It’s an age-old question, and one that we get every now and again: is it a good idea to hire a commercial general contractor who also works for a competing brand? The easy way to answer that question is with a clear no. But is that really the best answer? This post will examine the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, giving you the most comprehensive answer possible.

The Cons of Hiring a Contractor Who Works for a Competitor

Let’s begin with the reasons not to go through with a partnership that includes a contractor who is or has also worked with one of your competitors. The reasons not to hire that contractor is simple:

Above all, many clients worry that a contractor who has also completed work for someone else in the industry will build a structure, both on the exterior and interior, that does not differentiate your business enough. Differentiation, of course, is crucial to succeed in any industry; if your customers cannot tell your build apart from that of your competitors, they will be less likely to form distinct memories about your restaurant, casino, or any other type of commercial building.

Some clients also have other hesitations in hiring a contractor with competitive experience. The best client-contractor relationships are long-term, involving not just a single project but the potential to come back together for future projects as well. What will prevent your contractor from completing work for you, only to turn around and share insights gained at your job with your competitor?

The Pros of Hiring a Contractor Who Works for a Competitor

Knowing the negatives of this potential partnership, it’s important to also consider the positive to arrive at the best possible solution. Here are some compelling reasons to hire a commercial general contractor who works for a competing brand:

Relevant Experience. Most importantly, a contractor who has done work for one of your competitor in the past will come into your project with invaluable experience. You know they’ve gained valuable lessons from their past projects, and will apply these lessons to your construction site.

For example, individual restaurants may look very different in terms of style, but they all have to include a few core components: a waiting area, dining section, kitchen, and easy access to the outside for garbage disposal. All areas have to flow well together, which requires a building plan that takes all needs into consideration. Contractors who have built restaurants before can accomplish that much more easily than those who are tackling a restaurant construction project for the first time.

Expanded Selection. In addition, choosing to work with a commercial contractor who has completed competitive work in the past also means that you will pick from a larger pool of professionals, enabling you to ultimately find the best partner for your needs.

Depending on your construction site, you will only be able to choose from a limited number of commercial general contractors to begin with. Limiting that selection even further by only engaging with professionals who have never worked with a competitor increases the risk of not finding a partner that’s best for your needs.

Of course, the above reasons may not alleviate your worry of intellectual property being transferred to your competitor. But we suggest that instead of generally excluding all contractors simply because of their work history, you should focus on specific intellectual property-related terms in your contract to prevent this problem from happening. If you find the right contracting partner, the trust level will be higher to begin with, and adding specific terms in your terms of service helps ensure your brand’s safety.

Don’t exclude contractors from your shortlist simply because they have worked for a competing brand in the past. Instead, embrace the positives, such as the specialized expertise, that come with these professionals. To learn more about the intricacy in choosing a commercial contractor that’s right for you, contact us.

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