Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Commercial Contractor

There are times when a commercial contracting company is essential to your success. Maybe you’re a construction business that needs to deliver on time and to specification. Or, perhaps the firm wants to build a new store to capitalize on their success and expand into new markets. Sometimes, it’s as simple as hiring them to solve a problem which has popped up out of nowhere, such as subsidence. Without the services to fix it, the problem will continue to grow until the site disappears completely.

As with all hiring decisions, understand the right questions to ask is an effective way to recruit quality partners. Outsourcing is a dangerous business, but people give away their secrets in the answers they provide. Looking for buzzwords and phrases is the next step, but for now, it’s important to get them to open up. And, to do that, it’s essential to drill down into the correct areas.

Having the perfect partner by your side can make all the difference, which is why you’ve come to this post. Here, you’ll find inspiration on which questions to ask a commercial contractor and why. Carry on reading to find out more and to dig a little deeper into the subject matter.

What’s Your Typical Project?

Whether it’s in retail, hospitality or manufacturing, it’s important to know that the contractor can do the job to your requirements. Otherwise, it’s going to be a gamble whether the end product is to the correct specifications. Considering it’s going to cost the company a lot of money, it’s best to get it right at the first time of asking and not spend more cash than necessary.

The thing to watch out for is whether the answer matches the question. For example, they may list off a range of services, but are they relevant? If there is a problem with the foundations, only things such as earth shoring and ground improvement will suffice. The people at Helitech Civil Construction Division offer these features, which is why they are a popular choice.

Another thing to be wary of here is their workload. Are they going to be busy and not be able to start the project for weeks or months? Or, will they try and multitask? If they opt for the latter, a good move is to ask them about their equipment and employees. Their answers should tell you if they will be able to handle multiple projects at a time.

Who Will Be Charge?

It’s not unusual to thrash out a deal with one person and then have another individual turn up on day one of the work. Again, this is down to things such as a backlog of projects and not enough employees on the payroll. Even something as basic as illness can get in the way. But, they may know who is going to be in charge from the beginning and not divulge the information.

With that in mind, don’t be afraid to ask the question. Say something such as “will it be you or another colleague?” The response is crucial as you will want to meet the co-worker before signing on the dotted line. Aside from getting a gut feeling, it’s vital to understand if he/she knows the ins and outs of the project. Plus, it’s wise to ask for qualifications and certification just in case. You never know if a person is trustworthy until you hold the proof in your hands. Ask about subcontractors, too. If they outsource, it’s important to know who to and why.

Make sure they understand you’ll pull out if the individual doesn’t turn up on day one. Unless there is an incredible excuse, they need to provide the manpower they said they would during the negotiations.

What’s An Escalation Clause?

In short, this is what contractors use to cover their backs regarding materials. They will give a quote and try to stick to it, yet they may not succeed. In this case, the odds are high that they won’t take a loss. What they will do is to add the extra costs of materials into the price and charge you extra. And, they do it via something called an escalation clause.

Although this is commonplace, it’s still nice to know if it’s included in the contract. Lots of customers think they are going to get the quoted price and end up paying something entirely different. By asking about this particular clause, it’s easier to tell whether the rate is an estimate or whether it’s set in stone. Alternatives include listening out for certain words. Any play on the phrase “estimate” suggests the quote is flexible and may not be the amount you end up paying in the end.

It’s important to get to grips with this tactic because you’ll need to know whether you will stump up the cash. After all, it may be out of your price range. To decide, make sure they provide evidence of the rise in the price of materials. Also, ensure they show which supplier they used and why.

What’s Their Level Of Experience?

Plenty of businesses know how to talk a good game yet struggle to walk the walk. Again, this is a waste of resources which is avoidable with a simple question. It’s tricky to hide the fact they haven’t been operating for a long time. Not that it should be a defining factor, but it’s nice to know they recognize the problems and understand how to deal with them.

The things to ask for include the date the company opened, how long they have offered your service, and references. Remember that the last part of the equation is vitally important. Asking about the level of experience isn’t simply about securing the info; it’s about using it to your advantage. Speaking with previous customers about their experience is a surefire way to figure out if a supplier can provide the service.

