7 Steps for Selecting the Right Contractor for Your Project

Posted on August 21, 2015
Even during good economic times, a simple construction project can become a very frustrating experience for a business owner if they fail to choose the right contractor for the job. During tough economic times when the construction industry is in a downturn, choosing the right building professional for your project becomes even more critical. The following items should be considered when deciding who to hire to perform your building project:
  1. Integrity and a good working relationship. Don’t depend on an airtight contract for a problem-free project. Your contractor should be someone with a good track record of integrity and who is able to maintain a close, solid relationship with the client through the proposal, planning and construction stages. It should be a contractor that you would be willing to hire on a “handshake” agreement. Trust is vital.
  2. Referrals and references. Most contractors will provide references from past clients and architects with whom they’ve worked. It is very important to contact those references to understand the type of firm and people you are considering for your project. Do they have a long list of repeat clients? What is the builder’s reputation on service issues after the project is completed and the final payment has been made? Are they a firm that is determined to earn their clients’ referrals?
  3. Consider experience. Not only how long a contractor has been in business, but the type of work they normally do. For example, it probably wouldn’t make sense to hire a contractor to build a medical clinic if their only experience is in constructing manufacturing facilities.
  4. Financial stability. This could not be more important in tough times. Does the contractor have the financial strength to “weather the storm?” Check financial references like their bank and bonding companies. Obtain a certificate of insurance to ensure they are properly insured. You want to be certain you hire a contractor that will be around long after the project is complete.
  5. Payment process. Find out what process they use for paying their subcontractors and vendors. How do they ensure the project owner that payments are being made and protect the owner from potential liens on the property? Ask around, as a contractor who habitually pays its vendors late will have that reputation.
  6. Sustainability and energy efficiency. You may not necessarily be interested in building a LEED-certified green building, but most clients want to know that their building will be energy efficient, given the rising cost of energy. What is your builder’s experience in sustainable construction? Do they have a LEED Accredited Professional on staff?
  7. Budget and schedule compliance. Find out what the builder’s track record is when it comes to staying within the building owner’s budget. A cheap price up front will do you no good if you are constantly hit with change orders to get what you really wanted, resulting in a project that goes over your budget. Also, ask how well the contractor does in getting projects completed on time. Remember the old saying, “Time is money.”
Those of us in the construction industry understand the competitive nature of our business, especially during slower times. Certainly there isn’t a better time to build cost-wise, but price shouldn’t be your only consideration, especially if you want to avoid problems down the road. T&W Corporation has put the right team and the best Process in place to guarantee you that your next building project will be a low stress experience. If you are ready to build a new facility or renovate your existing one, call us at 317-244-7637 and let us earn your trust.

Doug Beamer, LEED AP, has over 15 years in Design/Build and will guide you through the various stages of Planning, Designing and Building your new facility.  T&W Commercial is a Design/Build firm who partners with architects and engineers that specialize in specific industries and jurisdictions of Central Indiana.  Doug can be reached at dbeamer@twcorp.net.