Purchased a New Franchise? Now You Need to Build It!

Congratulations on purchasing your new franchise! Starting any new business is an exciting opportunity, and to paraphrase the classic Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come.” Now you just need to build it!

Building a franchise though is no small feat. Even if you have a clear idea of what the end product should look like, there is a significant amount of work that goes on behind the scenes in order to get your new premises up and ready for customers. Nothing happens overnight, and it takes a talented team to get the job done right. 

So how do you choose the right general contractor to help get your new franchise ready to open its doors?

Ask the franchisor for any recommendations. Your franchisor may have a list of preferred contractors available who are familiar with the company standards and are experienced in doing the work. It is important to note though that these contractors are busy, and the best teams will book out months in advance, so keep that in mind when planning your schedule and do not hesitate to start the search early.

If the franchisor does not have a preferred list, consider asking around to local businesses and other professionals who you trust. They know your region well, and they may have recommendations for and even connections to some of the better contractors in your area. A trusted referral is better than someone out of the phone book any time, and general contractors are no exception!

Get multiple quotes if you feel more comfortable. On your search, you’ll likely encounter a number of contractors who may be able to help, and it’s okay to get a second opinion. Get quotes from multiple vendors, review their references, and ask around about the reputation that comes with that price tag.

Remember that the least expensive quote is not necessarily the best. Just like in your business, contractors bring value to the table for their price tag. If one company is significantly cheaper than all others, it may be enough of a red flag for you to be cautious. Likewise, if another company is well over budget, you can always ask why they’re charging those rates. 

Check everyone’s certifications. Just as important as a contractor’s reputation is their professional licensing and insurance. Is everyone on their team licensed and insured properly, and do they have the paperwork to prove it that they can show you without a moment’s hesitation? 

Even if you hear that someone’s great, hiring unlicensed trades can be a recipe for disaster. Find contractors with proper certifications that can readily send you a Form1000, proof of WSIB coverage, proof of general liability insurance, and a copy of their own health and safety policy. Don’t take chances working with anyone that’s not properly protected.

See if their timelines work for you. Along with a quote, a general contractor should provide you with at least an estimated timeline for doing the work. Remember, you did not make an overnight decision to purchase the business, and the construction should not be done overnight either. The right contractor will be worth the wait. Ask questions about a contractor’s proposed timelines, and ask other franchise owners how long the work might be expected to take. 

Feel free to ask probing questions about the proposed timelines. Contractors should be able to provide a schedule of when work should be completed, and what milestone dates can be expected. They also build in contingencies to account for unavailable materials, or needing to change contractors. Clients can ask questions about these timelines, and compare them with other quotes and schedules from competitors.

Ask questions along the way. Just like asking questions about the timelines, feel free to ask questions about the team themselves. Ask to speak with past clients directly, instead of just reading one-sentence testimonials on a website. Ask about their experience handling similar projects and some of the issues that they’ve encountered in the past.

It may also be wise to ask about subcontractors – whether the team uses them regularly and whether you will need to be involved in the process. 

A great general contractor is meant to make opening your doors easier, not harder. They should come with an established reputation and clear examples of past work. They should also be able to provide a solid timeline for project completion, and can articulate whatever involvement they might need from you to make the job go smoothly.

You did not buy your franchise without doing your own due diligence, and you should not hire a general contractor without that same level of investigation. Finding the right general contractor is a key component to running a successful franchise – they won’t take the easy way out, and you shouldn’t either.

Looking for an experienced general contractor in the Greater Toronto Area? We would be glad to set up a time to chat and to walk you through how we work. Contact us today for more information.