When your builder provides you with a quote is it detailed? Does it state up front who the subcontractors will be? Did you have a chance to meet them and discuss your options with them before signing the contract? Does your builder provide a signed lean release from each subcontractor with his invoice? Why are these things important?
Your relationship with some of these subcontractors, especially the ones who install your plumbing, heating/cooling, and electrical components will likely be long term. It is preferable to start with people you trust to do the job correctly, who will take the time to educate you about your systems, and who will respond quickly in an emergency.
Your builder and his subcontractors can provide invaluable advice during the design phase. Choose a builder you trust and invite his team to work with your architect right from inception. Ask your builder who the subcontractors will be and ask to meet them before you sign the contract.
Low bidders may not get detailed written quotes from reliable subcontractors in advance. When the contract is signed, they scramble to find the cheapest people they can to get the job done. Sometimes subcontractors bid too low out of desperation. Will they put off your job for more profitable jobs whenever they get the opportunity? Will they let their worker’s comp & liability insurance lapse? Will they take short cuts? Beware!
The contract is crucial. The only way you will truly know if you will be getting what you want is to have it in writing. Your builder’s contracts with his subcontractors should be just as detailed and should match what he has promised to you.
Lien releases are also important. Many contractors in this market are bidding low, too low. They have oral agreements with their subcontractors or very sketchy written contracts. When they eventually find themselves backed against the wall, they play all kinds of unethical games with their subcontractors. They may not even pay their subcontractors. When this happens, you lose out. The subcontractors may walk out on the job or do shoddy work just to get out of there as quickly and as cheaply as possible. They may even come after you for payment.
Contractors who take the time to educate you, who put everything they promise into writing, who seem to be looking out for your best interest, and who have a good reputation will never be the low bid but they will give you peace of mind.
What You Want, On Budget, and On Schedule.
Daggett Builders, Inc www.daggettbuilders.com Tel. 207 354 6177
Owners: Christopher Robinson & Crystal Daggett Robinson