Beyond the Build

Continuing Education

Choosing a Contractor

In construction, there is an old adage that it’s possible to be good, fast, or cheap. Pick two. This makes it particularly important to choose the right contractor, or for that matter, the right consultant, who can accommodate what’s important for success.

Check these boxes:

  • Years in business
  • Types of work completed
  • Quality of team members
  • Capability, in terms of surety
  • Geographic reach
  • Safety record
  • Repeat customer relationships

Over the years, I have learned the hard way, so trust me on this. Regardless of any of these attributes, including the name on the door, it is the boots on the ground. When all things are close to equal, the most important thing is the person with whom one is working. Are they giving it their best? Are their goals parallel to yours? And when they make a mistake, because we all do, are they forthright with communications, and quick to right anything that goes wrong? In my experience, only a small percentage of people in this industry readily speak up when they make a mistake, and that’s a vital part of success.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.