The third part in our series “The Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor” is about the importance of processes.
In any business requiring handoffs with multiple people and multiple variables (weather, materials, environment, etc.) it can be difficult to get consistently good results. In fact, many businesses that worked fine when they were very small (one man builders, for example) struggle as they grow to achieve the same consistent, high-quality results. This has been the downfall of many a contractor – and why success can be their own worst enemy.
Processes – or the lack thereof – can be the biggest differentiator between a contractor who delivers good results on time and on budget, and one that is constantly battling chaos at your expense. There are thousands of variables that a contractor faces on every project – it is a rare project that goes without something unexpected happening. However, experienced contractors that have learned from past mistakes will incorporate processes into their workflow to avoid making the same mistake again.
For example, taking the time to have utility lines identified and marked before construction begins is often an overlooked step, and 9 out of 10 times, nothing bad will occur. But every once in a while a gas or power line or fiber optic cable is cut, costing the contractor money, interrupting the customer’s service and causing an unforeseen delay in the project. If a contractor has to “remember” to do this every time, it will often get overlooked. However, if his processes require him to check the item off for every job, it should not get overlooked.
Deming said, “If you can’t define what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
There is a huge contrast between using well-thought-out processes and procedures to control the construction process versus jumping into a job without proper planning and processes. Amazingly, many contractors go from job to job thinking that because they “know what they are doing,” they don’t need to waste time planning. And they wonder why they are continually hit by “bad surprises.”
How do you know if your contractor effectively uses good processes? The easiest way is simply to ask during the vetting process. Find out what your contractor’s method for planning and monitoring construction will be. Do they actually use written check lists for ensuring that all steps get addressed before, during and after construction? Is there a supervisor or manager holding the crews responsible for following these processes?
You can also tell a lot about how effectively a contractor uses processes by watching the sales process. Is it well-coordinated, clear and purposeful? Or is it more chaotic? Does the contractor proactively address key concerns in advance, setting your expectations, or does he seem to want to get in and get out without helping you to understand the process you will be going through together in building your project? If the sales process has not been well thought out and executed, you can be pretty sure that the construction process will be the same.
At Archadeck of Central SC, our careful attention to process is one of the factors that sets us apart from other builders:
- Our process begins with a free design consultation.
- We then conduct a comprehensive needs analysis uncovering what you’re looking for in an outdoor living space.
- Our in-depth site survey buttons down the particulars.
- Our detailed photo gallery and portfolio of completed projects will stimulate your imagination.
- We work with you to refine or streamline your design.
- Rather than an estimate, you’re given a precise price quote.
- Our quality-focused Job Process Methodology (JPM) is put into play.
- Archadeck of Central SC obtains all necessary permits necessary for your project.
- Once your project is started, progress almost always proceeds without lags.
- Our workers respect your property.
- Construction debris is removed regularly and project site is kept clean and orderly.
- You approve the final structure and enjoy!
After we determine your needs and the specifics of your site, you can choose to move forward in one of two ways. With a project retainer, Archadeck of Central SC will draw up custom plans using three-dimensional drawings to illustrate your proposed structure from a variety of angles. You can work with us to refine that plan to your satisfaction. Or, instead of developing a custom plan, you can choose to move forward in stages as part of our staged, or phased, building program. This will allow you to complete your ideal outdoor living space in stages as your lifestyle and budget affords.
Our knowledge and experience in outdoor structure design and building over the years can ensure a space that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Call Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation (803) 603-2160.
Please visit our extensive outdoor structure galleries located on our website for more examples of our lovely designs.