When starting a construction project, do you know how to find your contractor? A lot of business owners and homeowners get contractors by signage or word of mouth. Some get construction company names directly from architects and some just Google them. It can feel overwhelming to try to figure out the best one. Who would be the less expensive, the best quality, the most reliable, the most timely, etc.? I will lay out the best options in choosing a contractor for your project.
#1. Do your research on the selected companies. Do not just take someone’s word for it that they recommend this or that company. Things change, especially after COVID-19. Some reputable companies that were good, are no longer. Some reliable companies are no more and vice versa. The best way to evaluate a company is off of reviews and the Better Business Bureau’s website (BBB).
#2. Do not just use architect’s or engineers recommended construction companies bid list. While they may deal with contractors on a regular basis. Inviting other contractors to the bid opportunity diversifies the bidding pool and keeps them honest. Companies change and some get better and some get worse. Architects that use the same contractors every time, could be concerning in how tight of a bid you will actually be getting.
#3. References can be helpful to learn from. A reputable company always will try to make each project successful for the client. So, their references should check out as a generally positive result.
#4. Years in business and years with the same business name. It may sound like a no brainer. However, a lot of times it is overlooked because of “outside” recommendations from architects, engineers, friends, customers, etc. The longer the business has been in business and with the same name is a very big deal. Some construction companies change their name because of client issues or legal issues to start from scratch.
#5. Word of mouth is a large part of how business owners or homeowners select construction companies. I wouldn’t go solely on this approach though. You can be missing out on good companies. Companies part of well-known professional organizations can also be a good place to start. Most “subpar” companies will tend to stay away from these organizations. Mainly because the organization may not let them join or they do not have enough experience in business. Plus, if the organization gets a “complaint” you can make sure the contractor does as well. Unfortunately, just because a company is part of a professional organization doesn’t always mean the company is the “ideal” choice.
Bottom line research your contractor before choosing them. There are many factors to research and make your determination. Like if the company is a large one, will they focus or have good customer service? If they are a small company, will they be able to handle your size of project? Don’t just take someone’s word for it, research is the key to finding the best fit for your project.