Selecting the right commercial reconstruction contractor for your business is a critical decision. Every contractor has strengths, specialties, and strategies for approaching a project. It’s essential to do the research, ask the right question, and know what to look for when choosing a commercial reconstruction contractor.
Over the years, we’ve seen (and helped clean up) the disastrous consequences of hiring the wrong restoration contractor. We want to help people avoid the most common (and easily avoidable) mistakes people make and find the right contractor that fits their needs.
1. Don’t forget to interview referrals or ask about licenses.
Call two or three business owners who recently worked with the contractor to hear about their experiences. You can learn a lot about what it’s like to work with a contractor by asking a few targeted questions.
- Was the contractor easy to get in touch with throughout the project? What was their response time after you left a voicemail or sent an email?
- Did you feel that you always knew what was going on with the project and what to expect? Was the contractor able to clearly present your options and help you choose the right one?
- Was the project completed on time and within budget? If not, how was the communication around those issues?
- What did you appreciate about working with the contractor? Would you recommend them to another business? Do you have any reservations about recommending them?
You should also ask the contractor to provide adequate documentation for their current licenses, insurance, and work samples. A reliable contractor should be able to give you these things quickly upon request. Some even have this information prepared in a short case study designed for potential clients.
When you ask a contractor to provide licenses and insurance paperwork, ask them about their safety record. Any contractor who gets uncomfortable about these questions may have some safety concerns to hide or a checkered safety record.
2. Don’t hire a contractor without reconstruction experience
A general contractor is not the same as a reconstruction contractor, but most reconstruction contractors are excellent general contractors. Experience is crucial when dealing with complicated mitigation, restoration, and reconstruction projects.
It’s one thing to build something from scratch. It’s another thing entirely to assess the damage, clean, restore, and rebuild a property damaged by storms, fire, water, or other accidents. Ask potential contractors to share their experience completing reconstruction projects.
Experienced reconstruction contractors have a process to thoroughly inspect your property to find all the damage and make sure they provide an accurate assessment. This is critical when filing insurance claims and in keeping the restoration project on schedule.
Quality reconstruction contractors also offer experience working directly with insurance companies. It’s even better if the contractor worked with your insurance provider in the past and has their endorsement. Choosing a restoration contractor that already has an excellent working relationship with your insurance company will save you time, money, and stress!
3. Don’t hire a contractor that requires large upfront payments or offers cash discounts.
Ask reconstruction contractors about their payment expectations and processes. Alarms should sound and red flags should wave if they require large upfront deposits or offer cash payment discounts. This may be the first sign of other issues behind the scene.
Ask your commercial restoration contractor about their payment expectations, especially in situations where insurance companies are covering restoration costs. Your contractor should not ask for an unreasonable amount of money. Of course, they need funds to get the project started, but most states don’t allow contractors to ask for more than 33% of the total estimated cost upfront.
Trustworthy contractors should have enough working credit to cover other upfront costs. Additional payments should be tied to significant milestones in the project. Of course, in reconstruction projects in which insurance companies are involved, there might be other “rules of engagement.”
4. Avoid contractors that offer quotes over the phone.
A common mistake that busy people make is accepting quotes for reconstruction projects over the phone before the contractor personally inspected the building and assessed the damage. Every building and situation is unique. Contractors simply cannot provide an accurate assessment and cost estimate over the phone without first conducting a personal inspection of your property.
Of course, it’s fine to discuss proposals and quotes over the phone after the contractor personally inspected your building and the project at hand. Proceed with extreme caution if a contractor is ready to give you a quote before they personally assess the situation.
5. Don’t hire a contractor that can’t provide a plan.
As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” You should feel very confident and comfortable with the level of communication and the expertise your contractor provides. After a disaster or accident, your restoration contractor should provide a detailed plan with the exact steps necessary to restore your property as quickly as possible.
You should also feel that you understand the plan and have a good working relationship with the contractor. There are a lot of decisions to make in the restoration process. Your contractor should be able to present all your options and help you choose the one that best fits your budget and specific needs.
Avoiding these five common mistakes will help you choose a trustworthy, reliable, experienced reconstruction contractor. Having a great contractor will eliminate unnecessary stress and anxiety during an already stressful time and help you get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
Contact Pro Service Builders today to learn about our services. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your commercial mitigation, repair, and improvement needs.