The need for commercial repair and restoration services is large, with North American revenues topping $26 billion annually within that sector. With services in such high demand, it can be difficult finding the right commercial contractor for your job.
Their knowledge, skillset, cost, and efficiency will directly impact the speed and success of your project. That’s why it’s essential that you take the time to find the right fit. But what factors should you look for? What best practices should you follow?
“It’s important to research contractors to know if they have experience in a type of project,” Associates in Building & Design Ltd co-owner Bob Peterson tells Popular Mechanics. “Today, so many projects are regulated and code-specific that you want someone who knows the details of what’s required.”
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the most critical things to consider when hiring a commercial contractor.
5 Factors to Consider When Hiring a Commercial Contractor
Every repair and restoration job has a budget, so it’s tempting to go with a contractor that submits the lowest bid. However, this can be problematic, for several reasons.
Contractors that underbid and overpromise can be an enormous red flag. They may submit lower proposals because they are having difficulty finding clients, or they may be trying to gain a competitive advantage by using subpar materials.
On the other hand, while it’s normal for contractors to ask for money upfront, those who ask for exceptionally large deposits can leave you exposed to financial risk.
The best course of action is to solicit multiple bids, ideally from at least three contractors.
“Look not only at the numbers but at how they’re presented,” consultant Bruce Irving says to Time. “Are they clear, organized, detail-oriented, and delivered when they were promised? Do they accurately reflect the nuances of what you told him you’re looking to do?” There’s no guarantee that a quality bid equates to a quality contractor—or that a sloppy one means you’ll get sloppy work—but it increases the odds.”
Ultimately, you’ll learn a lot from the types of bids you receive and get a good sense of the range of costs involved, putting you in a better position to make an informed choice.
2. They Have Impeccable References
Doing your due diligence is a must when sourcing a commercial contractor. Often, the quality of the individual will be reflected in the references they provide.
By reaching out to previous clients who have had similar work done, you’ll get a good feel for their overall competency as well as getting a sense of how your project will proceed.
Suppliers are also an important source of information, as your contractor’s relationship with them will have a large influence on the job. Their ability to source quality materials, on time and on budget, hinges on these connections.
So when choosing your contractor, pay close attention to their previous work and professional relationships, since it’ll foreshadow how well they’ll handle your project.
3. They Have a Varied Skillset
No matter the type of restoration or repair project, your contractor needs to have the skillset to be able to do the work. While they don’t have to know how to perform every task, they do need to have a solid understanding of what needs to be done so that they can manage the project and advise you appropriately.
The easiest way to do this is to ensure that they have the proper licensing necessary for your local jurisdiction. Determining which qualifications are available allows you to know your potential contractor’s competency by showing you their credentials.
4. They Identify Risks
During a job, it’s not uncommon for other problems to be revealed. Your contractor needs to be able to identify potential risks as they appear, as well as be able to infer problems based on symptoms that might otherwise be easy to miss.
Since these hidden problems may snowball down the road, leading to even greater damage, it’s vital that the contractor is knowledgeable enough to alert you to issues as they’re encountered.
5. They Provide Long-Term Care
Does your contractor offer post-project care in the form of guarantees or warranties? Good contractors bank on their reputation and take pride in their work; therefore, choose one that stands behind the job with a written promise of remedial action should something go wrong.
Check with your jurisdiction to find out what your legal rights are. But don’t assume that the work is automatically guaranteed. As the American Bar Association warns:
“…For reasons not entirely apparent, in no area are warranties more misunderstood and misapplied than in the area of construction—particularly in what could be called the “Myth of the One-Year Warranty.” As a result, contracts and surety bonds are improperly drafted, inappropriate insurance is required and furnished, and owners frequently end up with huge investments that are not warranted to last as long as the last set of tires they bought for their SUVs.”
Make The Right Choice
By following these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the right contractor for your commercial restoration and repair job. Selecting a good contractor will make the difference between a speedy, successful repair job and a costly disaster.
Universal Structural Restorations Ltd is a leading provider of structural and building restoration services in the Greater Toronto Area. Whatever type of project, from waterproofing and structural repair to bricklaying and complete building resources, our 100 years of combined management experience gets results. Contact us to learn how we can restore and protect your investment!