Taking the plunge into the realm of building ownership can be a scary thing. Determining what building will suit your current and future needs is only half of the battle. Finding someone to build your building is often done by word of mouth and friend referrals. That’s a major investment to be left to mere acquaintances. How can you be sure your best interests are on the mind of the prospective contractor?
The majority of any savings on a project will be attained at the planning phase. A good contractor will work with you as a collaborated effort. If you find he is merely taking orders, you can rest assured there are valuable savings being passed up. It’s best to convey how you see your entire project and why you want specific details incorporated into the plan. Contractors can usually provide cost saving alternatives that produce the same end result.
Initial costs represent only 11% of the building’s life cycle, with the majority being placed on operating costs and maintenance. Materials, like insulation, can greatly affect the overall costs in a building’s lifetime operational costs. It is these details that need to be addressed. Some materials that create initial savings end up costing the building owner a fortune in the long run. Make sure to ask what materials will require minimum maintenance and utilize new technologies whenever possible. It is these types of issues that will determine which contractor can serve you best.
Meet with multiple companies. Salesmen are in sales for a reason. They are often good at closing deals, but you owe it to yourself to meet with different companies to get a feel for their interest level in your bottom line. Visit their websites. Reputable companies have referrals, testimonials and photos of previous projects. Don’t be thrown by participation in things like the Better Business Bureau or trade associations. These programs don’t hold the weight they used to and are often only window dressings.