What should you know about a construction company before you hire them? There are a few important questions you can ask them that will make your life a lot easier during the construction process.

Whenever you hire anyone to do any job, you probably have a list of questions for them first. How much will it cost? How long will it take? How many people will need to work on it? The list of questions goes on, and will vary according to the job.

What are some of the need-to-know things you should get a grip on before you hire a construction firm? What are some things that may slip through the cracks and come back to haunt you later? We’ve compiled a list of the most important information you should get from any commercial construction contractor you hire. Whether the job is building, demolition, remodeling, or renovation, these are the right questions to ask.

 

How long have you been in business?

This is an obvious one. You will probably ask this of just about anyone doing anything for you. Whether you are visiting a doctor, getting an air conditioner installed, or buying a car, you probably want to know how long the company has been in business. 

It’s an important question because the answer tells you the following:

  • How much experience the company has. Companies with more experience have better systems of getting jobs done.
  • Is the company an upstart? Market disruptors are often looking for a name for themselves by doing jobs cheaper or better than older companies. A new company might also give you a discount as they try to get the ball rolling on their business.

 

Do you have a contracting license? If so, what is the number.

You shouldn’t be doing business with any company without a license. The license helps ensure that what the contractor is doing is safe, legal, and above-board. 

  • You will want a contractor who is licensed in what you have hired him/her to do. Most people wouldn’t want to hire someone to install a rooftop solar array if their license is in plumbing.
  • Tracing the contracting license number is important. 
      • You can see if they lost court cases regarding their business. You can trace judgments against them, as well as claims against them.
      • Tracing the number allows you to see if they have operated under a different name. 
  • Unlicensed contractors also often don’t have insurance. That means that if a contractor is injured while working on your property, you might be stuck footing the bill.

Have you done business under a different name?

This question ties into both experience and licensing. Often, less than reputable businesses will change their names to avoid negative attention. Scammers, unlicensed contractors, and other illegal operators frequently change business names. They do this to avoid potential clients like you looking them up and finding out about shady past dealings. 

What is your workman’s compensation insurance for your employees?

This should not be a “yes/no” question. You absolutely want the company to have an insurance policy for any injuries or damages that happen to employees on the job. Clients can be stuck with large bills due to uninsured injuries on their properties. 

You will almost certainly want a copy of this compensation policy. If there is an injury, you can have evidence that it is not your fault as a property owner. 

 

What is your insurance policy for the property?

Another question that shouldn’t have a “yes/no” answer. The insurance policy for the property being worked on is incredibly important. In the case of a structural failure, you need to know what it will cost you. In the case of a construction equipment failure, you need to be able to know how the company will handle it. If an employee is negligent and an accident happens, you, the client, should be certain that you won’t incur extra costs when your property is damaged.

 

What is the project timeline?

Getting a timeline for any project is important. You will want a specific, clear timeline. Hidden damage to the property, inclement weather, changing regulations, and materials supply chain problems can all slow a project. Clearly, much can arise that increases the time requirements, and that brings us to the next question.

 

Will you sign a contract specifying time and materials?

This contract states the rates for mark-ups that happen when a project is delayed. The delays may not be the contractor’s fault, they might be the client’s fault, or a totally unexpected event. However, you should have a specific plan for extra time, work and materials that may be required.

In the contract, include specific:

  • Costs for extra work
  • Materials needed
  • Damage repairs

Read a more in-depth about what should be in this contract on the FTA website.

 

How much will the project cost?

Costs are probably most people’s first question. It’s incredibly important to get clear, specific costs written down before beginning any construction project. Without a doubt, you will want the parts of the construction contract pertaining to costs down in writing.

Make sure that estimates are detailed. This means there should be costs for labor, materials, extra work (mentioned in the previous question), and unexpected events. Be careful about the cheapest companies, they may not include extra costs like materials or mark-ups resulting from delays.

 

How can we stay in contact? What/who are the best people to contact.

  • Make sure you at least have their email, and  mobile phone number. 
  • Who is the on-site project manager?
  • How will you receive daily updates?
  • How often will the manager be on-site? How often will contractors/workers be on site? You will want a manager on-site at all times during construction to oversee the progress of the job.

 

Have more questions?

If you have more questions about what kind of things to know before you hire a construction company, let us know. Reliable commercial is an Arlington, Texas company with over 35 years of experience, specializing in a multitude of different types of construction work. Not only can we answer your questions, we can certainly get your construction job done for you. 

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