Construction Monkey

Construction Monkey Blog

Improve Productivity

If you read the first part of this series, you have looked at the photo of two boats and hopefully gained a different perspective about the photo that has been circulating around the internet.  Let's take a deeper look into this photo from the Owner's point of view or that the change order boat was purchased from profits off of change orders and the base contract profits could only afford to purchase the little dinghy.

Most of us are aware of the stereotype that most Owners, General Contractors, and the general public have about contractors.  That the only way we can make money is via change orders and we are waiting for an opportunity to "stick it to them" with a change.  Why is that?  In my opinion half of the reason is due to ignorance.

Because we are dealing with people who are not educated in plumbing, electrical, or whatever our specialty is, they are lost.  Even general contractors do not understand the specifics of our work.  When something happens that requires a change, they frankly do not understand why it is more money or sometimes the actual scope.

The other half of the reason why we are painted as bad people for getting change orders is us.  We typically do not do a good job explaining what is going on to our clients.  When we write and RFI and an answer comes back we too often just submit a price which is received by the client as "you either need to pay or the whole thing won't work".  I know that is not what we are trying to do, but that is how it comes across to our clients.  We need to spend more time educating them as to why the change is happening and why it was not in our original bid.  Let's not forget that they are setting the rules of how we bid, who we bid against, and what we are to bid.  When something is missing, we need to do what we can to ensure that they are not painting us as "greedy subcontractors".

In the end if you manage the bidding, proposal, and change order process correctly, you can mitigate that initial thought that the only way we can afford nice boats is through big change orders.

About the Author

Craig Pierce

Craig Pierce has been working in the construction industry for the past 25 years helping subcontractors master their trade. Currently he is President of Atalanta Enterprises which provides consulting services to contractors And software solutions through