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  • Writer's pictureRobert Helminen

Tips for Hiring a General Contractor

There’s a lot to think about when vetting general contractors. After all, hiring the wrong contractor can turn the entire project into an expensive nightmare. How do you make the best choice? These 10 tips will help make an informed decision.

1. Conduct your research

When considering construction companies in Southern New Hampshire & the North Shore of Massachusetts, find out how long they’ve been in business. Learn what types of projects they have been doing, and explore their professional qualifications. Ask around to find out if anyone else has worked with them as a general contractor. The more you can research on your own, the better.  Then, when you interview commercial general contractors, you can see if your research matches what they are trying to tell you.

2. Meet Face to Face

Based on the phone interviews, pick three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further discussion about your project at the site. Also take note if the contractor shows up on time n prepared? An experienced contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. it's crucial that you two will be able to communicate well because spending alot of time in the near future with whom ever you select. On the other hand, don't let personality fool you. Check in with your state's Li censure agency and check their references before you hire a contractor. Now that you've narrowed your list, put your research to use. Call up the former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. you shouldn't rely on results alone. Even more important, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are workers courteous and careful with the owners property?

3. Don't be shy, ask questions

Always ask the general commercial contractor questions. Inquire about their business, their completed projects and their professional qualifications. Request references and ask about matters like licensing, bonding and insurance. Think about the way that your questions are answered. It will provided you with valuable insight into what working with the contractor will be like.

4. Plans, Scope of Work & Proposals

You have your short list of contractors whose track records seem clean and whose work ethic looks responsible. Now it's time to stop looking back at past work and start looking forward to your project. A conscientious contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints & written scope of work but also a complete sense of what the clients project expectation is and ultimately wants out of a project and what you expect to spend on the project "budget". To even the field & assist with bid qualification, be sure to request everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses. Generally materials account for 30-40 percent of the total cost; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent.

5. Get Multiple Quotes

When looking for commercial general contractors, make sure to talk to a few that meet your qualifications.  If you feel their business and communication style match your own, proceed with to issue an RFP to those businesses.  Make sure to you receive all proposals in writing.  The more detail the better.  After all, this document will determine how your job is handled.  The RFP should also include timelines of how the job will be complete.  Getting multiple estimates allows you to be confident that the price you are being quoted is competitive and accurate. It’s an industry standard practice, so no reputable contractor in New Hampshire or Massachusetts should be offended to learn that you’ve completed your due diligence by requested estimates from other commercial construction companies. Paxor Construction has been providing our clients with detailed estimates since the day we opened our doors.

6. Price

Everyone loves to get a great a deal, but the price should never be the determining factor when awarding a contract for a construction project. Look out for this trap. An unusually low bid should raise concerns about inexperience, poor-quality construction or less than professional business practices.

7. Qualify the Quote You Receive

Many make the mistake of jumping to the last page of the proposal and the resulting total with out given proper and due consideration of what's in each estimate. Not all proposals are created equally. It is important to understand the difference. "Disqualify the low-ball bid,This contractor is probably cutting corners or, worse, desperate for work"—hardly an encouraging sign in a healthy economy. Beyond technical competence, comfort should play an equal or greater role in your decision. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he communicate. All things being equal, it's better to spend more and get someone you're comfortable with when hiring a general contractor.

8. Insurance

Why does virtually every article about choosing a contractor advise you to select one that is bonded and insured? It’s because these are vital considerations that shield you from unexpected expenses and liability issues. Bonding protects you if the contractor fails to complete your project in two ways:  (1) with the contract; or (2) neglects to meet their financial responsibilities for your job. A properly insured general contractor carries both liability coverage in case the construction causes damage to your property and worker’s compensation insurance in case of workplace injuries. You could be liable if a contractor doesn’t have the necessary insurance. Never assume that commercial general contractors have the proper bonding and insurance. Verify that they do. As a responsible commercial general contractor, Paxor Construction is fully bonded and insured, and but the requirements for contractors vary widely by state & coverage limits. Paxor Construction is fully insured & We choose to protect our clients on every job we do.

8. Weigh Qualifications

As you narrow down your list of potential contractors, it’s important to consider their respective qualifications. Your best bet will likely be a, reputable general contractor with experience completing projects like yours.

9. Instincts Matter

When searching for a commercial general contractor in New Hampshire or Massachusetts even the best qualifications can still be the wrong contractor for you. Personality clashes or mismatched communication styles can lead to frustration and make completing a project a miserable experience. You’ll be working closely with your contractor, so opt for a qualified commercial general contractor that you feel you can work with effectively. Take this into consideration when you have a face to face meeting. Ask your self these questions: Does this contractor want the project? Do the responses to your questions make sense?

10. Contract Award

Have Draw up a contract for mutual agreement by both parties that details the project including: payment schedule; proof of ; a start date and projected completion date; specific materials and products to be used; and a requirement that the contractor obtain lien releases (which protect you if the contractor doesn't pay their bills) from all subcontractors and suppliers. Insisting on a clear written contract isn't about mistrust. It's about insuring a successful renovation. Paxor Construction has contract templates for use on various types of projects and utilizing AIA contract documents when possible.

Unforeseen things are uncovered in construction all the time just remember when this happens or a change made, the price of the project just increased and the complete date of the project just got moved out a little later than originally planned on.

Since 2014, Paxor Construction has been a premier NH/MA general contractor serving commercial, corporate, education, institutional, industrial and custom residential clients in New Hampshire & Massachusetts. We’re committed to providing great construction services. To explore our qualifications or request a quote for your next project, contact us today at 603-262-1400 or fill out our form on our website.

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