• Perform a credit check on the owner. It is easy and inexpensive and will tell a contractor much about the parties for whom it will be working.
  • Find other contractors who have worked for the owner. If other contractors have had a bad experience, it may make sense to walk away from a project where the subcontractor is ultimately insuring the owner's viability.
  • Identify who the lender on the project will be and call the lender to better understand how project funds will be disbursed. Understanding this process and connecting with the lender before the project commences can help insure that problems do not arise later in the project.
  • Contact the owner. If the owner will not speak with a subcontractor or provide information about the owner's viability or the project, it rarely makes sense to proceed.
  • Contact the architect. The architect has the most contact with an owner at the outset of a project. Find out what the architect knows about the owner.
  • If you are a subcontractor, know your general contractor. A poor general contractor trusts the owner to pay. A good general contractor verifies that the owner can pay. A great general contractor not only verifies the funds, but also has the funds set aside and makes sure the owner pays on time.
  • If you are a subcontractor, ask the general contractor to provide the general contractor's file on the owner. Get the general contractor's due diligence on the owner's wherewithal to fund the project. If the general contractor cannot or will not share this information, that should raise a red flag as to whether a subcontractor wants to participate in this project.