Two men with computers and paperwork, reviewing home renovation plans

Communicating with the Contractor of Your Commercial Property

If you want great results when working with a contractor, you will need to actively manage communication. We’re sharing some tips here on ways to stay on top of the job and maintain strong communication with your contractor and his/her construction team.

  • Avoid Allowances. An allowance is a line item in the bid the contractor will submit that refers to any work yet-to-be-determined. For example, if you haven’t chosen the plumbing for the employee bathroom yet, the contractor will submit an allowance number in the budget as a placeholder. The trouble with this will be that a wide range of price points exist for most products, so the estimate may end up being quite a bit lower than the final price. Eliminate allowances by sorting out all materials and product selections before you receive the itemized bid for the job, and do research beforehand so that an accurate ballpark price is available for all parties.
  • Establish Strong Communication. Find out how the contractor prefers to communicate with his/her clients. Some will want to see you on the job site daily or weekly to discuss work, while others may prefer talking via cell phone. The contractor may want to direct you to communicate with the foreman or project leader at a predetermined time.
  • Project Journal. Keep a journal to record your project’s progress. Jot down any ideas or questions, and record product order numbers here. It will also be helpful to keep track of product and material delivery dates and information about other trades that may be coming in as subcontractors. The notes in your journal can help with future disputes, should there be any.
  • Track All Changes In Writing. It’s not uncommon to encounter challenges as a project evolves, and any changes to the work itself should be recorded in writing, reflected in an updated bid.
  • Check All Work. Check the work being done; after the crew has left for the day is a good time to take a look at how things are going. Note in your journal any questions or concerns so that you can go over them at your next meeting. Check the location of such fixtures as doorways and windows, closets and stairs against the blueprint, and pay special attention to quality issues.
  • Pay For Completed Work Only. Your contract should establish regular payments to be made as work is completed. Only pay out when you are satisfied with the work and have signed off officially. Never put down more than 10% up front.
  • Be a Good Customer. One of the best ways to get quality work from your contractor is to be a quality customer. Pay promptly, and be fair; don’t nitpick. Being friendly and accommodating to the team members will go a long way towards getting the job done well and in a timely manner. Get to know the team and greet them by name when you see them. Compliment work well-done, and if it’s hot, cold drinks for all would be welcome!

Here at Ascension General Contractors, we pride ourselves on quality work and solid communication with our clients. Call us today at (615) 750 2345, or visit our website: Ascension General Contractors