Words of Wisdom: Navigating the General Contractor Relationship

The general contractor. There’s no one on your commercial construction project who has a greater impact on the success and profitability of your project than he or she. The stakes for selecting the right GC, controlling their responsibilities and managing your relationship are high. Here are some best practices:

  • The general contractor you select should have a rapport with your existing team. His ability to be a team player and buy into your vision for the project will be critical to your project’s success.
  • Relationships matter: make sure your GC has a full arsenal of quality, dependable subcontractors who deliver top-notch work. Hiring a sub-par subcontractor can spell disaster for your store’s on-time opening.
  • It goes without saying that your GC must be able to meet your deadlines. Does he have a proven track record of completing build-outs ahead of schedule? If not, you should find someone else for the job.
  • When it comes to construction methods, there’s something to be said for the tried-and-true. But a good GC embraces innovation, optimizing the latest technology and materials to help you gain efficiency, save money and improve quality.
  • As much as your contractor will likely bill himself as a one-stop shop, it’s wise to keep an eye out for line items where you can cut costs. Going straight to the source for things like steel joists and fixtures can bring significant savings and let’s you avoid the contractor’s mark-up on materials.
  • Sourcing experts can help you find multiple materials vendors, source the best price and ensure the vendor will work with your contractor. Some claim to yield savings of up to fifteen percent.
  • You can always find someone who’ll low-bid to land a project, but for long-term, nationwide consistency, you’ll want someone who will hold their pricing from project to project, so you gain efficiency by avoiding the “learning curve” of a new company running each project.  Also, typically when you get a low bid, you have to keep an eye on change orders.  The goal should be to find a “team” you can use over and over, so you protect your brand, your schedule and your budget.

The bottom line? Forge a partnership with a general contractor you can trust – but don’t make the mistake of leaving everything in his hands. It’s worth your time – and your bottom dollar – to sweat some of the small stuff yourself.

 

 

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