Hiring a GC for Your Commercial Build? Always Ask These 11 Questions

Relationships are all about trust. That rings especially true for the relationship between a project owner and a GC. Even though it may be for a limited time, the relationship that you have with your general contractor is one of the most important ones you’ll ever have. Because when you’re investing millions of dollars (or more) in a commercial build, you need someone that you trust and get along with, and that has the expertise to make your project a resounding success.

When hiring a GC, it’s important to ask lots of questions. If you’re not confident in their answers to each of these 11 questions, it’s probably time  to look elsewhere.

  1. Do you have general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance?

You can also ask for proof and how much coverage they have. Depending on the size of the project certain companies will require more than the state minimum.

  1. Will you provide written lien waivers?

During the progress of the project as well as once the job is done, you’ll receive a legal document saying that you have paid in full and that he waives the right to place a lien on the property.

  1. Do you provide design-build services? Or, do I need to hire an architect separately?

This is important in the broad scope of the project. Having all of this done by the same firm can be a money saver and easier when changes need to be made.

  1. How often will you invoice during the project?

Sometimes, you’ll pay a down payment and then pay throughout the project based on percentage complete, milestones or timeframes, whichever you agree on.

  1. Do you handle the permitting and inspections during the project? Or, is that up to us?

Your GC should handle this, or ask if they recommends a reputable plan expeditor. Either way, the GC should be involved in the process on any technical comments provided by the plan reviewers.

  1. Have you handled projects similar to mine? Do you have a list of client references?

Experience and expertise mean everything in construction. Ask about challenges and how they were overcome.

  1. Who will be on-site daily handling the project? And, who will be ultimately responsible?

The superintendent and project managers on the jobsite daily have an important job. You want to know who these individuals are and their qualifications.

  1. What are your safety processes? How do you handle safety on the jobsite?

Safety is critical in construction. Ask to see their safety policy to ensure that the GC takes it seriously.

  1. How many projects do you have going on at any given time?

This shows how well the GC does at handling multiple projects and tasks, and it can also signal how attentive and responsive the company will be.

  1. Who will the subcontractors be? Have you worked with them before?

You’ll want to establish the experience of those performing various roles for the job.

  1. How do you stay on top of building trends?

It’s so important that the GC handling your build is committed to what’s new in the industry.


If you’re not 100% sold on the answers you receive to the above questions, we recommend moving on until you find someone whose answers you feel most comfortable with. And remember, it’s not just about what you hear – go with your gut too. Trust does involve a bit of risk, but we’re big believers in instincts.

Oh, and did we mention? We’ll be glad to answer any question that you have about your build. Go ahead and get in touch today.

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