Why are your prices higher than your competition? We get this question from time to time by clients that want to use us but say that our prices are too high. What’s going on here? We had a client that we were working with a couple of months ago that told us that they couldn’t use us because we where way over there budget. They had found another contractor that was going to do the job way cheaper. Now this client came to us because we were highly recommended to him from 2 other clients that we had done work for and one of these clients was his father.
Let’s assume that all is equal in the beginning (and that’s a big assumption). Both contractors are licensed, both contractors are insured, both contractors have taken continuing education classes to improve their skills, Both of them belong to trade organizations.
There are many things that go into a projects cost. One of the main things is labor cost. MBA Construction and MBA Roofing employees it’s on full time craftspeople. These craftsmen have been with our company for years and are highly skilled at their trades. Most building and remodeling companies sub contract most of their work to outside companies. These companies have employees that come and go and the skill level of the people that show up at your project can vary greatly. It is not unusual for 8 or 10 different crews to work on your house. Now MBA has to use subcontractors to. These contractors are licensed by the state for their specialized trades such as Plumbing, Electrical and HVAC installation. MBA has a long term working relationship with these contractors and knows the quality of their work. These subcontractors are what’s known as A Tier subcontractors, and are the best in their fields. Builders that typically low bid projects can’t afford to hire A Tier contractors and are forced to hire less experienced lower grade B Subcontractors.
Another reason our prices are higher is because that every job we do has a field superintendent and project manager assigned to it. This field superintendent will stay with the job from beginning to end. Now you might think that’s how all jobs are run, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A lot of construction companies are nothing more than front offices. Salesmen go out and sell jobs, then go back to the office and call up subs and tell them to go to a job site and perform their assigned task. Problem is there is no one at the site to observe and guaranty the quality of the workmanship or if it is being performed properly and to specifications. Did that concrete subcontractor install the vapor barrier properly under your floors? Is the proper amount of reinforcing steel in place in your foundation walls? Did the roofers put 6 nails to a shingle? Did they replace any rotten wood? Did they nail the old slats down that are loose? You will never know, there was no money in the budget to hire a full time skilled superintendent to keep watch.
Finally the last reason we cost more money is the materials we use in the construction of your home. Now I am not talking about the materials that you can see when the job is done, I am talking about the grade of materials that goes into your home that you don’t see. The lumber that frames your walls, what grade is it? Is it premium Kiln Dried Lumber or utility grade lumber. What are your floor joist? Are they premium Engineered lumber or twisty and bowed dimensional lumber. Is the sheathing that holds your walls up low grade OSB or premium OSB that has a 50 year no rot warranty. Is the sheathing on your roof 1/2″ or 5/8″? Does the subfloor you walk on seem a little bouncy and squeaky Maybe that’s because the lumber was undersized for the job. Is the heating system large enough for the house? Do you have good water pressure or did the plumber undersize the pipes? Does the sink drain properly or slowly? Maybe the plumber didn’t get the venting right. I could make a list of a thousand items that I could cut cost on and you would never know that I had used inferior materials. You say wait a minute what about the building inspector, he will save me from all these things. I think Not, his only job is to see that your house is built to the minimum specifications and standards that the government has said is the least that needs to be done to keep your house from falling down.
So the next time you get a bid on a project and you wonder why that contractor wants more money than the lowball guy, think AM I GETTING WHAT I PAY FOR, OR AM I PAYING FOR WHAT I GET.