Part 2 By Ron Pestone
Then there is the army of Construction Managers who range from excellent to just plain awful. The good ones are a blessing and the awful ones should take up another line of work, something like needlepoint. The bad ones make no effort to help the contractor and in fact put the contractor in constant jeopardy. They do things like refusing to give the monthly schedule updates so the contractor can plan his installation. Who hold out money, do not process change orders and worse of all are totally incapable of managing a job. Who let the steel and concrete guys run wild which causes all the following trades to suffer. Who make no effort to see that the project is properly coordinated and are quick to blame anybody for their short comings.
In the homeowner world you not only have to deal with the homeowner, his friends who claim to be experts in construction, his extended family and the entire neighborhood, you have to deal with the dogs who are trying to bite your legs, cats trying to scratch your eyes out and hoards of kids running around like rug rats.
What about the contractor who signs a contract to build a small extension on an existing home and when he is about half finished the home owner decides that he want to make major changes because he does not like the way the job is starting to look. After the contractor patiently explains to the home owner the changes are going to affect the electrical and plumbing work already installed as well as changing the configuration of the existing partitions and windows also already installed, the homeowner is insistent they want the changes and they want them now.
He writes up an estimate for the changes and gives it to the homeowner who gets very angry at the additional costs and as a result decides not to go ahead with the changes. Who do you think is going to take the rap for that? Or the homeowner agrees to the additions costs and the contractor moves ahead with the changes.
When the job is finished the homeowner complains to everybody who will listen including one of the on line lists that review and grade contractors that while the contractor did a decent job they had to pay a lot more than was originally agreed that it would cost.
You the contractor must deal with all of this and a hell of a lot more. You have to gamble on the weather, that your men will give you a decent day,that your suppliers will deliver when they said they would and even that your truck and equipment will start in the morning.
It takes an enormous amount of talent and hard work to build anything. Most people who are not in the building field think it is all a cake walk. You ever see a brick layer, laying brick? It looks so easy, anybody could do it. You try it, go to Home Depot and pick up a few bricks and a small bag of mortar and try it. To get a couple of brick to lie in a straight line that is level is no small task. And this is supposed to be a simple trade. Let me tell you a secret, there is no such thing as a simple trade. They all take skill, talent and dedication.
You ever been in a skyscraper when it is pouring rain? The building is as dry as a desert and that is no accident. It took the talent of many trades to achieve that. From the excavator, to the concrete guy, to the steel guy to the roofer and the guys who skinned the building and a host of other trades in the middle.
Everyone benefits from their skill, talent and hard work.
Everyone benefits on all the gambles a contractor takes every day of their business life. At best I find the sites that review and grade contractor to be self-serving and offensive. Many of the reviewers on these sites are no better than the prisoner being sentence before a judge asking for clemency because he is an orphan forgetting to mention he killed both his parents.
In contracting there are a lot more good contractors than bad ones and I know that for a fact. In my opinion contractors deserve a lot more praise then they get. Look around, almost everything you see has been built by contractors. From dog houses, to houses, to commercial building, to skyscrapers, to tunnels, to dams, to roads, it was done by a contractor or a group of contractors. It would be a sad world without us, because most of the world would be living in caves without us. Nobody should ever forget that and they should take their one sided reviewers and do what I said at the beginning of the article. Take a long walk on a shot pier with them.
At ELM Contractors Post we have a saying, “WE BUILD AMERICA”. We’ve done a pretty good job. So contractors, let us know what you think.