Choosing a commercial contractor requires careful consideration and thorough research because having the right general contractor can make or break a construction project. Avoid making a hasty decision that you might regret later and be on the lookout for these common mistakes that people make when hiring a commercial contractor.

Hiring An Inexperienced Contractor

Considering the experience of your commercial contractor is necessary to secure the reality of your vision. Experience brings valuable knowledge that can be acquired only through practical application. A commercial contractor with more than 10 years of industry experience has been through many of the ups and downs of the construction industry and will foresee potential changes or disruptions. Retail and commercial industry experience is pivotal while dealing with complicated construction and renovation projects. Ask about past projects similar to yours, how the contractor handled them, and any obstacles they may have encountered. Choosing a commercial contractor with the right track record and experience is extremely important when it comes to saving time, money, and stress on your next commercial construction project.

Failing To Consider References

It is considered common practice to ask for references, which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says should include the names, phone numbers and addresses of three clients with projects similar to yours. The intention behind this is to see how the general contractor has conducted themselves during past projects and how they have treated past customers. Once references have been provided, you must contact them and inquire with as many persons as possible to get the answers you need. Before making a decision, ask some of these questions and carefully consider the answers:

  • Was the customer satisfied with the contractor’s handling of the project?
  • Was the project completed on time and on budget?
  • Was the customer satisfied with the craftsmanship and quality work?
  • Did the commercial contractor communicate well throughout the construction project?
  • Was the contractor willing to make corrections or changes, if needed?
  • Will the customer hire the commercial contractor again?

Along with contacting references, you should also read reviews from past clients and look at design portfolios and ongoing projects. Take a look at the commercial contractor’s website, social media, and online interactions. Although you may be convinced from a few photos online, try visiting the general contractor in-person and physically see their work to get an even better perspective about the commercial contractor.

Making A Selection Solely Based On Price

This is a very common mistake when hiring a commercial contractor. As you know, the cheapest things are never the best, and the best things come at a price. The best looking bid, in reality, may not be the best value. Be wary of “outlier bids” because extremely low bids, while enticing, often utilize substandard building materials and cut corners to finish constructing.

Finances are fundamental to every building timeline and a fair bid should be comprehensive in scope. The best rule of thumb is to gather at least three bids for your project, which will give you an idea of the general price range and also help you recognize outlier bids. Finance is the lifeblood of business and considering where you want to invest your money is an integral part of choosing the right commercial contractor.

Working Without A Written Agreement

Once you have hired a commercial contractor, you must enter into a written contract. A well-written contract containing clear terms and conditions will include all the details of the project, defining the rights and responsibilities of each party required for a successful completion of the project. Without a written agreement you run the risk of the contractor completing the project according to his terms and not according to your vision or expectations.

Neglecting Communication

Amidst official formalities and written agreements, clients tend to neglect the most fundamental aspect – good communication. Partnering with a commercial contractor that communicates clearly is a prerequisite for a stress-free construction project. A commercial contractor who communicates well will have a system for regular communication between their team, on-site crews, third-parties, and the customer with a desire to keep everyone on the same page.

If time and location allow, it’s always a good practice to engage in face-to-face discussions. Set up a convenient meeting time and be prepared with questions. According to the FTC, contractors are only as good as their team, so you’ll want to inquire about the project managers, subcontractors, and on-site crews. Make sure they understand your expectations about communication throughout the entire construction process.

Visit our Who We Are page to learn more about our GLR Special Projects team or contact Nikki Fox ( to find out how GLR can help in your next commercial construction project.