1. Most recent project delivery
Reputation is so last season. Last month is a better indicator of what a contractor will do next month.
2. Future capacity
A contractor is unlikely to give work to a competitor by turning it down. Smaller projects commonly suffer from the higher profile projects stealing resources. Ask about their work pipeline.
3. Execution personnel
Sales people usually smell very nice. However, the best people for project execution are technically astute with a lot of comparable experience. Take time to select the right people for the right functions.
4. Safety record
A great indicator of how they manage their operations. A tidy and well organized site is safer. If they care about their staff and sub-contractors it is more likely they will care about their clients. Turn up at a site uninvited and ask to see the site manager. If they give you a site tour you will learn a lot. If they don’t – you will learn more.
5. Critical size
Very often a large contractor will not have the appetite for small fry – and small fish may bite off more than they can chew. Having the correct size contractor to fit a project will bring the best service.
6. Financial stability
If a contractor asks for a 90% advanced payment then run away. Even large contractors have cash flow
problems that can mean their sub-contractors do not perform. It’s a small market – so ask around.
7. Similar projects completed
“We have not actually completed this kind of project but we look forward to the challenge” actually means “We will work it out as we go along”. Try to be on the level end of the learning curve.