Why the Relationship With Your General Contractor Matters

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As a commercial real estate investor or property owner, selecting the right contracting company to build your vision from the many commercial construction companies out there is fundamental. A transparent, open, and goal-focused team can be the difference between a profit-providing asset constructed to the highest standard versus a stress-inducing and financially ruining process. 

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as jumping on the internet and googling "general contractors" or "commercial contractors." Instead, savvy property investors know that research is paramount. Understanding the key attributes of a quality general contracting company can help narrow down and eventually locate the right team for the job. In most cases, commercial projects are long-term ventures, so it's important to build a relationship with a contractor you want with you throughout the build. 

Today we'll examine the key characteristics of an expert general contracting company and why that relationship is essential, how you can find the right group for your building needs, and how Pivotal Construction embodies the attributes of a responsible and collaborative contracting group. 

What Is a General Contractor? 

General contractors are individuals or construction groups tasked with overseeing a construction project. They are also referred to as prime or main contractors. General contractors sit high in the construction 'hierarchy' as they are responsible for hiring and onboarding all contractors and subcontractors. While a project manager oversees a construction job from a coordination standpoint, a general contractor is more involved in the physical outcomes of the project. 

Although not in all cases, general contractors are usually required for significant construction jobs. For example, if you're updating a single apartment, you might not need a general contractor. However, commercial tenant improvements such as updating several apartments in a multifamily building or the buildout for a new retail tenant will likely require the services of general contractors. 

A desk of contractor engineers who are going to build a low cost home and save energy.

What Are the Duties of a General Contractor? 

What does a contractor do? Some of the duties of general contractors include: 

  • Plan the construction
  • Onboard and contract subcontractors
  • Execute the project by working with a schedule 
  • Oversee day-to-day operations 
  • Sourcing suppliers and vendors for products and equipment
  • Understanding, complying with, and implementing all safety regulations

Essentially, general contractors will manage a job from beginning to end. Because of this, one of the critical roles of a general contractor is to ensure the job is on time and the targets are being reached. They may also serve as a point of contact between the property investor and the other involved parties, along with the project manager. 

Why Are Client-General Contractor Relationships So Important?

Construction services are, by their very nature, a team effort. On any construction project, there are a significant number of moving parts—all contributing to the project goals. This can lead to conflict and sometimes even arguments.  

Because of this, it's essential to find a contractor that can become a partner in the process. From this partnership, you have a contractor who listens to your goals, follows the budget, maintains ongoing contact with all parties, and follows the timeline as closely as possible. In addition, good contractors will constructively share their opinion and input while listening to concerns with genuine interest and honesty.  

Without this foundational relationship, the construction management or project can fall apart or, at the very least, seem like there's no end in sight! 

Key Signs to Look For in General Contractors 

Before you make the call and solicit the services of a general contracting company, it's essential to know what you're looking for and how to determine 'good' from 'great.' There are many construction horror stories out there, and the last thing any property investor wants is to be embroiled in a drawn-out and costly legal battle. 

Architect and engineer construction workers shaking hands while working for teamwork and cooperation

Some of the critical signs of a contractor or construction manager that builds trusted relationships include:

  • Being on time with meetings: Meeting deadlines and general communication is fundamental in construction. Poor attendance at more minor obligations such as meetings or initial interviews may indicate an overall pattern of negative behavior. If your general contractor is late to an interview, this is a good sign not to take the relationship any further. 
  • Constantly maintain their reputation: Trustworthy contractors know that reputation is everything and will happily give details of past work history or clients upon request. Of course, this information is also widely available online. Contractors that work within a particular region, for example, Bellevue, WA, and have been in the business for a while will have garnered a reputation in the industry. In addition, you can use online sites such as review compilations and the Better Business Bureau to check for any outstanding complaints.  
  • Communicate clearly and frequently: Honest contractors will keep open lines of communication as they know this makes all parties more comfortable sharing ideas or concerns without hesitation. Contractors who go 'dark' for days on end create a tense work environment and can give the appearance that they have something to hide. 
  • Those who are honest: Determining whether a potential general contractor is genuine or not can be a tough job. One of the key ways to help with this process is to ask specific questions about your job. For example, ask which material they recommend for a particular construction component. Before asking, research the answer, so you are prepared for the response. In addition, don't be afraid to ask about insurance, legal coverage, and other essential topics.  

Taking the time to find a contractor that meets these objectives is well worth it when your vision completes on time, on budget, and how you pictured it from the start!

How Does Pivotal Construction Maintain Next-Level Relationships? 

At Pivotal Construction, working as a cohesive team is the foundation of our success in the industry. 

We build longstanding and trusted relationships through: 

  • Upfront project planning to ensure all parties are on the same page. 
  • Project organization to the highest standard. 
  • Collaborating on the construction process. 

We understand the importance of caring for our clients, trade partners, and employees. By maintaining relationships at the core of everything we do, we can make every project a success. 

Make The Right Decision When It Comes To Commercial Construction Companies 

Choosing the right general contracting company can literally make or break your investment property. You're putting your future asset in good hands by following the steps above and focusing on team-focused and client-first companies. 

If you've got a project in mind and want to discover how the Pivotal Construction team can help you get it off the ground, reach out to us today!

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