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Tips on Finding the Best Commercial Contractor

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The right commercial contractor is worth their weight in gold. From liaising with vendors to procuring materials, equipment, and subcontractors, their duties are all-encompassing and necessary for a smooth building experience.

But, just how do you sift through general contractors to find the best fit for your project? In this post, we outline our top tips for selecting a competent, skilled, and experienced commercial contractor.

1. Check for licenses and experience

The following questions will set the ball rolling in your search for a suitably qualified commercial contractor in Southwest Missouri.

  • Is this an accredited business?

  • Do they have the necessary business licenses?

  • What qualifications does the contractor bring to the table?

  • Do they have insurance policies and bonds in place?

  • How long have they been in operation?

  • What is the business’ level of experience?

  • What are their full range of services?

  • Do they subcontract/outsource to others?

  • What’s their safety record like?

  • Do they have any open litigation cases?

  • Have they worked on similar projects to the one you wish to contract them for?

Ideally, answers should be easily found through an online query on their website, viewing their portfolio, and verifying the legitimacy of their licenses with Missouri’s construction licensing department.

You want a company with a solid track record and a good reputation in the industry. Stay clear of companies that make bold claims without references to back them up and who offer unscrupulously low bids. Why? Generally, the lower the bid, the less experienced the contractor. And that’s not what you want.

As a rule of thumb, what you discover during this due diligence phase will reveal whether you should follow up and get to know the construction company better or make a hard pass.

2. Establish rapport and assess references

Having narrowed down your list to a few contractors (three is a good number), reach out to a key contact at each firm to establish a relationship. The contact should be willing to talk to you and address any concerns you may have. During this time, you should ask for some references so you can hear first-hand from the contractor’s previous clients.

There’s a reason word-of-mouth marketing is still considered the most effective form of marketing by 64% of marketers. Simply put, it’s because it works and it’s telling.

It informs potential clients how well a business carried out its work, how satisfied the client was, and if the company delivered everything it promised. That’s why references are invaluable when seeking the best commercial contractor.

If a contractor is as good as they claim, then they should have no shortage of noteworthy clients ready to vouch for them and their services. Be cautious of contractors unable to give you reliable references.

3. Gauge the contractor’s communication level

Did you know that companies lose on average $400,000 per year because of poor communication? And, as construction projects can take months to complete, you as a client also stand to lose out on time and money if you pick a commercial contractor with poor communication skills.

This means good communication skills are a necessity. So what should you look out for when you start talking to different contractors?

  • How responsive are they?

  • Can they adapt to your preferred communication mediums? (i.e. phone, email, text, face-to-face, etc)

  • How considerate are they of your concerns?

  • Are they understanding what you’re actually saying?

  • Do you feel comfortable having difficult conversations with them?

  • How well do they answer the questions you pose?

It won’t take long to see whether or not you’re on the same page with a contractor. Your interactions will also be a good assessor of thier general attitude, and how they react to pressure.

4. Inquire about their budget and time management processes

In construction, two of the biggest factors that make projects more expensive are going over budget and failing to complete the task in the allocated time frame. Some key considerations you should have are:

  • Does this commercial contractor always hit milestones?

  • How many of their projects are not completed on time?

  • Do they have seasoned industry experts overseeing their work?

  • What checks and balances do they have in place to rectify mistakes?

  • How are they using technology to keep to timelines and within budget?

In a nutshell, you want to know if the contractor has a water-tight operations procedure. You want to be sure that they’ve got eyes on costs, timelines, permits, deliverables, materials, and the minutia encompassing a complex project like yours. No one likes surprises–especially with commercial construction projects.

5. Consider the contractor’s safety record

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the private construction industry has the highest number of fatal work injuries of all sectors – 1008 deaths in 2020 or 21.2% of total deaths – ahead of transportation and warehousing, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting.

While construction is known to be a highly dangerous industry, there’s a lot to be said about a contractor that takes safety seriously and shows care for their workers. Pay attention to the way a contractor speaks about their workers, addresses on-site injuries, and the healthcare benefits they offer employees.

You don’t want to associate yourself with an exploitative contractor. Furthermore, the fines and litigation cases accompanying injured parties (or on-site deaths) can be astronomical. So, save yourself the trouble and make sure you only work with commercial contractors with a clean and sterling safety record.

Ready to get started?

Branco Enterprises Inc. checks all the boxes. We pride ourselves on being a hardworking, fair, and above-board commercial contractor. If you’ve got a project around Southwest Missouri and are in need of a qualified contractor, look no further. Contact us to learn how we can help.

A construction specialist you can trust.

An experienced contractor is worth their weight in gold. If you’re tired of unprofessional, unscrupulous, and exhausting construction companies, it’s time you switched over to one of Springfield’s most sought-after building experts—Branco Enterprises Inc. Contact us for all your 2023 projects and beyond.