Choosing a General Contractor for your Franchise Location

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When, where, and how should you start looking for a General Contractor for your franchise location?

Let’s assume you’ve found a site that you’re interested in, and now you’re heading into signing the lease. This is the time when you want to start looking for a general contractor. You don’t have to have a lease in hand to do this, but it doesn’t hurt to start looking.

First and Foremost: Make Sure They’re Qualified!

First, you may know some general contractors, and if that’s the case, that’s great. If you’re planning on opening a restaurant, ¬†make sure the general contractor has built restaurants. You don’t want someone who’s just built homes or just retail, because restaurants can be a little bit more complicated and you want somebody that knows what to expect when building a restaurant.

Ask the Franchisor

The franchisor is probably going to have some suggested general contractors that you to talk to. Take advantage of this information and go speak with these suggested contractors. Presumably these contractors have built the brand/concept before, and the franchisor obviously has some comfort in working with them.

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Look Local

Finally, you can always look in the geographical area where your site is going to be built. If there’s general contractors building in the area, go talk to them. Go take a look at what they’re doing. If there aren’t any, go to a local restaurant that looks like it was recently built and ask the owner who built it for them, and ask for the name, the contact information, and go speak to that general contractor.

References are Important

Some items to consider when you’re speaking to the general contractor, their references. Ask for a list of references. What have they built? Where have they built? If any of the places they’ve built are close at hand, then go take a look at their work to see the quality of the work that they’ve done. The references, I would contact every reference and ask the reference about the contractor. Did they have issues? Were they happy with the quality of the work that they found the contractor to deliver?

Construction Timelines

There’s some important measurements that you should use when you speak or interview general contractors for the work. First of all, the time frame. Once you sign a lease, you’ll have X time to build the site. You want to make sure that the general contractor can do the work within that time frame. If they can’t, then you probably don’t want to be using that general contractor.

Contractor Quotes

I would suggest you get a minimum of three quotes from three different contractors. Once you have the quotes, you can then start to compare them and contrast them against each other. Now, if you’re not comfortable looking at construction quotes, the franchisor would probably be willing to help you and advise you on what to be looking at and how to compare, and there’s other places where you can go get resource to assist you in measuring quotes.

Change Orders

Find out if the general contractors meet their quote numbers. Did they stay on budget? When they don’t, that’s called a change order. I would ask, how often or how many change orders do you typically have? A change order is what happens when something unforeseen occurs on a job, on a construction job, and that’s going to cost you more money. It has to be done. Now it may be that the contractor had no control over it and it just happens, but if it’s something that the contractor overlooked, that’s on the contractor and you need to know how often that may have happened with any specific contractor.


Local trades or their own team. The trades are the subcontractors that work for the general contractors and are typically people like the electricians, the plumbers, the carpenters, the people that actually do the work on the job. Many general contractors have their own team so ask them that, or do they go into the market and just start interviewing local trades, and ask them if that’s the process that they go through. Either one works. Just understand that in many cases, the local municipality will want to have that general contractor have some trades from the local area.

Locally Licensed

Finally, make sure that the general contractor is licensed to do work in that state. That’s very important, because otherwise they can’t do your work. I’m Paul Giggi, and thanks for watching. I hope you found this video helpful. If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section. Good day.

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