At any given time Brian (owner of BGB) & John (Dir. Pre-Construction) are pricing 5-7 projects for an average of $3m. One of the most common questions asked is what or why a client should choose a construction management company as oppose to a “ladder on a truck” based construction firm. This is the number one question we get asked and one of our biggest challenges. This question truly can’t be answered but instead experienced. Brian, John and a few of our project managers have all owned their own companies (ladder on a truck type outfits) at one time or another. There are a few good GC firms out there that are up front and honest with expectations and pricing. Others have a technique of low balling projects costs and giving clients the impression that the client now has a large contingency. In contrast to this, BGB’s practices an approach of nailing down all the details and presenting hard numbers whether it fits in the budget or not. When you put both of these initial budgets on a table side by side they don’t look as if they are for the same project. They are NOT. One is reality and the other is a ballpark.
People will approach a project in the same way they purchase a TV. Try to buy the biggest one that will fit in there house and then tone it down to what they can afford. There are two ways to approach a proposal from a builder’s perspective; present the reality or present a low number and get in the door. Most people complete a handful of remodeling projects or maybe one new construction/addition in their life. Our trade is viewed the same way as a grease monkey; people don’t know enough about the moving parts and the nuts & bolts to ever really feel comfortable w/ the bill or gain enough knowledge to grasp the cost vs. scope. BGB takes the approach of gaining the clients trust by instilling comfort through knowledge, facts, and transparent hard costs proposals.
The point of the blog entry is to touch upon the fact that over the past year the projects we have poured the most time into and the one’s we really wanted slipped through the cracks and were awarded to a ladder on a truck. I also want to state that we have zero issues with losing projects to direct competition or to the next level of builders above us. This also happens and we respect our clients’ choices in these cases because these builders all take a similar approach. We often follow up with clients who have chosen the ladder on a truck contractor to see how their projects are moving along and 90% of the time we receive the same feedback: They wished they had chosen BGB. This is both rewarding and very frustrating at the same time. While some might believe this response is caused by the fact that it is the cordial thing to do, we never try to prompt it; instead they often go out of their way to tell us this. When you walk on a site you first get a sense of where projects should be in the construction phase related to the discussions prior and the mood at which the dialogue. You can hear a tone of defeat and the stress that the client is enduring to have to push the project forward. This is easy to hear and anyone reading this that has worked with a poorly run contracting company knows exactly what I am describing.
To put it simply, it’s disappointing.