How to Pick a General Contractor for Commercial Projects

This article offers insights into the factors you need to consider when picking a general contractor for commercial projects, how to find a reputable contractor, and the entire process, from checking references to finalizing your selection.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a General Contractor

Knowing how to pick a general contractor for a commercial project is vital. Let’s explore some of the essential factors you must consider when looking to hire a contractor:

Skill Level and Experience

Look for demonstrated expertise in all aspects of commercial construction and experience with projects similar in size and scope to yours. Ask about their construction methods and capabilities. Assess technical competence by examining their previous work. Choose a contractor with a reputation for staying on schedule and within budget.

Communication Skills and Professionalism

Clear, responsive communication is essential throughout the project. When hiring a general contractor, ensure they value openness, collaboration, and transparency. Open communication helps manage expectations, resolve problems quickly, and prevent details from falling through the cracks.

Professionalism, integrity, and fairness should be evident when interacting with the contractor during bidding and interviews. Look for signs of high professional standards during initial interactions, information gathering, bid submission, site visits, and more.

Good chemistry and compatibility with your team’s work style are also crucial for a positive experience. To find a contractor that fits your needs well, carefully evaluate management approaches, work styles, values, and personnel roles for smooth collaboration.

Timeliness of Bid Submission

Bids submitted on or ahead of your deadline indicate respect for your schedule. Late submissions may signal poor organization or overbooking. Prompt and clear responses to bid queries reflect good communication practices critical for the project.

Consider bid timeliness as one factor, balancing quality, value, and qualifications. But don’t assume a quickly provided bid always means you’ve found a reputable contractor. If the proposal seems sloppy, rushed, or way below the cost estimate you were projecting, be sure to take a closer look.

Licensing and Insurance Compliance

Confirm state contractor licensing, bonding, and proper insurance coverage, especially for a commercial project.

Ask for certificates of insurance for liability, workers’ comp, etc. Require additional insured status as needed. Review policy documents closely to verify proper coverage amounts, exclusions, and claim procedures. Licensed, bonded, and insured contractors are crucial for risk management and legal protection.

Costs and Budget Management

The estimated total bid amount must align with your budget and expectations. Review line item costs and look for reasonable fees, appropriate markups, and transparency. Ask about change orders and cost overrun histories to assess budget and construction management skills.

Are you looking for a proven general contractor that not only knows the needs of Las Vegas area businesses but also prioritizes customer satisfaction? Explore SHF’s contracting services to find out how we can advance your next commercial construction project.

How to Identify Reputable Contractors for Commercial Projects

It can be challenging to determine if a general contractor for commercial projects is right for your needs. Let’s explore some strategies for finding a reputable contractor:

Research and Gather a List of Potential Contractors

Start by checking industry associations like the Associated General Contractors of America for local referrals. Also, utilize registered contractor databases and third-party validation services.

Search online reviews and ratings, looking for consistent positive feedback.

Ask colleagues, architects, vendors, etc., for contractor recommendations based on good experiences. Get any promises or claims in writing early on to prevent misunderstandings.

Interviews and Getting Multiple Estimates

Interview at least three contractors in-depth and have them each provide a detailed bid.

Assess professionalism, responsiveness, expertise, communication skills, and compatibility. Use standardized scoring rubrics when evaluating contractors during interviews for systematic comparison.

Compare approaches, pricing, qualifications, and services to make an informed decision.

Checking References and Previous Work Portfolios

Follow up on references provided and seek reviews on additional past projects. Verify through licensing boards, court records, and rating bureaus like the Better Business Bureau to uncover any issues.

Look for evidence of high-quality workmanship and client satisfaction over years of service.
Examine photos and details of previous commercial builds relevant in size, sector, and scope to your specific project needs.

Dealing With Contracts and Finalizing Your Selection

Proper vetting and selecting a general contractor is useless without careful contract review and management. When it comes to finalizing your pick and dealing with contracts, follow these guidelines:

  • Have your attorney review any contracts before signing. While you may be eager to get started, having an attorney review the agreement is a good way to protect your interests. They can identify any concerning clauses or gaps in coverage.
  • Understand how change orders will be handled. Most construction projects encounter at least some changes or cost overruns. Make sure the contract specifies how these situations will be addressed. You want a clear protocol for approving and paying for changes.
  • Look for specific language around the timeline and final payment schedules. A contract should include language about estimated project length, key milestones, and when final payment is due. Vague timelines can create problems down the road.
  • Clarify the insurance coverage requirements. Reputable general contractors carry proper insurance like general liability and workers’ compensation. The contract should stipulate required coverage types and dollar amounts.
  • Include a lien release clause. This states that the contractor releases any mechanic’s lien on the property upon receiving the final payment. This protects you if they fail to pay subcontractors.
  • Get everything in writing. Any verbal agreements, promises, or changes made during the negotiation process should be added to the final contract. Relying on verbal agreements only leads to misunderstandings.

Responsibilities of a General Contractor in Commercial Projects

A general contractor plays a pivotal role in any major commercial construction project. They are responsible for managing and coordinating all aspects of the build, from start to finish. Some of the critical responsibilities of a general contractor for commercial projects include:

  • Handling all permitting and licensing requirements. The general contractor must obtain all necessary permits and licenses from local municipalities and agencies before construction can legally begin.
  • Developing an overall project schedule and timeline. The contractor creates a detailed schedule outlining significant milestones and deadlines for each phase from preconstruction to completion.
  • Hiring and overseeing subcontractors. The general contractor procures and manages the various specialty trade subcontractors needed to complete the job, such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters.

Qualities of a Reliable Commercial Contractor

Hiring an experienced, reliable general contractor is critical when undertaking a major commercial construction project. Here are some of the top qualities to look for:

  • Strong reputation and references. Look for a well-established company with many positive referrals from past clients. Seek word-of-mouth validation and examine online reviews on third-party rating sites as evidence of consistent quality and satisfaction.
  • Specialization in commercial work. Choose a general contractor who focuses on and has extensive experience with commercial-scale projects you may be undertaking, like new construction, remodels, and tenant improvements. Assess their expertise across sectors like retail, healthcare, restaurant, and office builds to identify niche specializations that fit your industry.
  • Effective project management skills. They should demonstrate the ability to stick to budgets and timelines while maintaining high quality. You should have open communication with your contractor and be updated on the progress of your project routinely.

Looking to Pick a General Contractor for a Commercial Project? Start With SHF

With 9+ years of experience and a proven track record of flawless execution delivered on time and on budget, SHF has become the general contractor of choice in Las Vegas and beyond. We are committed to providing the highest quality contracting and construction services available. Our use of innovative technology and aggressive budgeting ensures minimized turnaround times and overall costs. Contact us today to discuss your upcoming project and learn why businesses rely on SHF.

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