Getting Started With Your First General Contractor

choosing experienced contractors

Whether you’re about to start a home construction project or a commercial building, the first time is always challenging. For this reason, there are many great benefits to choosing an experienced contractor or construction firm to partner with.

In order to save time and energy, you’ll want to plan for the smoothest project possible. When you’re looking for a firm or contractor there will always be challenges, if only because of all the options available. To help you narrow down the choices, here are a few key areas to focus on.

  1. Thoroughly Plan Your Budget Beforehand

The first step here is to identify the type of building you wish to build. For example, there will be variations from a restaurant, church, office building or a first home. There will be idiosyncrasies within each type of project. You can eliminate potential errors by choosing a contractor who works within your specific realm of need. Look for historical data on their work and pricing models.

There are a wide variety of commercial construction projects. The closer you can nail down the type and details of your project, the easier a definitive pricing chart will be. Knowledge is power and in this case, money. Develop a wealth of knowledge in your particular city and the square foot building estimates. This will give you a point of reference when comparing different contractor pricing. For example, retail construction in Chicago or Miami would vary greatly from Nashville or other smaller cities. 

general contractors

  1. Research Your Local Building Market

As mentioned earlier, different towns will present different price ranges and potential project challenges. However, there are additional building process factors to consider which vary from market to market. Even if you have the exact same project to build in two different locations, you’ll want to do your research.

  • UNIONS: Is this a union or a non-union town? If this information is not easily found, try inquiring after an experienced national firm. They’ll likely have a wealth of experience working in markets across the country.
  • REGULATIONS: Be sure to check out the local jurisdiction, building codes, and other governmental factors. This is potentially one of the most overlooked factors in first time builders. Schedule a meeting with a local building inspector to get the low-down on potential restrictions.
  • ENVIRONMENT: When you’re eyeballs deep in drawings and sketches, the weather or traffic conditions of a town are easily forgotten. However, the environment can have a huge impact on needed building materials. Be sure to choose a contractor with experience building in these specific environmental factors.
  1. Anticipate Problems, Identify Unknown Kinks

No matter how detailed your blueprints, there will always be unknown factors. Whether it’s your first project or you’re just overwhelmed with drawings and designs, expect the unexpected. The right construction firm will know to ask a variety of searching questions. With the right questions, your partners can more deeply understand the ideas and concepts for collaboration.

The questioning process provides a great reference point for choosing. Top notch contractors will be able to elicit all of the necessary information and take it a step further. After reviewing your plans and ideas, they may have brand-new concepts and that you’ll love. They will also be able to help point out potential challenges. The contractors who anticipate problems will always provide the most cost-efficient services.