But, don’t take their word as the gospel truth. Sometimes, what one client finds unacceptable isn’t an issue to another consumer. For example, if they were late finishing the project, try and think about the consequences. If a couple of days isn’t going to impact anything, it may not be a huge deal, especially if they give you a discount. The same goes for cleanliness. Certain people find it shocking, yet you may realize it’s part of the project. Plus, it’s not a problem as long as they hit the specs.

What Are The Potential Threats?

Too many customers pay for something without understanding the process. Regarding a commercial contractor, it’s vital to get to grips with what they are going to do. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible to keep them in check. They can do what they want and pass it off due to the fact you have no idea if they are telling the truth. So, asking about potential threats is a good move.

That way, you can do some research and read up on the topic. Not only that, but it will let you see into the future. When they explain the threats, the contractor should point out the impacts on the project. It may, for instance, prolong the work for a week or two. Anyone on a tight schedule needs to know these things in advance so that they can create a backup plan. Without a contingency, there is a good chance of negative PR before the work is finished.

And, let’s not forget about the communication factor. Informing the contractor about your needs beforehand should help to smooth out the process. When you know the threats, it’s possible to draw a line in the sand. It’s essential to do this before you sign a contract because there won’t be any recourse when the deal is official.

Will There Be Regular Updates?

Entrepreneurs who have outsourced before will know that this is an issue. Outsourcers and subcontractors take on the work and don’t report back regularly. Sometimes, it’s not a problem as everything is to specification, yet other times it’s a disaster. When this happens, there are bound to be crisis talks and negotiations, and they are stressful. Thankfully, it’s easy to bypass this hassle by communicating on a constant basis says Business Know How.

With regular updates, you should be able to put them back on course if they do anything wrong. Or, both parties will get on the same page thanks to a continuous dialogue. Either way, the partnership should be seamless and there should be fewer issues as a result. Don’t be afraid to contact them on a regular basis and demand updates if they aren’t forthcoming. As the customer, you are always right and deserve a high level of service.

Again, speak to their previous customers and clients to get a better idea. A pattern will emerge which will reveal when they are chatty or like to keep themselves to themselves.

This isn’t an exhaustive list as there are lots more questions you can and should ask. However, they are a fantastic place to start regarding hiring a commercial contractor.

Why New York Is Not The Place To Invest In Real Estate

When it comes to investing in real estate, inner-city areas like New York can seem like prime pickings. When you take a closer look, you’ll come to see that locations like these are jammed full of rented apartments and properties. Most investors just can’t get enough of them, and it’s easy to see why.

There are some apparent benefits to investing in areas like these. New York especially has seen a steady increase in value over time. In fact, New York real estate hasn’t dropped in value since way back in the 1950s. That’s not a situation you’ll find in many areas. It means that an investment here brings a pretty safe chance of decent returns.

And, house prices aren’t the only thing which rise on a regular basis here. New York’s population has also been steadily creeping upwards for years by this point. What’s more, the varied cultures and lifestyles in areas like this mean that rental opportunities here have a pretty broad reach. You can bet there will be at least someone looking for what you’re offering, in the price range you’re asking for.

But, we aren’t here to sing the praises of New York investments. In fact, we’re here to tell you why this could be a bad idea. While inner-city investments make sense in many ways, this is a double-sided issue. On the one hand, you can experience all the benefits mentioned above and more. On the other, there are plenty of New York landlords who are struggling to so much as cover their mortgage costs. As if that weren’t warning enough, we’re going to look at a few of the reasons you might want to steer well clear of New York and invest in a more rural area.

The New York market is pretty saturated

There may be high rental demand in New York, but there are also a whole load of investors operating there. Too many people believe that popular cities win the real estate lottery. That means you’re going to be competing against competitors for each tenant. Sometimes, that battle just isn’t worth fighting. Bear in mind, too, that finding a niche is as crucial in real estate as it is in any business enterprise. And, a niche isn’t something you’ll be able to settle upon when you’re operating in the same New York suburbs as everyone else. So, you’ll be competing in a drowning market, trying to sell the same thing as all those people around you. When you look at it like that, it seems like an impossible task. It’s no wonder, then, that many people struggle to achieve it. To do away with that competition, you may find it better to look at investments in more rural areas. Not only does this give you the pick of the market, but it also provides a unique selling point for you. Potential tenants are far more liable to look your way if renting with you means living around Yellowstone National Park than a typical city setting. Even just being able to promise a decent amount of land could see you winning through over all those other property investors. And, these are benefits you would never be able to find if you were looking in those busy city areas.

