If you run your own business, you are familiar with this struggle. You need a continuous flow of new clients and new projects so you can keep afloat or keep growing.
You bid on projects, win the contracts, and get started on the work. It's a good rhythm. But, more often than you'd like, a project you've started on will get out of hand and end up costing you more time and money than it was worth.Walking the tightrope between "taking on projects" and "taking on ideal projects" is tough - we know. It's hard to know what jobs to turn away, and when. But it's not impossible.
With that in mind, here are two red flags you should watch out for:
You aren't familiar with the General Contractor
Starting new business relationships is critical to growing your business. Within the construction industry, winning a bid often comes down to who you know and who trusts you to work for them. That being said, starting new relationships is still not always a good idea. Bidding on complex projects for a general contractor that you are unfamiliar with is risky. It's not uncommon to find GCs that tend to bite off more than they can chew, over-promise and under-deliver, or treat subcontractors badly. If you can avoid complications caused by poor character, you won't regret it.
When you have an opportunity to work with someone new, check around and see what you can learn about their reputation and management style. In the meantime, avoid drama and estimate a fabrication project for general contractors you already know and trust.
The scope of the work is outside your capabilities
Sometimes a job that looks attractive at first winds up encompassing skills that don't fall within your expertise. Your instincts tell you to throw in a bid for the project anyway. After all, competition is fierce and you could use the job as an opportunity to expand your knowledge base. If you enjoy working with the GC or this is would be a new connection that could help to expand your network, the temptation is even greater. How could you let an opportunity like this slip by?
Consider the consequences of making a bad first impression. If you're part way through and realize you or your team can't finish the fabrication work, you'll wish you'd never taken the project in the first place.
That new contact could write you off and not consider you for contracts in the future. That type of mistake is costly and can dramatically impact the future of your business.
Don't let the adrenaline of the pitch cause you to make a bad decision. If you aren't confident the project is a good fit for you, carefully consider whether it is worth it to put your reputation on the line.
Knowing what to look for before choosing to bid a fabrication project can save you a lot of time, energy and money. Keep these things in mind as opportunities come up and protect your business against future project nightmares.
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