As a business owner, you probably know everything there is about your niche and your customers. You know how to hire top talent, keep your profit margins high and make your customers happy. But despite your business expertise, when the time comes to remodel your office, you could be totally lost. Where do you start? Who do you hire? How long will it take? These are all good questions, and it’s perfectly fine if you don’t know the answers. An experienced Maryland remodeling contractor will be happy to guide you through this process, but first you need to find one. Follow these steps and you should be off to a great start with your office remodeling project.
Make a List
When you need a new printer or digital camera, you probably do a bit of research to read reviews and figure out the model you want. Hiring a contractor is very similar. You don’t just hire the first one you find—you look around and make a list of 3-5 candidates you want to further interview. Where do you find these candidates? Here are a few ideas:
- Know someone who recently moved into a new office? Ask which contractor they used and how they liked him.
- Use your entire network of friends and family: ask in person or post a shout-out on social media to get recommendations.
- Search online for an “office remodeling contractor” or “commercial remodeling contractor.” Click on a few top links to check out the websites of these companies. Add to your list the ones that look real and trustworthy.
Make a Phone Call
Once you have a list, start calling these contractors to schedule a meeting and a walk-through of the project. Feel free to ask questions during this phone call to help weed out some bad candidates. You can ask them about how long they have been in business, whether they are local, whether they are licensed and insured, and how soon they may be able to start on your project. The last one is very important if you have a hard deadline. If the contractor is booked for the next few months and you need your remodel finished ASAP, there is no point in scheduling a meeting.
Meet and Talk
As you meet with your office remodeling contractors, show them around your office space and let them know what kind of work you want done. Be as specific as possible, as this will help them give you a more accurate estimate. If you already have a design, show them the plans. If design is needed, then mention that you will rely on them to both design and build. As you are talking to your contractor, go through the following mental checklist:
- Are they easy to get along with?
- Do they explain things well?
- Do they seem knowledgeable in this type of project?
- Are they making suggestions to improve on your plans?
- Can they back their claims with references and examples?
Choose Based on Experience
Now that you’ve met with a few contractors, choose the one that strikes you as the most experienced, competent, reputable and educated. Keep in mind that cost shouldn’t be your main judging factor. You wouldn’t choose your dentist or primary care physician based on price alone, right? So why would you trust something as important as your real estate investment to the lowest bidder? Contractor selection should be based upon experience, competency, and reputation; your contractor should be interested and committed to your project both before and after any contracts are signed. For example, at Northstar Commercial Construction we often provide preliminary design sketches based on your initial input, helping you visualize the solution.
Sign the Contract
After you and your contractor finalize the construction design that fits into your budget, it’s time to seal the deal with a contract. Even if you have a pre-existing relationship with a contractor, or if it’s a friend of a friend, still have a contract. This document outlines many important items from scope of work and delivery dates, to the payment schedule. Your contractor will typically prepare the contract for you. And if you’ve trusted them so far, you should trust them to put together this document based on their extensive experience in the industry. After all, writing contracts is a big part of what we do. Feel free to review it carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand certain language. Once you sign it, we can start working on making your project a reality!