Five Tips for Hiring a Construction Professional in 2021
A decade ago, the construction industry had just begun coming out of the darkest days of the Great Recession and jobs in the construction industry were hard to find. Developers and homeowners had the upper hand in hiring builders and subcontractors regarding selection, terms, conditions, and payment. Many of them took advantage of construction professionals at every turn in order to obtain cheap work.
Ten years later, the tables have turned. The COVID-19 pandemic and the aging out of the workforce has made it very hard to find good, qualified construction professionals. If you do find one, they have little time for people who try to beat them down on price or get them to do extra work for free. Those days are gone and there are no signs of them returning anytime soon.
If you are planning a construction project, remodel, or home repair and you want it to be successful, it starts with hiring a trained construction professional or company. The rules for hiring have changed in the last ten years. Here are five tips for hiring a construction professional in 2021 that you should consider before starting a construction project.
First, know what you want to do and have the details. Construction professionals are extremely busy and short-staffed and most of them do not have the time for continuous consultations and idle conversation. Do not call anyone until you have a clear vision of your project and you can fully communicate what you want with specific details.
Next, if you call a highly trained construction professional and the first thing you start talking about is wanting a deal or paying less than the going rate, chances are you will be disconnected. In the construction world, cherry pickers who go around looking for the best deal on every item or service are having a tough time. Most cherry pickers are being turned into victims as scammers are preying upon their overwhelming desire to save money. Good work is not cheap. Daily, stories are being told of unscrupulous contractors ripping off homeowners because they would not pay legitimate construction professionals the going rate of pay. Honestly, this is one period of time wherein I am more afraid of the lowest price, especially if it is significantly lower. Chances are the contractor made a mistake in his quote for the job, will not finish the job, or about to rip off the homeowner.
Third, do not be a Karen—the person who complains and throws a fit about everything. Construction professionals are too busy to listen to ill-tempered people who use whining as a tactic to get their way. If you throw a hissy fit instead of acting like a mature adult on your jobsite, chances are that everyone will walk off the job and not return. After that, good luck in finding someone to finish the project. If you want the best job, show respect for your construction professional.
In addition, you have to make up your mind. Products from windows and doors to roofing take much longer to get if there is anything special ordered. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically slowed down production and millions are out of the workforce. If you fail to make a prompt decision on items being used on your project, expect a longer amount of time to finish the job and good luck in getting your construction people back on the jobsite. Just like a train moving down the track, if you do not have the supplies on your jobsite, there is another job waiting for that construction professional just down the line. Do not dither in making product selections for your construction project.
Finally, holding up earned money, bank draws, or fair deposits will not get you any work. Once again, construction professionals are very busy. There are other people paying a premium to have work done. In fact, some homeowners and builders are paying construction professionals extra to do their job first and on time. If there is any hint that money will be used as a weapon to leverage free work on a job, then expect an abandoned jobsite.
Please do not leave this column with the wrong impression. Most construction professionals are going to do everything they can to make you happy and get the job completed on time. However, the good ones have too many people putting too much money on the table to deal with a homeowner who has a mentality from 2011.
Good people are hard to find, and over the next year or two they will be even harder to find. Good luck on your next project and hire the best—you will not regret it.
Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House, which can be seen at aroundthehouse.tv.