Trust is important in any relationship, but especially when it is a relationship between you and the people responsible for completing a multi-million dollar project. That is essentially the relationship you have with a general contractor (GC), and the best way to build trust in that relationship is to involve your GC from the very beginning. Early involvement gives your GC an opportunity to earn your trust – those interested in a partnership will gladly show you around to their other work sites and answer your questions – and provide you with a valuable ally who can help you get and keep your project going.
A Planning Resource & Get-You-Started Catalyst
You and your GC have a mutual goal: the successful completion of your project on time and on budget. When a contractor gets involved with a project at its earliest stages, even as much as 12 months in advance of the actual project, they can help you by being a resource and a catalyst:
- As a Resource, your general contractor can help you identify roadblocks to your project early on and provide solutions before you even know you have any problems. They can also help guide you in choosing other partners, such as the architect, since they are familiar with the requirements set forth by your vision for the project.
- As a Catalyst, your general contractor takes on your challenges as his or her own. Projects can stall due to unforeseen obstacles, such as internal disagreements. But when you have a true partnership with your general contractor, they can help to resolve these obstacles and keep the project moving forward.
Undeniably, involving your GC early in the process is the best way to build trust. The more familiar they are with your organization, the better equipped they are to fulfill its needs.
The Limitations of Check Box Decision-Making
There are several methods by which general contractors may be chosen. When bidding for work, decisions are often made on prices alone. With RFP responses, decisions are often based on short 30-minute presentations. With these options, clients are left to make this very critical choice based on very limited information.
Instead, be sure to ask the right questions, invest in building a trusted relationship, and ensure your general contracting partner’s values, experience and priorities – in addition to their costs & timelines – match your organization and your needs.