10 Things to Avoid on your Commercial Project – Item #7: Wrong Contractor

Selecting the right contractor for your project is an essential key to a successful project! Selecting the wrong contractor (like choosing the wrong spouse) can make your life “Hell on Earth.”  Why? Essentially, you will be “married” to that person (company) for a year or more and will have to live the rest of your life with the consequences. Scared yet? You should be. On the other hand, picking the right contractor can be “Heaven on Earth.” So, how do you find the right contractor? Don’t be tempted to choose a relative or friend of yours, especially if you value the relationship. Money makes people do strange things and behave differently than they would in a relationship that has no financial stakes. Do your research. A great place to start is by asking your architect. Architects will have experienced the construction of projects that went smoothly and some, not so smoothly. They will inevitably remember which contractors were great to work with and provided high-quality construction. During the design process, your architect will get to know you. Like a professional “matchmaker” they will likely know a few contractors that would be a good match for you, both from a project type and personality perspective. We often provide two or three contractor referrals and recommend that our clients meet with and tour some of their completed projects, as well as, projects under construction. This will give you time to get to know them personally, understand their communication style, view their quality of work and possibly have the opportunity to speak with current and former clients. Choosing a contractor early (see unrealistic budget article) will also help avoid making the wrong choice because you will have the opportunity to interact with the contractor for a good period of time before construction actually begins.