That is a good question and one that is often asked. It is one that we frequently ask ourselves and others in our industry. We are constantly looking for ways to improve productivity and efficiency without compromising quality. The answers for why the other guy is sometimes cheaper are varied and dependent on many factors. It almost always boils down to you get what you pay for, but not always.
The number one most important thing homeowners can do to protect their investment and minimize the stress in their lives is to choose the best general contractor they can find. Warren Buffet has been credited with saying that when you hire someone look for Integrity, Intelligence, and Energy. If you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. To these, we would also add good general health and emotional stability.
Here are the top three questions we think you should ask your potential builder. These are open ended questions. Ask them and listen carefully. If the answers are short, ask the contractor to expand upon his/her answers and give him plenty of time to answer.
1. Why should I trust you?
2. How do I know you know what you are doing and that you consistently provide an excellent product? Can you provide me with concrete evidence?
2. Tell me about yourself personally and how you run your business.
The next step is to verify that what you were told is true.
You can also educate yourself as a homeowner but keep in mind that while the internet is a wonderful resource there is also a lot of incorrect and misleading information on the internet. A good contractor will set aside time on a regular basis to read, attend courses, network, and to learn as much as he can from his specialty subcontractors and peers. Things change quickly in this industry these days. There is a lot to know. Building is truly a science. It is a challenge to stay on top of all of the innovation and also the myriad regulations while trying to determine what makes sense from an economics standpoint. Common sense, creativity, and hard work are huge assets in this business but those assets alone are not enough anymore. Your contractor has to be willing to admit what he doesn’t know and seek answers.