Choosing a contractor for your commercial flooring project can feel daunting. How do you separate the good contractors from the bad? How do you find the best? A commercial flooring contractor should be able to answer all your questions and communicate clearly. You need to know a contractor has extensive expertise and can anticipate and solve problems ahead of time.
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The first step is to look at what a contractor has done before. A good commercial flooring contractor should be proud to show off his/her work. The work should be posted on his/her website and social media accounts. This gives you an introduction to the level of creativity and problem solving a contractor has. It also gives you an idea of the scale of projects he/she is experienced at completing.
Track record goes beyond this. Ask the contractor for references. He/She should have clients who are happy to communicate their experience with the contractor. This may be presented in the form of testimonials. That’s fine. After all, previous clients probably don’t want hundreds of phone calls from new ones.
Do your own homework, too. Look at the contractor’s online reviews. Start with Yelp and Google to get started. A commercial flooring contractor should have enough happy customers that finding his/her online reviews is easy.
Insurance & Certification
Before you go further, ensure that the contractor is insured and certified. If they are not, this is an absolute deal-breaker. A flooring company that isn’t certified will void your warranty. It’s also not difficult for a contractor to manage these very basic requirements. Not having the proper insurance and certification is an immense red flag that should not be ignored.
Get copies of all insurance policies and certifications. You’ll want to make sure that the contractor can take liability if he/she causes any damage.
Check with Manufacturers
One hidden step that can be helpful is to check with manufacturers. If you have an idea of what kind of flooring you want, check with the manufacturer as to whether they’re familiar with the contractor. Manufacturers keep lists of suppliers to recommend. This isn’t a necessary step, but if you have any doubts, it can help secure your peace of mind.
Types of Flooring
You’ll want to make sure the contractor offers a full range within the type of flooring you want. Some contractors are more limited than others or have limited experience with installing certain types of flooring. Ensuring a contractor has a range of options helps you know that he/she is comfortable with a broad range of installations and can supply the flooring you want.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) helps disabled people access your business with ease. It’s a legal requirement and one that’s not difficult to meet. Make sure your commercial flooring contractor knows what this requirement entails and how to meet its specifications. If you don’t see this element in his/her portfolio, ask to see some track record of installing ADA-compliant flooring so you know the contractor is familiar with the practice.
Health & Safety
When choosing a contractor for your commercial flooring project, his/her health and safety practices may not be at the top of your mind. Just remember that the contractor will be doing his/her work in your place of business. You don’t want any kind of injury happening there, even though the contractor is liable for it. Ask the contractor what his/her health and safety procedures are. Many contractors will have these procedures posted online, and all contractors should be able to supply this documentation prior to forming an agreement. Look over the procedures to ensure they meet your own standards.
It’s also important for many businesses to make environmentally aware decisions. Contractors will typically have formal statements regarding their own environmental policies. Perhaps they recycle materials, dispose of them in smart ways, work with sustainable growers, or use reclaimed wood.
Talk to potential contractors about environmentally responsible flooring choices as well. Some will have more experience with these flooring options than others. Obviously, the importance of this varies by business. Customers care these days, and it never hurts to make sure your contractor does, too.
Make sure the contractor has experience with subfloor installation, inspection, and repair. You may not know what condition your subfloor is in, and a damaged subfloor can raise a host of issues. A contractor with subflooring experience can check for damage and repair it quickly, as well as have the capability to add potential upgrades such as soundproofing.
Understand how the contractor prefers to do the job, and whether it matches how you need the job done. Some facilities can have an entire room’s flooring removed before it gets replaced, while other facilities need whatever was removed replaced by the end of each day. These create different workflows. Even minor specifications can create shifts in schedules, so make sure the job can be done the way you want it on the schedule you prefer.
A contractor should include a one-year warranty on materials and labor at the very least. Many contractors will offer longer warranties, but make sure that at least a one-year minimum is provided. This can also help you understand exactly where the manufacturer’s warranty ends and the installer’s warranty begins.
Some floors require very specific maintenance. Ask about the maintenance requirements before any flooring is installed. If you opt for a high-maintenance floor covering, ask if the contractor will provide specialty maintenance services and/or necessary repairs after installation. You’ll want to know about all the costs involved, and if your flooring selection requires anything special.
In conclusion, ask questions. A good commercial flooring contractor should feel comfortable answering. He/She will be passionate about the subject matter and enjoy sharing his/her knowledge with you. Asking that question on the tip of your tongue can help you decide between choosing a good flooring contractor and the perfect one.
About the Author
Family-owned and -operated since 1985, East Coast Flooring & Interiors is a South Florida commercial flooring contractor specializing in the installation of commercial flooring and surfaces. For more information or to request a free estimate, visit eastcoastfl.com or call 954-321-5721.