In a commercial construction project, you want to choose qualified, reliable contractors to oversee the job from start to finish. When picking out contractors, you need to consider a number of factors, including the type of contractor they are and the trades they specialize in. Below, we’ve compiled a guide to help you pick the best contractor for a successful construction project.
Determine What Commercial Contractor Specialties You Need on the Project
Commercial building contractors often specialize in certain fields, such as roofing, concrete or flooring. When choosing contractors for your project, make sure to pick a team with the specialties your project requires. If your project involves repairing a roof, for instance, choosing a roofing contractor will be a top priority. The Kautz Roofing division has specialized in roofing for over 45 years.
Keep in mind that some contractors have multiple specializations. If you find a reputable contractor with more than one of the specializations your project requires, hiring them is often more efficient than hiring different contractors for each of the tasks. At Kautz we have several specialized divisions and we take pride in being our client’s single source solution.
What Type of Work Does a Commercial Contractor Do?
Commercial construction contractors generally have experience working on a variety of construction projects, including:
To work on a project, the commercial contractor must have the required licenses and permits. They must also abide by the regulations and laws of the jurisdiction.
If you would like a new build, a redesign or reconstruction of an existing building, or additional structures or offices, you’ll want to hire a commercial contractor for your project. The commercial contractor will oversee the entirety of your project from start to completion. Their specific responsibilities include:
-Hiring: The commercial contractor is responsible for hiring other contractors and subcontractors.
-Monitoring task progress: Commercial construction timelines can be fast-paced, so it’s important the contractor ensures tasks are completed in a timely manner.
-Purchasing materials: The commercial contractor will be responsible for buying materials and communicating with other contractors hired for the project about where and how to install the materials.
-Resolving material-related issues: If any issues arise regarding the purchased materials, the contractor will negotiate with the material vendor for new materials or replacements.
The Difference Between a Specialized Contractor and General Contractor
During your search, you’ll likely come across the terms “specialized contractor” and “general contractor.” It’s important to understand the difference between the two. Both contractor types are equally vital to the successful completion of a project, but each one has different responsibilities. Whereas a general contractor is responsible for overseeing the progress and completion of a project, a specialized contractor is hired to perform a specific task. There are many types of specialty contractors.
General contractors who describe themselves as “self-performing” can be hired to complete particular installation tasks as well, but if they don’t have the required license to complete that task, a specialized contractor must be hired instead.
In some cases, a specialized contractor can be hired to complete multiple tasks if they have the licenses required for all the tasks. For instance, it’s common for a general contractor to hire a specialized contractor with dual licenses to help them complete two tasks, such as heating and electric. This is often more efficient than hiring two separate specialized contractors for each task.
Qualities to Look for in a Commercial Contractor
When choosing a commercial contractor, there are many desirable traits you’ll want to look for, including great communication skills and adequate resources for the project. During your search, ask yourself the following important questions:
1. How Long Have They Been in Business?
Generally, contractors who have been around for a long time tend to be experienced and provide high-quality services. They’ve seen just about everything and can take on even the most elaborate assignments. An unprofessional contractor, on the other hand, usually won’t last very long.
2. What’s Their Reputation?
Contractors who provide consistently good services tend to have good reputations, which you can gauge in the following ways:
- Online reviews: Any established construction company will have online testimonials. Find out what past customers have said about the quality of their work and their customer service on sites like Yelp, Facebook and Google Reviews.
- Word of mouth: If a contractor skimps on quality, it may catch up with them in the form of a negative reputation. Ask people you know about commercial contractors they’d recommend and the ones you should steer clear of.
- Presence: You should also get an idea of a company’s presence in your community. Do you see their vans or trucks around often? Have you seen them working on projects near you?
3. Do They Have Certifications?
If you want a contractor you can trust to finish the job in full and in a timely manner, you’ll need to make sure they are bonded, insured and licensed:
Bonding protects you in the event that your contractor fails to finish the job, doesn’t pay for permits or doesn’t meet other financial obligations, like paying for subcontractors or supplies or covering damage to your property caused by workers. For a company to be bonded, it generally pays a premium to a surety company. To confirm if a contractor is bonded or not, you can ask them for a bond number and certification. You can also speak directly with the surety company if the job is left unfinished or you think the work is shoddy.
There are two common kinds of insurance for contractors: liability and workers’ compensation. Liability insurance covers situations where the contractor damaged your property, although it won’t usually cover replacing or repairing subpar work — that’s what the bond is for. Workers’ compensation provides payment to injured workers. Depending on the policy, it will pay lost wages and medical care, no matter whose fault it was. Have the contractor show you their insurance certificates and confirm that the policies are up to date.
While confirming to see whether a contractor is bonded and insured, don’t forget to ask about whether their trade requires a license. States often require licenses for certain trades, such as for a plumber, HVAC technician or electrician. You can research the requirements where you live. In many areas, if a contractor isn’t trade-licensed, they may be unable to be bonded or insured. It’s also good to know that if an improperly licensed contractor is working on a project, a building inspector can halt the project.
Take extra time to confirm that your contractor is appropriately bonded, insured and licensed, is critical to ensuring your interests are protected. It also gives you peace of mind that you’ve hired trustworthy professionals.
4. What Are Some of Their Past Projects?
Another thing you want to consider is the quality of the work a contractor has done. You can do this by visiting your prospective contractor’s website and inspecting their portfolio. Make sure their completed work is at the level of quality you’re looking for.
Aim to choose a contractor who has high standards for their crews, is deeply committed to their trade and continuously trains their technicians so they’re always using the latest industry solutions and products. If a contractor is willing to put time and money into the people they employ, they show a commitment to quality, which will be reflected in the work they do for you.
Choosing a Specialized Contractor to Fit Your Needs
If you’re in need of a specialty contractor vs a general contractor in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area, trust Kautz Construction to get the job done. We do not have a one-size-fits-all approach and will tailor your project to your needs. Call us at 717-290-7077 or fill out our form to find out how we can make your next project a success.