How to Find the Right Builder


LIKE ALL THINGS, there is a “right” approach and there is a “wrong” approach to finding the perfect builder for your project.

Some developers, investors and building owners fall into the tempting trap of trying to cut costs — by bringing in builders who offer to work for much less, but who may not have the experience needed for that particular project.

These people hope that by reducing initial costs, they can boost their overall profits. Unfortunately this tends to backfire on them, more often than not.

The right builder for your project will both achieve the results you expect and significantly increase your development profit. Selecting the right builder also leads to a potentially less-stressful project — fostering relationship and networking options.

Moreover, with the right builder, you can develop a practical rapport with him that will greatly enhance critical aspects of the project. Your ultimate goal is a win-win; the decisions you make early on will determine if that can happen.

On the other hand, the wrong builder can lead to increased costs, time blowouts, safety concerns and poor quality workmanship — which ultimately result in reduced profits and painful settlement issues. After going through an experience like that, you may never want to build again.

The pivotal factor is the project scope. The proposed builder’s profile and capabilities must fit the scope of the project’s needs.

Having too big a builder will only increase your costs — as their high overheads will add to their overall cost structure.

But then, too small a builder will put pressure on your project — because you may have to adjust (or compensate) if the builder cannot handle something. You may even need to bring in additional workers.

All this as to the cost, and reduces your profit.

Choosing the “right” Builder for your Project

Take time to check out your prospective builders. Then, start asking these questions:

  • How much experience (large, small, domestic, commercial) have they had?
  • Have they completed a project or projects of similar size and caliber to your project? Visit a couple of their current or completed projects.
  • Are they officially registered as a builder in your area? Be sure they are not listed on any of the building industry’s watch lists.
  • Do they have the manpower to complete the project within a reasonable time?
  • Do they have an experienced crew that can handle the specific tasks required?
  • What references do they have? Don’t rely just on the builder’s own listed references. Find additional references on your own.

Take advantage of reviews on the Internet and be willing to make a few phone calls. This may take some time, but the effort is well worth your peace of mind.

Get to know the company. Visit them at their office. You can always gauge a lot from this as to what kind of company this is; how dedicated and cooperative their crew is; and how smoothly their operation runs.

Get a general sense of their financial status. Perhaps check with their accountants, financiers, etc. Knowing where the builder stands financially will give you an idea of how dependable this company is.

Bottom Line: If you have not vetted or tendered builders before, seek advice from an industry professional who is well-connected in this area of the industry. Another great way to get familiar with the process is to attend networking events with other investors or developers, and simply ask questions.

Social Media can also be a handy tool, as well. Here you can post your specific questions and receive answers from professionals who want to help.


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