When doing a tenant build-out project, it’s important to make sure that you choose a reputable tenant build-out contractor, who understands the ins and outs of the industry. You are not looking to hire any building contractor, you want an experienced build-out contractor, with an immaculate reputation.
One thing you should understand is that there are thousands of contractors out there to choose from. And, most of these contractors can possibly handle your tenant build-out project. However, you are not looking for someone who’s not sure about how to go around your project. This calls for one to take their time when searching for a tenant build-out contractor if they want their project to be a success. With that said, let’s look at the top 5 simple steps to guide you when looking for a tenant build-out contractor.
Create a list of prospects
The first thing to do is to define the kind of build-out project that you want. Make sure that you are clear on the results that you want to achieve, the work you want to be done, and the things that you don’t need. In addition, you need to make your objectives clear, and your expectations of the contractor you want to hire. Besides, you should have a set budget, materials you want to be used, as well as the timeline you need the project completed.
Please note that a lack of clear understanding of the kind of project that you want can make it hard for you to choose your ideal contractor. Therefore, you must know what you want, as this will make it easier for you to come up with prospects. Then, talk to your family and friends who have had a project similar to yours and ask them for recommendations. Also, you can walk around the neighborhood, search for successful build-out projects, and ask for the contacts of the contractors who have completed that project.
Now, once you have a list of prospective contractors for your build-out project, take your time to call each contractor. When calling them, make sure that you have a list of questions to ask the contractor. Having a list makes sure that you don’t miss out on any important questions. Besides, it levels the playing field, since you get to ask your prospective contractors the same questions
The tenant build-outs experts from AFS General say that a professional build-out contractor shouldn’t have a challenge in giving you a list of their previous clients. If you come across a contractor with a long list of past clients, that’s an indication that the contractor is reputable and delivers good results. Also, it’s important to take your time to contact some of the references and ask them about their experience with the contractor.
Do your research
Although referrals can help you to narrow down on the best build-out contractor, don’t rely on them alone. You need to take your time and research more on your prospective contractors, and check whether they are insured and licensed. Also, online research can help you to see their online reviews.
Besides, your research should assist you to determine the specialty of the build-out contractor, and see whether they are a good fit for your tenant build-out project. Please note that not all contractors can do a build-out project. If possible, schedule a site visit to review some of the projects in progress, especially if they are similar to yours. Don’t forget to have a chat with their client to see if they are satisfied with the services they are getting from the contractor.
After doing your research, schedule interview meetings with the build-out contractors that you choose. During these meetings, make sure that you get bids, at least from three contractors. Here, you will need to consider the cost estimates, and remember that the most expensive contractor doesn’t guarantee to deliver quality workmanship. However, choosing a contractor who has low estimates can lead to poor services, like the use of substandard materials.
During the interview, ask when the build-out project will start, as well as the expected completion time for the build-out project. Also, it’s important to know whether the tenant build-out contractor will be the one working on the project or if they will hire subcontractors. Here, we cannot overemphasize the importance of asking questions. Make sure that you feel satisfied with the answers that you get from the tenant build-out contractor before making your decision.
Put everything down in writing
Always make sure that you put all the communication in writing—from the first communication to the last. If possible, opt for emails, rather than phone calls or casual communication. Then, make sure that you sign an official contract just before the tenant build-out process starts or once you make the first payment.
The contract should include the following details:
- A comprehensive breakdown of the equipment and materials to be uses
- The total cost of the entire tenant build-out project, including labor costs
- Project timeline, including the start and completion dates
- Payment terms, and when the payments should be done
Just like any other construction project, tenant build-out projects are very unpredictable, meaning there can be changes in the projected costs and timelines. Therefore, you should set aside around 10% of the total budget to cater to any unanticipated costs.