Here I am in early December already looking at next year, all of next year. As an owner of a growing construction company in Victoria, B.C., I am already looking at what projects do I have booked and which are likely to become booked. My definition of a booked project is one that has both a signed contract and an accompanying deposit cheque.
This may surprise the reader, namely that a client is asked to provide a deposit for a project that may not start until next summer. Remember what the client is asking, that I block off several weeks to several months of my company’s schedule, which also means that I am turning down work for the same time period (my company can only handle two simultaneous projects, depending on their scale and scope). It is difficult to turn down work at any time, but especially difficult when the economy is slow. Great clients do not grow on trees.
So if you and your family are considering a new construction or renovation project next year, it is a good idea to start looking for your project management team and your building team ASAP. As a famous balding blond builder from Toronto has stated in his columns and television programs, any construction company worth their salt will probably not be available when the telephone conversation goes like this:
“Hello, Storey’s Gate, Michael speaking.”
“Hello. My name is Peter Procrastinator. The City just issued my building permit and I was wondering if you would like to quote on the job?”
“I might, depending on the scale of the job and your timetable. When were you hoping to start and when will all the quotes be in for your evaluation?”
“Well, I was hoping that you could start Monday.”
“Thank you for the call. The challenge is going to be that today is Friday…”
Now before you say that that would never happen, I have had that call (OK, it was Thursday, not Friday) but you get the idea. Now you as the client should wonder about any company that can give you instant gratification on any project that lasts more than two weeks. That said, references count too.
I prefer to be involved before any project ever gets to this stage. The main reason that people do not involve a builder is cost, as in I want to pay my builder to build, not think. Now we builders have been known to do a bit of thinking, as in when we are putting together a quote based on a design and permit that has some potentially expensive decisions (or obvious lack of decisions) within it. So the reality is that you can pay me to think up front or pay me to think and fix your decision to have me not think during the process before building, either way, somebody has to do the thinking. I have the experience, you probably do not (YouTube videos do not count as experience, especially when they are by a guy in Mississippi named Gator).
So, if I have been working with you for the last six to eighteen months to get the project ready to go, we have got a good relationship established. Therefore, you can see how it is reasonable for me to take your booking as I am confident about construction schedules, weather, when permits will probably be ready, etc. I want my clients to be confident and comfortable with the process, that requires time together. A couple of hours together up front can save you days or weeks on site later, which saves money and may save a marriage (if a couple can build together, they shall rarely be torn asunder in my experience).
You choose the time to call, I answer the phone. But remember, the secret to comedy and construction projects is …..TIMING!