The process of choosing a Commercial Contractor


What is a Commercial Contractor?

Your actual first step when looking for a commercial contractor is to know what they do. Seems pretty obvious, right? As the name suggests, a commercial contractor is a general contractor who specializes in commercial construction.

However, unlike a residential contractor, a commercial builder works on projects such as builds and remodels of schools, corporate offices, restaurants, retail buildings and more.

A contractor will oversee all stages of construction sometimes including: Design, permitting, supply purchases, building codes adherence, and zoning regulations. (BC)

Four Keys to Hiring the Right Commercial General Contractor

Key #1: Check Contractor Histories, Credentials and Reviews

Start with the basics: pull up the company, their qualifier name (the license holder), verify it exists and is active. Is all their documentation up to date? What does their history look like? Any complaints? Also check with the local Better Business Bureau for ratings, complaints and how they resolved those complaints. Get a better view of contractors by visiting their websites and checking out attributed testimonials (i.e. with full names and contact information for references.)

Key #2: Check Their References

Don’t be afraid to ask contractors for references. Any hesitancy or inability to provide what you want is a red flag. (Make sure they’re not family and friends, but valid references.) You may be working with these people for months or a year, so you want to be sure the contractor will deliver as promised. Be sure to inquire as to the contractor’s supervisors, managers, and other staff. Were they easy to work with? Are they expected to be a part of your project team? Finally, compare the quality of the projects done by prospective commercial contractors by inspecting their work.

Key #3: Get to the Bottom Line about Costs

Cost is not the only factor, but it is an important factor. And how a general contractor arrives at a bottom-line fee requires asking a lot of questions. All costs should be illustrated in a divisional itemization with as much detail as may be required to make accurate comparisons. Following are some of the key questions in the form of a checklist, which can be of value when issuing a Request For Proposal (RFP):

  • Are there any pre-construction costs and if so, what are they?

    • Not always warranted but always valuable, can occur during the gap time during planning, design and permitting prior to a construction start.

    • Fees include time to assist in specifying for value, field investigation, program scheduling, phasing, permitting strategy, feasibility and constructability, budgeting, meetings, and due diligence costs.

  • What are the “soft costs?”

    • Such as general conditions or requirements to build; costs for supervision, management, permitting, safety, cleaning, public safety, hoisting, communications, temporary facilities, etc.

  • What will I pay for Contractor’s services?

    • The basis for its fee: a stated fee or percentage arrangement based upon costs. Learn more about the benefits of a Design-Build process.

  • How transparent is the commercial general contractor in disclosing its costs?

    • The answer here will generally be relative to the expected contract relationship. An owner should expect less disclosure from a “lump sum” agreement while a “cost plus a fee” agreement will require increased fiduciary responsibility of the Contractor. The builder should get three or more bids from its vendors, more from the more common trades, but possibly less than three when specialty trades are involved. It should be noted that this fiduciary responsibility will prohibit the professional contractor from stacking the deck with expensive subcontractors, collusion, etc.

    • In either example, “Shopping” takes place at the contractor level, however, the cost plus a fee arrangement will allow for owner participation in subcontractor selection and even pricing negotiations. There are hybrids of these relationships and arrangements for shared savings as well.

Note! It’s important to understand that if numbers 1 to 3 meet your criteria, there is no need to “bid” your project to multiple general contractors as the rules of the road, fees, selections, etc. can be established above.

Key #4: You Get What You Pay For: Beware of the Lowest Bidder

There’s a good reason we’ve mentioned low bids twice, but… when selecting between multiple contractor bids, don’t necessarily accept the lowest offer. You know the old sayings, “You get what you pay for” and “Cheap is expensive”? It’s especially critical in selecting a local contractor as the scope of work and inclusions/exclusions can be far more important than the number.  Beware low-ball quotes meant to win a job at any cost. (GSD)

Reading through the above information might seem a bit daunting as a soon to be business owner, or from the standpoint of a small business looking to expand with a new location. However, that’s what No Place Like Home Remodeling does, we make transitions like opening a new office space easy and even enjoyable!

We’ll be with you every step of the way, guiding you until that open sign lights up on your front window. Send us an email or call us today for your free estimate — after all, we’re here to help!

understanding The Dynamics Of A Build-to-Suit Lease

“A build-to-suit (or design-build) lease is essentially a landlord/developer’s agreement to construct a purpose built building, usually for a single tenant.” (Savvas Kotsopoulos)

Why Tenants Need an Office Build-Out:

One might think that when you lease an office space that you take the office space as is and are not able to alter the space in any way. This is often not the case. Many commercial tenants lease office space on the condition that certain alterations are made to the premises prior to or while they are leasing the space. These tenants often need something known as a build-out, where the office space is expanded upon and altered to suit their needs. This may be so that it can suit their specific industry needs or because it simply needs to be larger or sectioned differently.

How Much does an Office Build-Out Cost:

An office build-out will vary in cost but there are general estimates which are common with today’s commercial office space construction. For example, if you are interested in leasing office space and need a partial build-out for something such as paint and carpet, the current rate for both of these updates would be approximately x-amount of dollars per/sf. And if you require a full build-out, the price per square foot will be in the general vicinity of x-amount of dollars per/sf. Everything varies, never lumped as one set price.

Who Pays For the Office Build-Out?

Many times the landlord (in combination with the tenant) will pay for the build-out costs. This is especially the case when the lease term is for three years or more. For those instances when the landlord will allow the build-out to occur but refuses to pay for the costs, the tenant may pay for the costs on their own or ask that the rent rate be reduced for a certain amount.

These build-out costs and requests for such alterations are often done during the negotiation stages of the office space lease process.

An office build-out provides commercial office space tenants with a beneficial way to get the office space they want with the amenities and space they desire. Many landlords in the commercial arena are open to build-out negotiations and know that it is a good way to draw tenants in and have them lease their premises as opposed to going elsewhere. (Tom Koelzer)

Grand Park Professional CenteR — build-out example:

Left side , completed vision —  right side , open space

Left side, completed vision — right side, open space

“Okay, so I’m ready to take this idea of mine and will it into existence — I kind of have a handle on what to ask the landlord and for the most part, I understand this whole thing called a build-out… but, I’m still a little hesitant…”

We understand your concerns here at No Place Like Home Remodeling, and we, well, I think Nolan Bushnell said it best, “the critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

From government employee to self-made accountant, David Kembel (Kembel Tax Services) took Bushnell’s advice and started living his dream and we were with him every-step of the way. From critical planning to implementation, we saw his dream through — now, with two locations, he’s busier than ever doing what he loves to do — don’t wait, start living your dream today!

see below (start/finish process):

Feel free to contact us — we look forward to working with you and we’d love to answer any inquiries you may have about build-outs or construction related questions in general. Remember, at No Place Like Home Remodeling, we’re here to help!


How true this is Criss Jami, however, at NPLH Remodeling, we deal a bit more in the 'physical' realm, a.k.a., 'nuts and bolts.'

From conception to creation, this arduous, yet oh so blissful work of art, now has the 'full capacity' of making tax season, dare I say, bearable. From its spacious front lobby layout, accompanied by TVs (that's correct, from sports to the Nasdaq), to its expansive conference room, this family-owned business, "has left no stone unturned" when it comes to comforting their potential and current clients. 

When your number is called, rest assured in knowing that each individual office has been fabricated with sound proof insulation for utmost client confidentiality. At NPLH Remodeling, we not only take into consideration our clients' goals and aspirations, but we also consider their clients' goals and aspirations. 

For more information, or, if you're in need of a quote, contact us today at: (540) 309-1583.

We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.
— Winston Churchill