Hiring a commercial contractor is a big, sometimes intimidating, decision. If this is your first commercial construction rodeo, the potential for error is certainly there. The best way to avoid mistakes is to know some basic do’s and don’ts of hiring a commercial contractor. Below are a few of those do’s and don’ts you should know before signing a contract.

Do: Your Homework

Don’t: Wing It 

This is not a decision you want to make hastily or without a fair amount of research. You’re trusting this company with a lot of money and the overall quality of your project. Finding out important details like how long they’ve been in business, what kind of insurance or bonds they have, and the type of projects they have completed in the past will be incredibly helpful in your decision-making process. You should also check with past clients to ask if they enjoyed working with the contractor in question.

Do: Get Several Bids

Don’t: Automatically Pick the Lowest

Getting more than one bid will help you determine what a fair price is for your project. Each contractor will likely bid the project differently, so make sure you understand why the price is different. Just because a contractor comes in with the lowest price doesn’t always mean they’re the best option. It might mean they really do have a better mousetrap, or it could mean they cut corners.

Do: Get Everything in Writing

Don’t: Make Assumptions 

The contract you sign needs to be ironclad and incredibly thorough. Vague contracts that leave room for interpretation can cause serious problems down the road. It’s vital to fully understand what’s in the contract, which may require getting some professional legal advice.