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.


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