The construction business is extremely competitive and it’s not always comparing “apples to apples.” That wide array of companies and sheer number of bids can sometimes make it difficult for someone simply looking for the right residential or commercial construction company to handle their project. Finding the right company means conducting research, which also means asking the right questions.
Here are the top five questions that we feel you should ask when you are considering whether or not to hire a general contractor. A company’s answers often serve as a “litmus test” that can separate those who are inexperienced, in the best-case scenario, and those who are pretenders in the worst-case scenario—from those who are honest and well experienced.
What type of background do you have?
Companies that have an established track record (e.g., years in business, good reviews on Google, etc.)—that says more than any sales pitch. These types of companies are probably, fairly, bidding the market rate for projects like yours because they have the experience to understand and estimate how much a job will cost. Companies that offer an impossibly-low bid are more than likely cutting corners or lack the experience and are forced to undercut the opposition (or surprise you in the end with a price tag you were not anticipating). In addition, some companies only focus on specific types of buildings, like office structures or storefronts. Be sure the general contractor you decide to move forward with has plenty of experience on your specific type of project.
What are some of your past projects?
A firm with any background when it comes to commercial and residential construction will be more than happy to share their past portfolio with you, highlighting examples of what they can do for your business. That is because they know that such proof of their workmanship represents the company in the best possible light. It is also expected for you to ask for references, or for you to search online reviews, to see if past customers were satisfied with their work and whether they have had repeat business, etc.
What kind of timeline do you have for this particular project?
Businesses in the commercial construction field, as well as home owners, should have a timeline prepared from the moment the design process begins to the actual completion of construction. That schedule should have enough flexibility built-in to account for inclement weather or other potential delays, so any company that promises quick completion may again be cutting corners to meet deadlines. Again, this can easily be learned and confirmed by talking to the company’s list of references and/or researching online reviews regarding their past projects’ performances.
What is your safety record?
Companies that keep good records on safety concerns and address any problems that come up, as quickly as possible, are again happy to share them as evidence of their ability to keep a project moving forward. Workplace injuries slow things down and companies that get defensive about their safety record are usually trying to hide something, which serves as a major red flag. Working with a company that doesn’t approach the vital concept of job site safety seriously will no doubt also be too relaxed in other areas as well.
Are Your Cost Projections Estimates or Fixed?
An experienced construction company can properly estimate how much a project will cost, since they have established relationships with their suppliers. That allows them to input fixed costs that can be trusted to remain the same, rather than blindsiding the client with hidden additional costs that are a source of aggravation for that client. That construction company should be able to offer a list of fixed costs on an invoice; though we do recognize that some prices and timelines have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. By now, most companies know where the potential issues might be (e.g., lumber costs, shipping delays, labor shortages, etc.) and allow for them—or at the very least identify which costs might rise and make sure that information is clearly stated prior to signing contracts.
GPC Construction Has the Track Record
GPC Construction is a company that has the track record, client reviews, and field experience to help you with your next commercial or residential project. Book your consultation with us at 240.418.2636 or gopro2.tempurl.host/schedule-a-consultation.