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What to Look for in a Commercial Builder

June 9, 2021

When you’re ready to break ground on a new commercial site — whether it’s an office space, retail store, or factory — one thing is for sure. Finding the right commercial property builder is critical for the success of your project, and therefore your business. After all, an inexperienced or unreliable builder could make critical mistakes, putting your schedule and budget at risk. But when you take the time to do your research and know which questions to ask, you’ll know what to look for — and which red flags should send you running. 

Ready to find the perfect builder for your project? Want to know how to find a trustworthy builder with good communication and excellent customer service? Here’s what you need to know in order to find the right fit for your commercial build.

Important Qualities to Look for in a Commercial Builder

When you choose a builder to help bring your business to life, you’re entering a partnership that will affect your future success. That’s why you need a cooperative and productive business relationship with a commercial general contractor you can trust. Here are the most important qualities to look for as you discuss your upcoming build with potential contractors:

  • Excellent references. A reputable commercial contractor should be willing to provide you with an extensive list of client testimonials before beginning a project. This will prove their track record of success. It will also give you reassurance that this potential builder provides excellent workmanship and operates with efficiency and integrity. Make sure to ask each reference the following:
    • Was the project completed on time and within budget?
    • Did the builder communicate clearly throughout the project timeline?
    • Did the builder provide consistent supervision on the work site?
    • Would they recommend this particular builder to friends and family?

In addition to personal client references, you can also find reviews about contractors in your area from the Better Business Bureau, local construction associations, and online customer reviews.

  • Experience. Credentials and licensing are necessary for deciding which contractors are qualified to handle the scope of your project. But experience is what will prove their ability to complete a job on time and within budget. Find out how long your contractor has been involved in commercial construction, and look for a diverse portfolio of successful projects, too.
  • Excellent communication. Great customer service prevents miscommunications and helps keep projects running smoothly. Throughout the timeline of the project, your builder should be easy to reach and quick to respond, in addition to being courteous and helpful. Look for a builder that anticipates questions before you even have to ask, which shows their focus and commitment to your project. Overall, you should walk away from a potential contractor feeling confident that they understand your needs completely. A successful builder will already have an excellent customer service plan in place when the contract is signed.
  • Organized workflow. A commercial construction project is a complex undertaking. It involves detailed contracts that outline the scope and phase of work, including materials used, project deadlines, costs, locations, change order procedures, payment terms, labor hours, and more. As a result, your contractor must be highly organized. Make sure your potential builder pays attention to the details and ensures both quality workmanship and impeccable service at all steps of the project. The plans of your build must be detailed and followed to the letter, as outlined in your contract. 

Things to Be Wary of in a Potential Commercial Builder

The green flags listed above are the tried-and-true signs of a builder you can trust. But what about the red flags? Here are a few things to be wary of when you’re interviewing potential candidates.

  • A confusing contract. The written contract is what protects both you and your builder. The finished product should be clear, with a mutually agreed upon timeline and budget. If you detect any reluctance or difficulty on the part of your builder when it comes to drawing up or signing the contract, move on. 
  • A too-low bid. If your quote is significantly lower than others in your market, it should be cause for concern. This may indicate that a contractor is using substandard materials, hiring inexperienced labor, or even deliberately hiding expenses from the bid, which will be introduced later on. Make sure that the estimate you receive is comparable to the ones from competitors. 
  • An unusually large initial down payment. A successful builder will be able to pay for most upfront costs. If they’re asking for a large payment before beginning the work — say 40% — you should move on to the next potential builder on your list.
  • Pushy sales tactics. This is where you’ll need to trust your gut. Does it feel like you’re being given a predatory sales pitch? If you’re feeling pressured in a builder meeting, it’s best to walk away.
  • A lack of knowledge about proper permitting. An experienced builder will know exactly which permits you’ll need for your project. They will be willing to explain each permit to you and will have no problem gaining the necessary permits for your build. 

Looking for Commercial Builders in Austin?

When you’re ready to build a new commercial space, you need the help of an experienced team who can guide your build with unrivaled innovation and forward-thinking strategy. 

At Paradisa, we’re more than just commercial property builders. We’re also multigenerational family home builders in Texas, which makes us a leader in Austin commercial construction and custom home building. Searching for a duplex home builder in Austin, Texas or other style of multi family home builders? We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re in need of a new commercial space or looking for luxury home builders, we’re here to take your project from the concept and design phase all the way to construction and finishing — all within your timeline, budget, and needs. Contact us to get started on transforming your vision into a reality.