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Commercial Contractor vs. General Contractor: Who’s Right for Your Project?

By August 23, 2022 No Comments

Every construction project has its own set of challenges. To successfully overcome those challenges, you need to be working with the right type of contractor for the building you’re constructing.

A commercial contractor will have different expertise than a general contractor. Understanding their differences before starting your project can save you time and money.

This guide will explain the differences between general and commercial contractors. It will also help you identify which type of contractor is right for your project. Finally, it will give tips on choosing a commercial contractor to keep your project running on time and within budget.

General Contractor vs. Commercial Contractor: What’s the difference?

While both commercial contractors and general contractors manage construction projects, they operate in two different environments. General contractors work primarily on residential buildings, like houses, and commercial contractors work on commercial buildings, like warehouses, supermarkets, and business parks. Residential construction and commercial construction operate at different scales and under different regulations that further separate the working experiences of general contractors and commercial contractors.

Commercial buildings tend to be larger than residential buildings. They also must meet different codes and often require other materials than residential buildings. Using different materials sometimes means using different suppliers, which can affect a project’s budget and timeline.

General Contractors

  • Manages construction projects
  • Builds houses and residences
  • Must follow all residential building codes and regulations

Commercial Contractors

  • Manages construction projects
  • Builds businesses and commercial spaces
  • Must follow all commercial building codes and regulations

These differences demonstrate why working with the right type of contractor is so critical. Neither kind of contractor would likely succeed outside of their area of expertise. They won’t have the experience or network of contacts needed to successfully navigate all the problems that arise during a construction project.

When General Contractors are the Best Choice for You

General contractors are an excellent choice for landowners looking to build a home on their land. They’re also great for homeowners looking to remodel or renovate. People who want to add a new wing to their mansion or build a guest house on their estate should also use a general contractor.

Good general contractors should be familiar with all the federal, state, and city zoning laws and building codes at the project’s location. They will have reliable supplies of residential building materials and a deep bench of subcontractors they trust partnering with.

Consult with a contractor early in the planning phase of your project. They may know of developments in supply chains that could save you time by choosing a slightly different material. Or they may know about government incentives for using energy-efficient materials that could save you money.

When Commercial Contractors May Be the Right Choice

Choose commercial building or commercial remodeling contractors when your project involves a commercial building. Those could include anything from giving a storefront a facelift when a new business moves into the building to constructing a major distribution center that customers will never see.

Commercial construction requires many considerations that residential construction doesn’t. Commercial contractors need to ensure commercial buildings will accommodate the purposes of the businesses they house. That means considering workflow patterns for materials, customers, or both.

Commercial contractors also often work on buildings that house franchise locations. That means the commercial contractor will need to ensure all the colors and dimensions match all the branding requirements of the chain.

Commercial contractors’ building designs often require special power, ventilation, or structural reinforcement to accommodate operations. That can mean anything from running power to a point-of-sale station to especially poured, reinforced concrete in certain parts of the floor.

Good commercial contractors, like Cook Builders, can help you plan and design your project as efficiently as possible. They may know how to get bulk deals on materials that could save money or time. They’ll likely have experience working through whatever challenges your project throws their way and know the most efficient ways to overcome them. The commercial contractors will have relationships with local subcontractors that you can trust and handle all the arrangements for each of their parts of the project.

If any of the situations in this section apply to your project, get the help of a commercial contractor now. Start taking advantage of the expertise of a commercial contractor on your project as soon as possible.

Request a bid from Cook Builders on your project

Tips for Success When Selecting a Commercial Contractor

Commercial construction projects put a lot of money on the line. Be sure you work with a commercial contractor you can trust. The following tips will help you find the right commercial contractor for your project.

Compare bids from multiple commercial contractors.

Don’t simply compare the prices. Look at everything laid out in the bid. Often lower bids leave out things that higher bids include just to entice your business. Then, they tack those costs back on as a surprise later on.

Speak with the potential commercial contractors face-to-face about your project.

Get a feel for how comfortable you feel working with this person. Why work with someone who isn’t friendly and professional?

Speak to some of the commercial contractors’ previous clients.

You’ll get a great idea of what to expect on your project from people who have hired the contractor to work on other projects. They can tell you if there were any hidden costs or hiccups along the way through the project.

Research the commercial contractors’ safety record.

Work with a commercial contractor who values safety. Unexpected workplace mishaps can lead to costly delays and human tragedy.

Ensure the potential commercial contractor has the proper licensing and insurance.

Hire a licensed and insured commercial contractor. Working with an unlicensed or uninsured commercial contractor can leave you vulnerable to liability lawsuits if problems in the building develop. Don’t take that risk.

Start with a Bid from Cook Builders

Cook Builders has everything you’re looking for in a commercial contractor. Our contractors have experience designing and constructing facilities across an array of businesses. Our track record of success can tell you that when you work with Cook Builders, you will love your building. Get your project cooking. Request a bid from Cook Builders today!