First, let’s explain what “light commercial” construction means…
In this case, it’s easiest to start with what it is not.
Light commercial construction is not large scale construction of buildings like hospitals, high rise apartments, airports, schools, etc..
Light commercial refers to most small to midsize commercial construction.
New construction, such as:
- Professional offices (dentist, chiropractor, etc.)
- Funeral homes
- Storage facilities
- Service-based business (HVAC, automotive, etc.)
- Retail shops
- Strip malls
And includes updating existing structures:
- Renovations of existing businesses
- Build outs (finishing of raw space)
Below are 5 helpful tips to help you when it comes time to find a contractor for your light commercial construction project…
1. Don’t focus only on the “big” commercial contractors.
Larger scale commercial contractors might be willing and able to take on smaller, light commercial projects, but there are potential benefits to working with a smaller scale commercial contractor, such as lower costs and time savings.
By going with a smaller company you could potentially save money because they tend to have less overhead costs.
Larger commercial construction companies have more employees, bigger office spaces, and more equipment. By going with a contractor with less of those overhead costs you might save money because those costs don’t have to be passed on to you.
Larger contractors generally prioritize their larger clients needs first.
With a smaller commercial contractor, your project is more likely to receive more attention because you are the priority of their business.
This means fewer potential delays and faster response times when questions or issues arise.
2. If you know of a high quality residential contractor in your area, see if they also offer commercial construction.
Just because a contractor does residential work does not mean they do not do commercial.
Some residential contractors are fully capable of doing commercial work, and doing it well.
Residential contractors that also do commercial work have the same skills and abilities as commercial contractors. For example; concrete, framing, windows, doors, trim, and flooring, require the same set of skills whether the work is being done in a home or in a commercial building.
You will likely benefit from their experience in residential because of the detailed craftsmanship and attention to detail that residential construction requires.
Residential contractors will likely have less overhead, which results in lower costs and prioritized attention, as noted above in number one.
Kirchner Custom Builders of La Crosse, WI is an example of a residential contractor that also does commercial construction.
With years of experience in high end residential construction and light commercial construction, Kirchner Custom Builders offers:
- Quality, skill, and expertise
- Lower overhead which allows them to be cost competitive
- Prioritized attention
- The ability to complete the entire Design-Build process
- Transparent pricing
3. Look at the type of work they do.
Review online portfolios of local contractors to look for projects that match the size and scope of your project. You want to find a contractor who does work similar to what you need.
Go see some of their work in person.
- The best way to predict the quality of a contractor’s work is to see an example of it first hand.
- Visit actual buildings that a contractor has completed. You can contact a contractor for a possible tour, or contact the current business owner for permission.
4. Look for contractors with good reputations.
Ask for referrals from other business owners who have worked with commercial contractors. You can learn a lot through the experience of others.
Read online reviews and testimonials to see if previous clients have been happy with their work. (If there are numerous bad reviews, no reviews, or no testimonials, take that as a warning sign.)
5. Call and/or meet with potential contractors.
Find out if they will be a good fit for you and your project.
If a contractor doesn’t return your phone calls or can’t make time to meet in person, then it’s a good idea to move on to your next option.
If you want your commercial construction project to move smoothly and efficiently from start to finish, good communication is essential.