Tips and tricks from the pro's
How to Choose the Best Contractor for Your St. Pete Restaurant
In general, renovations for a restaurant can cost around $257,000. Construction for a new restaurant can cost around $650,000.
This is why it's so important to choose the best contractor, but where do you start?
Keep reading to learn about how you can find the right contractor in St. Pete who can help you stay on budget for your restaurant.
Ask for Recommendations
The best place to start when looking to hire contractors in St. Pete for your restaurant is by asking for local recommendations. If you have other business connections in the city, ask them who helped them build and design their place.
If your personal connections don't have any recommendations, you can also ask for recommendations and referrals by posting a request on social media pages that are dedicated to business owners. You can also poll your referral partners.
If they don't have any, check with your family or friends as well. If you know someone who has a contractor they trust, then you're already a few steps ahead.
Analyze Communication Style
When you do start interviewing some restaurant builders in St. Pete, you want to analyze how well they communicate. You'll be working with them frequently, and it's important to be able to communicate with them.
Any commercial construction project can end up in a disaster from just one misunderstanding. It could throw off the budget and the timeline, so you need to have someone who you can communicate with.
You also want to make sure what their preferred communication style is. If you would prefer to call the contractor every day, but they like sending emails, then it may not be a good partnership.
Figure Out What the Project Is
It can also help if you narrow down the scope of the project so that you can narrow down what type of contractor you're looking for:
- Stand-alone building
- A complete redesign
- Add-ons to an existing construction
Ideally, you want just one contractor who can handle all of the work. So if you know that you're going to need some specialty work, then you should make a note of that and maybe try to find a contractor who has good connections.
To help you determine what type of contractor you need, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you need a specialist for renovations?
- Do you have a design that you want to be implemented? Or do you need an architect as well?
- Is the site already ready to build, or does a lot of the prep work need to be done?
- Do you have all of the zoning issues resolved?
When you figure out what type of specialties and scope you need for your project, you can start looking for the right contractor and narrow down your list.
Check Their Licensing
Another important factor to consider is the licensing of the contractors. Even if you found someone who was recommended to you, make sure that you check their website and do your research.
You'll want to first check that they have an online presence. Finding their website can give you important information, like the quality of the services, their pricing, and how their business works. You'll also want to read other reviews on third-party sites to make sure that their service is legit.
You'll also want to check for licenses and certifications. Each state has its own requirements for licensing. In Florida, they'll need a general contracting license to operate their business.
To receive that, they'll need to have a good credit score, scan their electronic fingerprint, show proof of workers' and liability compensation insurance, pass a Florida State Construction examination, pay licensing and application fees, and also fill out an application.
Having these licenses will ensure that you're getting the highest quality of work and that it's all legal and regulated. If you don't see a license on their website, make sure you contact them and ask them to provide one.
Talk About Your Project
You'll also want to talk about your project and narrow down your search. Finding out the scope of the project will help with that. Once you've narrowed it down, you can also incorporate your budget and actual needs to narrow down that list.
Ideally, you want to narrow it down to at least three contractors. This way, you can interview them and see who would be a better fit. You can also shop around so that you can find the best fit for your budget.
Ask About Their Industry Professional Relationships
A good contractor will have a network of professionals who they want to work with if they need specialty work. Having this network is also a good sign that they're a good contractor to work with.
You'll also need someone who has those connections so that you won't have to delay your project in finding someone. For example, if you're putting in a wine cooler at your restaurant, then you'll need someone who can handle the AC portion. A general contractor should have the network connections to call someone to handle that part.
The contractor's relationships can also make it easy to hire other contractors because the contractor will vouch for you. In a way, if you hire one good contractor, you're really hiring a whole network of professionals who can help you with your business.
Talk About Your Budget
Remodeling a restaurant is going to be expensive. Any small change in the plan can lengthen your timeline, which will increase your costs as well. Because of this, talk about your budget with a contractor before you hire them.
You should make sure that the contractor you hire can stick to a schedule so that you won't have to go over your budget. The best way to find a contractor that will stick to a schedule is to find someone who has a good network of professionals who they can rely on if they don't have time for something.
You'll also want someone who has connections with manufacturers so that they can get materials quickly. Delays in getting materials can make it challenging to finish a project on time, especially when there are nationwide shortages.
Ask the Right Questions
When you have narrowed down your list to the top potential contractors, you want to interview them and make sure that you ask the right questions. this will give you a chance to get quotes and ask for the details about the contract before you sign it.
Make sure that they can give you the end result of the project that you're looking for on the right timeline.
You'll also want to ask questions like how involved you will be in the planning process. What will happen if there are price increases during the project? Do they have a good network of professionals in the industry who can help with this project?
Openness to Your Ideas
If you have no experience with remodeling a restaurant, you might be worried about asking a contractor to bring your dream to life. However, you still are a business owner and likely have a vision for what you want your St. Pete restaurant to look like.
Some of your ideas might be feasible, but you should gauge how open to your ideas the contractor is. If they shut down every idea that you have, you may want to look somewhere else. They should be open to your ideas and at the very least, offer alternatives if something can't be done.
Keep in mind that the contractor will also have to plan for things like maximum occupancy codes and functionality. This is why it's so important to find a contractor who you can collaborate with.
Their foresight in the design comes from years of experience, and this is the type of contractor that you'll want to consider.
The best way to determine if they're a good contractor is to tour some of the other local restaurants that they designed. Seeing a picture can be great, but sometimes it helps to see it in person.
They should be able to provide you with some locations that they worked on, so take some time to go visit them in person. This is a great way to figure out if they can bring your vision for your restaurant to life.
You may even be able to ask the restaurant owners for a tour of the newly renovated building, and you could ask them questions about the contractor while you're touring.
Discover More About How to Choose the Best Contractor in St. Pete
These are only a few ways to find the best contractor in St. Pete for your restaurant business, but this can also be a lot of work.
We know that running a business can be stressful, so we're here to make this process easy for you.
Check out our website today to find the right contractor for your job!
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