Looking for a commercial contractor?

What to look for in a commercial contractor:

Over the years of working with property managers, facility managers, and architects/engineers there are some common similarities that all of them mention when working with contractors. When deciding on a contractor to perform build outs, repairs, and maintenance these should be you deciding factors on whom to go with.


o   The biggest complaints from clients that I hear are the terrible levels of communication.  Often times this stems from improper training, and the organization is not setup to provide proper customer service. 

o   When looking into new contractors talk to all levels of staff.  You want to make sure the level of communication, information, and processes are the same.  This may sound tedious, but it will pay off in the long run.


o   The second complaints that hear from clients are how contractors keep the space, and surrounding areas clean. 

o   When speaking with the contractor, not only stress this importance, but also find out their processes to help minimize dust, dirt, and debris on every job.  Then when the proposal is being submitted, make sure the process is listed.


o   Often times, contractor’s schedules get changed due to many issues, but the failure is very much outside of their control due to, building inspections, material shortages/delays, or labor issues.  Unfortunately, delays happen all the time. 

o   It is very important to make sure the contractor not only understands the schedule, but will outline how they will complete the schedule in a timely fashion.  On many jobs time is of the essence.  Most contractors understand it but don’t plan out their schedule correctly to accommodate the delays.

Insurance & Licensed

o   There are a lot of contractors who have passed the tests, and licenses, but still do not handle themselves correctly.  Luckily, the states are making it tougher to obtain licenses, and are double checking to make sure those people are actually qualified to perform the work. 

o   Being insured is another aspect that contractors are very ill prepared.  Several contractors will get the bare minimum for insurance requirements.  However most property managers are experienced in navigating the insurance waters.


o   Many property managers and facility managers find it extremely unprofessional when workers are not uniformed.  These uniforms help to identify who the workers are employed by. 

o   If the workers are not uniformed it should be questioned how experienced are these guys.

Working conditions

o   When interviewing the contractors ask them how are the working conditions maintained.  Are there standards in place to make sure the working space is kept clean throughout the project? What are the safety standards that being followed and maintained?  How do they work to improve and maintain these conditions?

o   Most companies have standard operating procedures for job sites.  Safety training and inspections should be done on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.  Finally, ask how they work to improve every job.

We would love to hear from you.  If you need anything feel free to give us a call at 757-652-1168


JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

J.P. Carlton is the founder of Carlton Building Services, a Hampton Roads-based construction company.