Hire the Right General Contractor for Your Needs

Q: I want to hire a well-qualified contractor to build my business (restaurant, office space, retail store). Should I get three bids?

A: Not necessarily. Focusing solely on the lowest bid can be misleading. Your business is an investment, and like any important decision, you want the most qualified professional to build it. Prioritize a contractor's reputation, experience with similar projects, and positive client references over simply the cheapest price.

Q: If three bids aren't the answer, how do I find a quality contractor?

A: Research the contractor's industry standing and experience in your specific project type. Ask for and diligently check references. Contact past clients to inquire about their experience with the contractor's scheduling, budgeting, and overall quality. Verify if the contractor has completed projects similar to yours.

Q: When should I hire my general contractor?

A: The earlier, the better. Involving a general contractor during site selection can save you significant time and money. They can assess the feasibility of different locations, potentially negotiating better lease terms or purchase prices based on construction considerations.

Q: I've secured my location and am ready to start building. What's next?

A: Hire an architect and general contractor concurrently or soon after. The architect designs the project to your specifications and ensures compliance with local building codes. The general contractor collaborates with the architect to address constructability issues, propose cost-effective materials or methods, and ultimately deliver a successful project.

Q: How do I find a qualified architect?

A: Consult resources like the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for a searchable database of member architects and helpful guidelines. Look for an architect with experience in your project type and a strong reputation.

Q: Why is the general contractor's safety record important? How do I verify it?

A: A strong safety record indicates a contractor's commitment to quality and efficiency. Accidents lead to delays and may signal poor workmanship. The experience modification rating (EMR) from their worker's compensation carrier is the best indicator of their safety record. An EMR below 1.00 signifies a better-than-average safety performance.

Q: How do I estimate construction costs and determine my budget?

A: Start by researching typical costs for your project type. Consult with local contractors or architects specializing in similar projects. Once architectural plans are finalized, your general contractor can provide a detailed project cost estimate. If it exceeds your budget, collaborate with the contractor and architect to value engineer the project, finding cost-saving alternatives without sacrificing quality or functionality.

Q: What does a general contractor do?

A: The general contractor manages all aspects of the construction project. They work closely with the architect, select and coordinate subcontractors (electricians, plumbers, etc.), ensure adherence to plans and codes, and ultimately take responsibility for delivering a successful outcome.

Choosing the right general contractor is crucial for your business's success. Prioritize experience, reputation, and safety over simply the lowest bid. Hire BVB!