Inner-city prices are through the roof

The reality of today’s housing market is harsh, and prices are high. While many cite this as a reason to invest in cities, it also works as a downside. Steady increases in value will undeniably come back to benefit you later down the line. But, you will need to have more cash in your pocket to buy a New York property in the first place. What’s more, your money may well only stretch to a small apartment. The moment you step outside of those city confines, though, you may come to find that you can afford four-bedroom ranches with acres of land to their name. And, with rural areas growing in popularity of late, you still stand to see a sizeable return from an investment like this down the line. Admittedly, rent in city areas does tend to be higher. But, the increased size of your rural rental could still see you charging the same amount each month. And, given how much less you paid in the first place, that could see you pulling a profit a whole load faster. Speaking of speed, you’ll be able to make an investment like this a lot sooner in your journey. Those saving up for New York real estate may need to work towards the goal for a few years. But, your willingness to look outside the city could see you with a property to your name in six months or less. By the time you would have been able to buy your New York apartment, you could already have earnt a hefty sum in rent.

New York offers little freedom for growth

While city house prices do tend to rise over time, properties here offer little room for growth. In fact, the majority of New York investment properties are based in someone else’s building. As such, you stand no chance to expand or extend your property. You may even find that there are restrictions on simple things, like your ability to renovate. That means you’re stuck with the general price increases, with little room for extras. By comparison, there are next to no restrictions on most rural properties. This means you would be free to extend properties up, down, and outwards. You could build outhouses on your land, or incorporate swimming pools into a property’s yard. You could even renovate the kitchen or bathroom spaces. If you get things like this right, you could stand to double the value of your property. Not only does that make up for slower rural increases, but it also leaves city prices in the dust. If you’re willing to put a little work in, then, New York definitely isn’t the place you should invest.

Four Ways To Outsource On A Budget

Being a freelancer is a big deal. You’re out in the world and you’re running your own home office, and you’re basically running your own business. If you are a freelancer who is looking to expand into owning your own business, you need to look at what your finances could be to know whether you could afford something like outsourcing. Let’s be honest: you’re good at what you do, but you’re not good at everything. You can run your niche – it’s why you’re a freelancer in the first place. However, you may not have a clue about IT support or marketing campaigns and advertising ideas.

The problem is money. It’s an age old catch-22: you need money to outsource, but to make more money you need to outsource! Instead, you’ve got to figure out how to do it in a way that’s affordable. When you’re focusing on keeping your IT systems secure, you should speak to companies like ATB, who offer help with anti spam software and virus protection. When you have to focus on your next ad campaign for your business, you’d speak to an expert in marketing to ensure you get the right traffic directed toward your business to improve conversions. Below, you’ll find four ways to outsource on a lower budget than you’d like.

Go For Importance

You may love the idea of a virtual assistant, but it’s the least important job you need to outsource. You can’t keep going with a business that’s unprotected, so look at outsourcing IT first. You’ll be able to expand better when you have a well supported IT system and great web hosting.

Outsource The Jobs You Hate Doing

Who likes to invoice? No one likes to invoice. You’ve got more exciting things to do, like network and get new business your way. Think about the jobs that you find tedious and look to outsource those first. Not only does that get it out of your way, it frees you up to do the jobs you want to do, instead.

Start Small

You’re on a budget, which means that even if you wanted to you can’t pay out big money for your outsourcing. Look at starting small with another freelancer to do the images for your blog or the backend stuff for your IT systems. As you build more cash, you can outsource more and keep bringing in new business with the money that you’re saving.

Outsource To Make Money

What is it about your business that you know will increase your bottom line? If you choose to work on outsourcing those tasks first, you’re going to ensure that you gain from it. If any of the business tasks that you partake in have an effect on your clients, you need to make those the top of the list – these earn you money, remember!

Outsourcing can be overwhelming on a budget, but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Look at the ways that you can layer your outsourcing and start with the small things.