If you are planning on expanding or remodeling your business property, you may be overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done. You’ll need to obtain permits, follow state construction laws and zone regulations, and keep track of your budget all at once. Commercial contractors can help you handle these tasks and achieve your remodeling goals. There are several types of commercial contractors available who specialize in different construction areas. To help you figure out what contractor type you’ll need, here’s a guide on how to choose a commercial contractor.
Determine What Kind of Work You Need
The first step in how to choose a commercial contractor is to determine what kind of work you’ll need. Are you adding a new building or redesigning an existing one? Are you looking to install a security system or fire alarms? Are you having issues with your electricity or plumbing? Does your heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system need repairs?
If you are planning a major construction project, you’ll want to consider hiring a general contractor. For specific repairs or smaller projects, you may want to choose a sub-contractor that specializes in that specific area. When choosing a contractor, research your options carefully and check for licensing and insurance. Check reviews online and ask people you trust for recommendations. Get multiple bids and read the fine print on any contracts before signing.
A general commercial contractor typically oversees large construction projects and building redesigns and can help you acquire any necessary permits that come along with those types of jobs. They purchase any needed materials and hire subcontractors to do specific jobs they can’t do themselves. This work typically involves things like plumbing and electrical repairs. The general contractor is responsible for making sure that the project is done on time and within the allotted budget. They keep records of all the work that’s done and organize the clean up after the project is finished.
There are no federal license requirements in the U.S. for general contractors. Most states require licensing. The requirements for what type of licensing varies in each state. The general contractor may be required to hold multiple licenses for specific types of project work. If they don’t have the license themselves, they can hire a subcontractor that has the license to work under their supervision. General contractors also are responsible for carrying insurance that covers anyone that works for them.
When considering how to choose a commercial contractor, it’s important to understand the roles of the various subcontractors. Individuals who specialize in commercial concrete repairs are considered subcontractors. These workers build foundations and other structures that require concrete. A few concrete workers will perform site prep first, so you may want to ask whether or not that is included in their services. If you are planning a new commercial construction project, you may want to hire them first as some concretes takes a long time to cure.
Paving contractors are typically responsible for pouring or repairing concrete sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots. Unlike a regular concrete contractor, paving contractors work with other building materials like asphalt. They can help create a customized maintenance plan that’s ideal for your specific needs. A paving contractor uses complex machinery and works with a crew of several people to get the work done. Many of these contractors offer extensive warranties on material and labor so you don’t have to worry about any minor repairs that may arise.
Security and Fire Alarm Systems Contractors
If you need commercial security systems or fire alarms installed, a security and fire systems contractor can help you protect your business. These contractors will come to your business and evaluate your needs. Many companies offer wireless security systems that will keep monitoring your business even when storms knock out power or a burglar cuts the phone lines. Multiple options are available for fire alarm systems. The contractor will ensure that all the equipment is installed properly and answer any questions you may have.
There are a few things you should know in how to choose a contractor for security systems and commercial fire alarm installations. These contractors often require long term contracts lasting up to three years. There can be hefty penalties if you are unhappy with the service and want to break the contract. You will want to choose a licensed company that has a good reputation and years of experience in the industry. Make sure to read contracts carefully and understand all the fees that may be included.
Figuring out how to choose a commercial contractor for electrical systems can be confusing for some business owners. They may mistake an electrical contractor for an electrician. There are a few distinct differences. An electrical contractor can design, install, and maintain an electrical system. An electrician typically only handles electrical repairs they were specifically trained to handle and can work under the supervision of an electrical contractor. The skillsets for an electrical contractor can vary widely, so be sure to look for one that can handle the type of voltage systems you’ll need.
The duties of an electrical contractor will vary depending on their position in the company they work for. An electrical project manager oversees the entire project and manages the budget and resources. A voice, data, or video electrical contractor works with low voltage systems such as wireless networks, fiber optics, and telecommunications. A line electrical contractor works with high voltage systems and power lines. Inside electrical contractors are involved with interior wiring and cabling repair and maintenance.
Another decision you may need to make while working on how to choose a commercial contractor is whether or not your project will need plumbing work. Just like with electricians, commercial plumbing contractors can get confused with plumbers. A commercial plumbing contractor deals exclusively with new construction and remodeling related plumbing tasks, such as the installation of water supply and septic systems. They are trained to be able to handle complex issues such as gas and water leaks. A plumber handles mainly minor repairs such as leaky faucets and broken toilets.
