Selecting A Contractor

"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten" - Benjamin Franklin

This quote by Benjamin Franklin, inventor, patriot and a shrewd judge of people, although uttered more than 200 years ago, remains true today. Choosing a product or service solely or primarily on price is generally a losing proposition. People almost always end up paying more in the long run when price is the only or primary factor considered.

Author John Ruskin made the following observation: “There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too little.” Simply stated, cheap is not good and good is not cheap and there will always be someone who can, or claim to be able to, do something cheaper or less expensively regardless of what it is.

The home improvement and construction industry is plagued with deals that have been commenced by customers who have focused solely on price. A customer will inevitably ask a contractor for “the lowest price” on a project or shop the job until he finds it, regardless of the contractor’s licensing status, experience, references and integrity. Unfortunately, if the contractor is dishonest, the lowest price won’t include every item in the scope of work that is capable of being accounted for or it won’t include the add-ons, both of which will drive the final price up to fully complete the job. The final cost will wind up being much more than the original bid and the customer will ultimately wind up paying a lot more than was originally quoted or contracted. If the contractor is inexperienced, the lowest price will be the result of a sloppy or underdeveloped bidding procedure. The final cost will wind up being much more than the original bid and the customer will ultimately wind up paying a lot more than was originally quoted or contracted. These scenarios not only hurt the customer, they hurt the industry as well.

Customers who have preconceived ideas about what they want based upon price may not clearly understand the total cost or the best solutions available to them. To truly get the “best deal,” both customer and contractor must move beyond focusing solely on price and into the realm of customer value, factoring in price, quality, service and reputation. Doing this requires the contractor to demonstrate his value to the customer during the bidding process and ultimately, by providing goods and services at the “lowest true cost” which is real long-term value. If a customer is getting the "run around" during the bidding stage, or the contractor is not doing what he said by the time he said it would be done with regard to his proposal, then that is most likely how the remainder of the job will go and it will be problematic to say the least.

It is always in the customer’s best interest to contract with someone who has knowledge and understanding of the products and the market, someone who offers the best long-term value, is licensed and insured and has impeccable references. Most importantly, the customer should contract with someone who takes great pride in the details and quality of the work he performs as this person truly has the customer’s best interests at heart and is actually providing the utmost in value.

A few aspects to consider when hiring a contractor:
• Proper licensing and insurance coverage with the contractor’s / company name on both
• Ability to understand, visualize and conceptualize the customer’s ideas and desires
• Engineering and building construction knowledge
• Good with numbers
• Good organizational skills
• Ability to realistically estimate productivity, project time line and approximate completion date
• Impeccable references or referral from someone you know and trust
• Long term relationships between contractor and sub contractors
• Experience in the type of work for which he is being considered
• Timely presentation of organized and clearly written contract, proposal or bid
• Contract clearly written with scope of work presented in a logical manner
• Contract clearly specifies payment schedule, general conditions and special conditions
• Contract includes items such as: masking floors, installing dust barriers, debris removal and clean up where applicable





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2009 began with an exciting adventure for Cannatelli Builders, Inc. We had the opportunity to assist in the remodeling of Celebration Cruise Lines new cruise ship, The Bahamas Celebration. Celebration's MS Bahamas Celebration is a beautiful and intimate ship offering two and three-night cruises from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau, Bahamas. The cruise ship includes four dining room options, an upscale casino, a 630-seat nightclub, a full spa, an age appropriate kids' clubs, an adult pool, a spray park with 180-foot slide and fun Nassau excursions. Visit their website. click here or click here