At some point in business – whether you’re a construction company or just a regular firm – you’ll need to partner up with somebody else. It doesn’t matter how much you insist you offer a “comprehensive” service in your marketing materials, eventually you’ll find that you can’t do it all alone.
Assistance can come in many different shapes and sizes. Some companies don’t have the tools required to dredge a canal. Others don’t have cranes large enough to hoist building elements. Whatever it is, the time will eventually come when you need to source help from third parties.
Many construction companies don’t realise that this is a major strategic task, especially if they usually do things in-house. Outsourcing an element of your operations to another professional company is a big deal, mainly because you don’t have the same level of managerial control. You effectively “give up” your sovereignty over a project and place your trust in somebody else. It can be a little scary.
The question, therefore, is how to choose the right construction partners. You don’t just want to outsource the things that you can’t do yourself. You also want to be smart about it, as the article on https://www.intellectsoft.net/blog/what-is-smartsourcing/ points out. There’s a big difference.
So what can you do to tell if you’ve found a good construction partner? Here are some of the signs.
They Encourage You To Talk To Their Previous Clients
Your first task is to do a little homework and find out as much as you can about your prospective partner from their previous customers. Past clients will give you a frank, objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the firm. And they’ll help you avoid making bad decisions that could negatively affect your bottom line.
Most construction companies (however small) offer reviews and examples of firms they’ve assisted in their portfolios. Make contact with these previous customers and have a frank discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of your prospective partner’s services. Try, if possible, to get input from several clients as this will give you a better overall picture of the firm.
They Have Ample Experience
It should go without saying, but you also want to choose firms with long experience in their chosen specialist area.
Construction companies tend to go through cycles. Every ten years or so, there is a changing of the guard. New people come in, and they often bring new ideas with them. And when that happens, their processes change. Sometimes, they can take a step backwards.
Look for the specific experience of people on the team. Ideally, you want an old-hand ready to step in and offer their advice to younger members, according to https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/advice/find-a-builder. There should be somebody who knows what they’re doing, plus a host of others, helping them do it.
They Don’t Try To Undercut The Competition
Low bids are attractive because they give you the impression you’re getting more for less. In economics, though, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Suppose somebody is offering their services at a much lower price. In that case, it usually means that you’re going to have to cut corners somehow.
Skimping on quality, though, is a bad idea in the construction industry. Going back and fixing things is notoriously expensive.
What you want most is a job well done the first time around. And often, you’re better off paying a premium for that.
Also, be sure that the lowest bid really is what you think it is. Some construction companies, for instance, won’t include VAT in their quotes. So, for that reason, you could wind up paying 20 per cent more, without finding out until it comes to the final reckoning.
You should also pay attention to the type of bids that construction companies submit for work. As somebody who is already experienced in the industry, you know that projects rarely go according to plan. There are always problems and mishaps, and these serve to extend the deadline. You should view any concrete quotes with skepticism. Very few construction companies are willing to commit to prices until they understand all the details about a project.
The best partners offer flexible payment plans that vary throughout the project, according to the latest information. No construction company ever quite knows how things are going to go in advance.
They Don’t Let You Down
In the construction industry, companies often look out for so-called “red flags” in potential partners – just as people do on the dating scene. There are surprisingly many of these, so there’s no need to list them all here. Essentially, they are anything that gives you a reason for concern. Basics include things like failing to answer the phone when you call or not responding to your emails. Other issues include shoddy paperwork or a lack of publicly-available reviews.
Remember, many construction partners are low-quality outfits that can’t provide you with the value you seek, even if you want them for a minor task. If you’re not happy in your budding relationship with them, the chances that you will be satisfied later on are even more remote.
They Have A Solid Financial Position
Companies in the construction sector live and die by their cash flow. When money is coming in, they can afford to pay for wages and materials. When it isn’t, they have to go into survival mode, trying to make it through to the next payday.
Ideally, you want to work with companies that have sufficient cash flow to see them through tough times and continue delivering services to you regardless. What you don’t want is a partner that goes out of business after a few months, leaving you in the lurch. Please note that this can and does happen. Firms can spend years investing in their partners only for them to go out of business on the eve of a critical project.
In summary, therefore, finding a quality construction partner is mainly a matter of common sense. There are plenty of signs you can look out for that suggest that they are worthy partners. You just need to look for them.