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Tips for Hiring A Commercial Contractor

November 4, 2020

It’s not easy to find a contractor. You want to find one who’s affordable, reliable, and up for the task. There are countless horror stories about what happens when you hire the wrong contractor. How do you find one that can perform high-quality work for a fair price? To help you find what you’re looking for, we’ve compiled some tips about hiring the best commercial contractor:

  1. Ask friends and family members for recommendations. If you perform a search for “local commercial contractors near me”, you might find hundreds of results. How do you narrow it down? Ask around to hear about your friends’ experiences with contractors. They can save you from hiring someone that would turn your upcoming project into a disaster. But your family and friends might not have any experience with commercial contractors, in which case you can search the Internet for the ones with the best reviews. Take them with a grain of salt, though - many online reviews are fake. Use a skeptical eye when browsing online testimonials.
  2. How much experience do they have? Check how many years the contractor has been in business. Have they completed projects like yours before? If you’re looking for an industrial flooring contractor, look up how long they’ve been providing this service. You want to trust that they’ll know what to do when unexpected challenges arise. The more experienced they are, the more reliable they’ll be; you can feel more confident that their estimated budget and time frame will be more accurate than a novice contractor’s.
  3. Shop around for bids. Try to attain at least three bids when you’re searching for a contractor. The lowest offer might seem attractive, but keep in mind you might be paying for lower-level work. For a commercial project, the details may be very important to you, so you won’t want to compromise on quality. If you receive estimates with varying prices from multiple contractors, ask about why their price is lower/higher. A higher skill level will be reflected in the price, so consider how important expertise is in the project you want completed.
  4. Request photos of finished work. How do you know that they’ll be able to do your job if you haven’t seen the jobs they’ve done in the past? Ask for a portfolio so that you can judge if they can accomplish what you’re looking for. To learn about customer satisfaction from their completed projects, you can ask the contractor for references. If you aren’t satisfied with their past projects, then keep looking; it’s unlikely you’ll be happy with the work they do for you, no matter how tempting the price might be.
  5. Check for the right certifications, licenses, and insurance. With an unlicensed contractor, you may be liable for damages and other risks. No matter how appealing their price may be, don’t gamble by hiring uninsured contractors. Expert commercial roofers should have workers compensation, property damage coverage, and personal liability. Check the expiry dates on their certificates to make sure they are legitimate. 
  6. Ask about their schedule. If your project has a deadline, then make sure your contractor has the time for it. Delays are unavoidable due to circumstances beyond your control, but you should make it clear to your contractor that you want the work completed by a certain date. Thoroughly explain the scope of the project and each required point so that the contractor has a clear picture of the job. Be careful of those who over promise - they might under deliver. You want someone who will give you a reasonable estimate of how long the project will take.
  7. Look them up online. It’s a good idea when you’re hiring any service to see what pops up when you search for their name. You’ll want to make note of any bad press or negative comments that appear - it doesn’t mean the comments are all credible, but they're worth noting. If you see several results that include testimonies from unhappy clients, then you might be better off with a different contractor.
  8. Ask for written documentation. To ensure that the project goes smoothly and according to plan, you’ll need to have everything in writing. This includes a detailed contract, estimation of costs, completion date, and a thorough plan of action. If they are unwilling to provide these types of documents, you should be skeptical. 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.