Friday, March 25, 2005

Working with General Contractors

So we are moving along on the new industrial building. Although this is a steel building, it has taken 9 months to get to the point of moving in. Granted, that 9 months include 6 months of trying to get the site plan done. This project hasn't been completely terrible, but it should not have taken so long to get to this point. Here are my lessons learned:

  1. When hiring a general contractor, be sure to put penalty/rewards based upon an agreed upon schedule.
  2. Don't let a subcontractor set the pace for the entire project. In our case, it was the surveyor/engineer that held the project up for so long. When it was apparent that they were not making the changes in a timely manner, my general contract should have fired him and found someone else.
  3. Be sure your general contractor has a specific timeline for when things will happen. This includes ordering and delivery of parts, timing for subs to start and finish, timing for payments, etc.
  4. Don't let the general contractor set the slower pace. Push push push!
  5. Don't be afraid to make changes as the job progresses. However, at the same time, be a tough negotiator on the change order price. This is where most contractors make their profit. They screw you on the changes.
  6. Ask questions and learn how things are going together. If something looks messed up, tell them to fix it.
  7. Finally, visit the jobsite every other day at least. Call your general contractor daily in the morning and ask what the plan is for the day to be sure they keep you at the top of the list.

I know this sounds like a "how-to" article, but I figure if I don't give some real content, no one will ever read the blog.

By the way, we have just gotten all our brochures in from the printer ( They did a great job. I would highly recommend them. Just be sure to talk to them about how the colors will be when printed. That is the hardest part in printing.

On another update, the new Hayes Investments commercial project is moving along fine. We are still in the negotiation stage. I expect to have signed contracts early next week. I will tell you all about the project then.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Interesting...I like the idea of a penalty/reward system.

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tin-tin said...

Thank you so much for your post. It helped me a lot.

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Nice blog! I'm exactly planning to remodel my house next week and this post will help me a lot to find the right contractor for me. And it will also help me a lot to work well with the contractor. Thanks for sharing!

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