5 Easy Steps to Finding the Best Commercial General Contractor for Your Growing Business

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So you’re looking to build a new commercial space and you need help making it a reality. You’re not alone. In the U.S. 149.5 million square feet of office space was under construction in July 2022 alone. The trend continues in industrial and retail spaces as well.

So how do you get started? The key to estimating your project, staying on budget, and executing the plans is hiring a commercial general contractor. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to know who to trust. 

How do you find the right commercial general contractor for your project? What responsibilities will they have during the project? How do you pay for the build out?

These are all questions we’ll tackle together to ensure you move forward with your construction plans with confidence. 

Let’s begin.

What is a commercial general contractor?

A commercial general contractor is a construction company or individual with the skills and experience to complete build outs. A “build out” encompasses all construction tasks on a commercial building. These can include adding new rooms, plumbing, walls, floor installation, and outlets.

When you think of a contractor, you may picture an expert who builds structures. Although this is true, this is only part of their responsibilities during the process of a build out. The role of your contractor will encompass many areas of your project from gathering subcontractors to staying on schedule.

Other responsibilities include:

  • Organizing the job site
  • Renting equipment
  • Contracting vendors
  • Acquiring safe materials
  • Ensuring regular inspections

Why should you hire a commercial general contractor?

All construction projects will unavoidably have a lot of moving parts. With the help of a contractor, you cover all areas of the project and guarantee that your vision is being brought to life. 

Let’s take a look at the three main reasons why you should hire a commercial contractor for your next build out.

They help you save time

As a business owner, you’re likely familiar with the phrase “time is money”. And the timing of your project is no different. It’s your commercial general contractor’s duty to establish a timely schedule without going over your budget.

Without general contractors, who assemble a team of experts, you would have to find and hire subcontractors on your own. This means spending days researching and then bringing together numerous professionals who would specialize in various parts of your building process.

An experienced contractor will take care of the details. Not only will they assemble a team for you, but they will also guarantee that the project aligns with building permits, inspections, and building codes.

They negotiate the costs of materials

Between 2016 and 2021, the price of timber alone increased from $240 per 1,000 board feet to over $1,500. With supply chain issues and the rising cost of materials, the cost of construction can get high - quick.  

Source: https://fortune.com/2022/01/12/lumber-prices-skyrocket-again-weather-sawmill-production-supply-chain/

Once a contractor wins the bid of your project, they’ll want to stay under budget. To do this, they’ll work with their suppliers to negotiate prices and terms. Which means you can sit back and ensure you're getting the best bang for your buck. 

They manage and fix any on-site issues

When building a new facility or renovating an existing office space, you’ll never be sure of what you’ll uncover. No one likes surprise problems, and if you’re building on your own, they can set you back months and take a hefty chunk out of your wallet.

That sounds stressful, doesn’t it? Luckily, with a licensed commercial general contractor you won’t have to worry. Since they’re responsible for most issues that may come up on the job site, you can rest assured they won’t be your obligation to fix. 

How to find the best commercial general contractors

1. Find the right match

It’s vital to find a contractor who understands your project’s requirements. Sometimes a construction project can be unpredictable, so the clearer you are with your vision and expectations, the better. 

Therefore, the first step to finding the best build out contractor is knowing what your project’s needs are. Create a project scope to outline the expected timeframe of the build out, overview of the project, and your budget. As contractors read your project’s analysis and send in their bids, you can assure that you’re on the same page.

2. Look for a license

When starting your search for the best commercial general contractor, look for a licensed expert. All licensed contractors have gone through essential training to gain knowledge and experience in the building and legal processes of construction.

They provide legal contracts, follow and meet regulations and requirements, and take accountability for any potential issues.

In addition to a license, you’ll want to find a bonded contractor. A bonded contractor guarantees its financial, ethical, and legal duties. In some cases, purchasing a surety bond is necessary to obtaining a license, but it never hurts to double check. 

Quick Tip: Effective communication is vital for a smooth building process. To get an idea of a company’s communication style, take note of the frequency, timing, and response time of their phone calls and emails during your outreach.


3. Compare competitors

With thousands of contractors in the field, it can be overwhelming finding the right one. Narrow down your search by having certain criteria. 

Take the time to compare contractors’ you feel are right for the project. Take a look at their skill sets and how they would fit into your build out. Read through their portfolio of past projects to better understand their skills. If possible, visit the physical locations of some of their previous build outs and get a closer look of the quality of their works. 

You’ll also want to compare contractors’: 

  • References from past clients
  • Rapport or communication style
  • Claim records

4. Ask the right questions

You’re likely to work with the contractor you hire for many months to come, which is why it’s critical to establish a good working relationship from the start. 

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to about three to five contractors, you’ll want to interview them. This is an effective way to get to know their business more and gain answers to questions you couldn’t find online. 

Questions to ask to ensure they’re right for the job:

  1. What’s your business’s history?
  2. Have you worked on similar projects in the past?
  3. What sets you apart from other companies?
  4. What is the estimated time frame for this project?
  5. Who are your subcontractors?
  6. Are you insured?
  7. What is the payment schedule?
  8. Is your bid a fixed cost?

How will you pay for your build out?

Not ready to burn through all your cash just for you to move-in? Is your budget higher than anticipated?

Traditional commercial real estate deals lock up precious cash in other people's assets and waste valuable time on lengthy negotiation and builds. Aikito built a better way to finance your space with zero upfront capital requirements and smooth transactions that puts your dream space within reach. 

With Aikito, now everybody can have a beautiful, sustainable space – so you can invest in building your business, not just your footprint. Get in touch with us today.