project?
- Are you satisfied with the work that was completed?
- How long did the project take? Were there any delays?
- Would you recommend the contractor to others?
3. NOT ASKING FOR REFERRALS
Believe it or not, many people don’t bother to ask for referrals before launching their search for a commercial contractor. For commercial construction projects, referrals from trusted business partners or respected community members are often the best place to start.
Word-of-mouth referrals are powerful, time-saving tools in your search for a contractor. Undoubtedly, some of your contacts have experiences working with construction projects, they will have insight into what to watch out for, ways a contractor went above and beyond expectations, and tips to make your project run smoothly.
Love the new commercial construction space a local business owner opened last year? Reach out and ask these people who they hired and how they would rate the experience.
Talking to real estate brokers, business owners, and investors can go a long way since many of them regularly work with top contractors in the area. And don’t forget to check in with friends, neighbors, and co-workers for contractor referrals.
At CPM, we are skilled commercial contractors with years of experience in commercial construction and tenant improvement needs.