As far as the eye can see, the Denver skyline is lined with construction cranes. This evidences a resurgence of the construction industry throughout Colorado. But, the recent, rapid rebound of construction (commercial and residential) has caused a shortage of qualified contractors and subcontractors. And, the qualified contractors and subcontractors are being selective in bidding on and selecting projects. Inevitably, this has led to less qualified or unqualified contractors and subcontractors returning to the Colorado construction market. This poses additional challenges in the selection of contractors as the lowest price may not provide the best value when delays, cost overruns or defects are included.
While there’s no certain way to avoid hiring an unqualified contractor, considering factors such as prior performance, reputation, length of time in the industry, insurance and Better Business Bureau rating can help. Contractors who successfully completed prior projects will strive to continue their past track record on future projects. Similarly, contractors who are notoriously late or perform shoddy work will have a poor reputation with their competition who will be called on to correct their mistakes. While new contractors are not per se unqualified, they may be fleeing another jurisdiction to escape claims or a bad reputation. Many fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants contractors could not survive the recession because of their poor quality work. With the resurgence, these contractors have re-entered the industry. While lack of experience shouldn’t automatically disqualify a contractor, it does warrant further investigation. Investigating a contractor’s record with its insurance carrier can also be informative. If the contractor carries the minimum insurance or changes carriers frequently, it could indicate prior problems resulting in claims. Finally, reviewing a contractor’s Better Business Bureau rating can uncover consumer complaints regarding prior projects.
There’s no guaranteed method to ensure a contractor is qualified. But, considering factors beyond price will increase the likelihood of selecting a qualified contractor. Spending a little extra time (and money) to select a qualified contractor in the beginning can avoid costly delays, overruns and defects during the project.