MORE THAN JUST CONSTRUCTION - What to look for when LOOKING for a Contractor?
Last month we discussed the Design-Build process in a nutshell and how single-sourcing is not only more efficient, but cost-effective too, and when you choose a great contractor, so much easier on your stress levels! This month’s blog post we are going to explore this topic in depth, as many consumers’ fear of finding the right contractor, stops their potential projects right in their tracks before they even begin. So many questions! To help, we’ve reached out to Jared Hellums, Senior Estimator at MBA Energy and Industrial, LLC , for tips and advice on what to look for when looking for your contractor.
HOW CAN I BETTER PREPARE FOR MY CONSULTATION / BID APPOINTMENT?
The most important start for any consumer is an understanding of what you are trying to accomplish, or the complete scope of work. This process doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should be written down, organized and easy to communicate to your potential contractor. Once you have a scope defined, it is important to evaluate from each potential contractor exactly what they are proposing to do (expect from them the same type of scope of project). As a consumer, it is too easy to just focus on the price of the project and lose site of the best value. Take time to look at the big project from start to finish, know what your expectations are, and look for the best value versus lowest price.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR SOMEONE LOOKING FOR A CONTRACTOR?
The cliché of “You Get What You Pay For” rings true. In many circumstances, just because it is your intention to get something, even if you ask for it, you may not be covered by every proposal and contractor bid. Look at the fine print and again, look for the best value versus the lowest price. For various reasons, contractors exclude certain portions of work from their proposals and scope. From the contractor’s perspective, Scope Creep, which is doing more than you are signed up to do, and Change Orders, are easily the two largest reasons for a project to lose money. From the customer’s perspective, it is the opposite. It becomes very frustrating to learn after an agreement was made that you did not get the entire scope of work that you intended in your pricing. Change orders from both perspectives seem to always look unfair, especially when you are dealing with unclear scopes of work or unclear proposals. The solution: Be clear on your expectations from the beginning by defining your complete scope of work, budget and expectations for your potential contractor.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT A CONSUMER SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR SPECIFICALLY IN A CONTRACTOR?
There are always signs in contactors that things aren’t what they should be. Any time you are considering hiring a contractor, you should be as educated in the process as possible. This is easily accomplished by talking to professionals with long-standing records of performance. In this industry, it is hard to replace boots on the ground experience. Varying contractors may approach the same project in different manners. However, the project is never completed by happenstance. A well-laid plan in the beginning will overcome problems that are inevitably encountered on a project. Always have a good understanding of how a contractor intends to accomplish what they are proposing. Also look at the contractor’s customer reviews, years in the business, safety record (all found on their website, social media presence, etc.). If this information looks questionable, inaccurate, out-of-date, or non-existent, buyer beware.
Construction is a huge investment. Make your investment safe, profitable and timely. With a little research and know-how, the process of choosing the right contractor shouldn’t leave you losing sleep at night.