Payment also differs between a plumber and a plumbing contractor. Plumbers require payment as soon as the work is completed. A contractor will require you to pay a deposit before any work begins. It can be difficult to find a high-quality plumbing contractor, but a general contractor may be able to recommend a plumbing contractor they’ve worked with on previous projects.
Heating and Cooling Contractors
HVAC contractors specialize in air conditioner and furnace installation as well as commercial boiler maintenance. The services and expertise among HVAC contractors can vary widely. These professionals can make recommendations on the best equipment for your business and show you areas of improvement to save money on energy costs. They can also work to improve air quality and maintain equipment over time. Repairs can often be done during off-hours to minimize any interruptions in daily business operations.
High-quality heating and air conditioner contractors should have up to date certifications and licensing in their state. You may want to ask them about their process for client communication throughout the project. Ask for a portfolio of their work before you hire them. You may also want to inquire about any long term maintenance and repair plans that may be available to save money.
If you are trying to figure out how to choose a commercial contractor for custom windows and doors, you may want to look for a glazing contractor. These professionals specialize in commercial glass door installation and building windows for any type of structure. They can also perform repair and maintenance tasks as well. Besides glass, glazing contractors often work with other building materials such as wood, plastics, and metal. These materials can be formed into any size and shape to give your business a strong architectural appeal.
The work that is performed by these contractors can be done on-site, off-site, or a mixture of both. Tempered and laminated glass can help control sound and reduce energy costs. Glass panels in large commercial buildings are able to reduce the need for artificial lighting. Glazing contractors can also build and install mirrors and interior glass fixtures. Like other specialty contractors, glass and glazing contractors need to be licensed and insured in the state they do business in.
Roof, Siding, and Sheet Metal Work Contractor
As you determine how to choose a commercial contractor, you may want to think about whether or not you’ll need a roofing contractor. These professionals not only install and repair roofs and siding but can install gutters and skylights as well. Some roofing companies may even fabricate custom siding and sheet work. They can recommend the best materials to fit the needs of your business. The materials you will need depends on your location, building structure, and your overall budget.
Before hiring a roofing contractor, there are a few things you should find out. Many roofing contractors have multiple projects going at the same time. You’ll want to know who will be managing the construction project for your business to make sure it gets done on time. Make sure all costs are detailed in writing before any work begins. Find out how the contractor will be disposing of old materials as weighted dumpsters can cause serious damage to concrete and asphalt surfaces.
Additional Specialty Contractors
As you are researching how to choose a commercial contractor, you may discover there are many other specialty subcontractors you may need for your construction project. You may need an architect to help create a new building design or a carpenter to build specific structures. You may need a contractor who specializes in drywall or insulation installation. You may need a painting contractor to put on the finishing touches when the construction project is complete. A mason may be needed to handle any stonework that needs to be done.
If you need small renovation projects performed, you can simply hire the appropriate specialty subcontractor you need. For larger projects, you may want to consult with a general contractor to see what specialty contractors will be needed. Make sure you research and vet any contractors, even if they are hired by a general contractor. Get all costs in writing up front before agreeing to any work. Ensure that there is someone you can speak to in case any problems arise.
Understand Contractor Contracts
An important thing you should consider when determining how to choose a commercial contractor is the contracts that are involved. There are a few construction contracts that contractors use, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The most common type of construction contract is a lump sum or fixed price contract. This contract is typically used for smaller projects where tasks are well defined and can be completed quickly. Some projects may use a time and materials contract where contractors are paid an hourly wage and reimbursed for the cost of materials.
A cost-plus contract pays the contractor for the cost of the materials plus a certain percentage for profit. This may not be ideal if you’re on a fixed budget because it puts you at risk for any unforeseen expenses. Unit price contracts break down a project into separate pieces. The contractor provides cost estimates for each piece rather than the entire project. This can make it easier for you as a business owner to control expenses and make adjustments as necessary.
Knowing how to choose a commercial contractor is crucial for your construction or redesign project. Once you know what type of work you need to get done, you can start building your team to get the work done. By using this guide, you can know exactly what to look for to make your next project a huge success. Remember to do your due diligence thoroughly when hiring any contractors. Being prepared can help minimize any potential disruptions in business operations and allow you to better focus on your customers while work is being done.