It is a common question you receive in any company, no matter what your position. When someone is evaluating your company and your service, they want to know why they should choose you over a competitor.
We have spent the last thirty-seven years showing people why they should choose Fortney & Weygandt, Inc. and then proving to them that they made the right decision by successfully delivering a great project and experience. However, the evaluation process has evolved and involves more people than ever before to choose a general contractor. Therefore, we advise assessing these attributes when beginning the construction process.
When you are first engaging a general contractor you will want to get a broad overview of who they are that goes beyond the marketing material they have provided or what is available on their website. The best way to achieve this is to request an AIA 305 statement from them. The AIA 305 is a contractor-provided notarized statement that verifies the background and financial stability of the contractor. Depending on your project scope, it is also important to obtain a recent financial statement and proof of their ability to be bonded. This information will provide you with a good overview of their services and allow you to gauge if you want to proceed with the contractor evaluation.
As part of your continued evaluation, be sure to check the contractor’s references. Share with the reference some details about your potential project as you begin the conversation. That way they can offer an informed opinion on how they think the contractor will do on your project based on their experience. Be sure to follow up with the contractor after the reference check if there are discrepancies you want to clarify.
Beyond references, get to know the people you will be working with at the company. If possible, connect with them on the phone. Engage with them in the normal way you like to communicate to see how they interact and if it meets your standards in terms of timeliness and content. Establishing a system of communication early on, which all parties can agree too, will be essential for creating a positive construction experience. You will be spending a lot of time with them over the course of the project – be sure they are people you want to work with.
Ask your prospective general contractor how they will approach the project. Be sure to get details about how they will schedule and staff the project. Find out what their experience has been with projects similar to yours. Is your project something they do often? Or does your project contain similar elements of typical projects they perform? Oftentimes, a general contractor has diverse experience that relates to multiple types of buildings.
When evaluating the types of projects they do, also evaluate their current workload. Can they accommodate your project to your standards? General contractors often have multiple projects going on simultaneously and divide their time accordingly. Discuss how the project management staff and superintendent will address your project throughout the duration so it is successfully completed.
Engaging your prospective general contractor in this dialogue should enable you to better understand your contractor and the construction process.