Monday, November 28, 2011

Being the General Contractor - Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 of this 2 part series, we discussed a few reasons why a client should let the general contractor handle issues related to materials and suppliers. In Part 2, we'll take a look at reasons the client should avoid bringing in their own subcontractor to perform a portion of the work.



A good general contractor will have a team of qualified individuals that he or she trusts to get the job done properly and without delay. When a client expresses his or her desire to bring someone in for a particular part of the project, it can make the general contractor uneasy, and with good reason. After all, the general contractor's name and reputation are on the line. He or she is expected to get the project completed within budget and in a timely manner. Hey.... what could possibly go wrong? Plenty.

The general contractor / subcontractor relationship is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. A general contractor without a reliable, qualified subcontractor, will most certainly experience problems - costly delays, poor quality, and overall client dissatisfaction to name a few.

Suppose a general contractor doing a kitchen remodel has agreed to bring in the client's subcontractor to handle the countertops. The general contractor has never done business with this particular subcontractor - it's a friend of the client's mother's coworker's nephew's neighbor. The countertop installation is scheduled for a specific day - Wednesday. The plumber is scheduled to come in and make all the plumbing connections the following day, and the cleaning crew is scheduled for Friday morning. And, that Friday afternoon, the project will be 100% complete.

Wednesday morning rolls around, and the general contractor receives word from the countertop installers that they will not be able to do the installation as planned. And, like a house of cards, the entire schedule falls apart. Although the countertop installers have promised that they will be able to install the following afternoon, the plumber (whose schedule is completely jammed) won't be able to come in until Monday of next week, and the cleaners can't reschedule any sooner than Wednesday of next week. So, the project that should have been finished on Friday, will not be finished until next Wednesday. Meanwhile, the general contractor has a significant disruption to his or her schedule, both on this job and possibly the next one. These delays are unnecessary and could be billed to the client.

The general contractor brings in subs that he or she knows are reliable and do quality work. When people hire a general contractor, they do so with the understanding that that person will be able to get the project done on time and within budget. What they don't realize, is that they are actually hiring a team of contractors (general and subs) that have developed a successful system that yields positive results. And, that is what we all want.

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