Hiring Tenant Improvement Contractors? Ask These Questions First


Hiring the right contractor to perform renovations or repairs on your property is essential for the project’s successful outcome. However, finding the one with the necessary knowledge and experience is often easier said than done. By knowing which questions to ask prospective tenant improvement contractors, you’ll be able to recruit someone who is best suited for the job. 

Where to Find Prospective Tenant Improvement Contractors

Before setting up interviews, you’ll need to locate and contact prospective contractors. Here are popular sources for finding candidates:

  • Get recommendations from other business owners, as well as friends and family members.
  • Conduct an online search for contractors available in your area. (Read reviews from previous clients who used them.) 
  • Check local social media groups and community boards for recommendations. 
  • Ask specialty retailers for references. For example, a tile retailer is likely to know an experienced tile installer.

Professional choosing from durable tile flooring options for their commercial building

Questions to Ask Prospective Tenant Improvement Contractors During the Interview

Once you’ve compiled your list of candidates for your tenant improvement project, you can begin scheduling interviews. At this time, it’s essential to ask in-depth questions about their experience and skills. Below is a list of important questions to ask your interviewees that can narrow down your selection.

1. Are you licensed and bonded? 

The contractor must meet the state, city, or county’s licensing requirements. 

2. Do you have liability and workers’ compensation insurance? 

Ask to see proof of both to ensure they are current and are sufficient for the jobs they will be performing. 

3. What is your experience with tenant improvement projects?  

Have they completed any similar projects in the past? If so, ask for references from previous clients. Also, ask how familiar they are with the building code and zoning regulations affecting tenant improvement projects. 

4. Will you be obtaining the permits and setting up inspections required for this job? 

Not every job will require permits, but they are necessary for most remodeling projects that change the structure of the property. The contractor is usually responsible for pulling the appropriate permits, and the costs are generally included in their estimates. 

5. What is your estimated schedule for completing the job? 

You may need additional information to clarify a timeline, such as if they’re working on other projects that would affect your estimated completion time. There may also be pending bids that could impact your job.

6. What is your estimated budget for the project?  

Note that the Better Business Bureau advises that you never pay the full price of contracting work up front. Likewise, a reputable contractor will never ask you to pay the entire amount before beginning the job. However, inquire what their expectations are for a payment plan. 

7. What if the project goes above your estimate? 

While most contractors can give accurate estimates ahead of time, unpredictable issues may arise that can surpass this estimate. In this case, the contractor must write a change order to explain the additional work with your authorization of the changes. 

8. How will you communicate project updates? 

A designated point of contact and their contact details are a must. This can help ensure you receive timely updates. 

9. Will your work be guaranteed or under warranty? 

This will apply to both materials and labor. You should also request a copy of their policies in writing.  

10. Do you have any subcontractors lined up for this project? 

If they do, have them provide you with their references. Inquire if there will be a dedicated team working on the job that can assure consistency and continuity throughout your project. 

11. What are your plans for protecting the property during the construction/renovation?

The contractor should take reasonable precautions such as covering large furniture items and surfaces, wearing shoe coverings, and closing and locking doors when leaving the property for breaks (if you are not present on the work site). 

12. What are your approximate start and end times each day on the job? 

This information is useful. It helps you know what to expect as far as noise levels, if you need to be present during the activity, and if any items need to be moved out of the way at key times. 

Final Thoughts on Interviewing and Hiring Tenant Improvement Contractors

When the time comes to hire your next tenant improvement contractors, asking the above questions will help you find someone qualified and capable of successfully completing the job. By partnering with our experienced team, you can rest assured that your commercial tile installation will be done right, within your timeline and budget, and with minimal change orders. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to learn more about our commercial tenant improvement services. 

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