If you plan to re-fit business premises, firstly write down the work to be done. Doing this should help when it comes to explaining to contractors what it is that you need, and to get comparable quotes from them. To help you prepare to discuss quotes with contractors, here are 10 top tips for you to think about:
(1) Be clear about what is included or excluded in the price, for example:
- the work to be done in specific areas, such as plumbing, joinery, electrical;
- supply of operating instructions for new equipment;
- supply of guarantees, both for their work and equipment;
- testing and commissioning of equipment;
- supply of pipe work, cables and other building materials required to complete the works are included;
- rubbish disposal; and
- the size, colour, type, location, manufacture etc of any equipment, fixtures and fittings if these specific things are important to you and you want to constrain your contractor to supply specific items.
(2) Ask the contractor to price labour and materials separately.
(3) Ask them to confirm certifications. For example, all electrical works to be given the appropriate industry standard certification (check out what the prevailing electricity industry requirements are). Ask your contractor to supply you with confirmation that their work meets building regulations.
(4) For expensive works, say over £20,000 expect your contractor to provide a simple written project plan (in addition to any verbal agreements). The bigger your project, the more thorough and detailed you should expect a project plan to be.
(5) Even if he won’t supply a written project plan, your contractor should commit in writing to a start and finish date.
(6) Agree a fixed price.
(7) Don’t Pay up front. If your contractor needs to buy materials, you can expect to pay a deposit. Avoid paying more than 10% before work starts.
(8) Agree retention, for example, 5% for 30 days after work is complete. Agree what ‘works complete’ means and include this in your contract.
(9) Agree ‘milestone’ payments that trigger on completion of agreed events (materials delivered, work done).
(10) DO put your payment schedule in writing so there is no room for subsequent debate.
Managing cash flow in the interests of your business is vital. So, above all, do ensure you and your contractor implement point (9), and pay only for what has been done or delivered.