The other day someone asked me, “Are you guys cheap or expensive?” That’s a loaded question for sure, but it deserves an honest answer, so I told him the truth: Our prices are not expensive but realistic. To explain what that means I have to draw some distinctions between our approach to business and the methods used by other contractors in Chittenden County.
I want to be very clear here: This article is not about slamming our competition, or implying that only Polli Construction will do a good job for you. Making that claim would insult your intelligence and damage our credibility – two things I have zero interest in. We know the longstanding contractors in this market and have nothing but respect for the work they do. Many of them are even friends of ours. This is Vermont, after all; friendly competition is still alive and well here.
But construction is like any other industry – you’ll find the good and the bad and everything in between. For every contractor that does quality work for a reasonable price, there are many others that give homeowners unrealistic expectations. These contractors may be skilled at construction, but terrible at managing a business, and the decisions they make hurt their customers as well as themselves.
We’ve been in business for 30 years and have learned a few things in that time. Here are a few principles that influence our pricing.
One of the biggest reasons contractors go out of business is because they underbid on projects. Like all industries, construction has an ebb and flow that requires planning and experience. You need to know how long a project will take and how many resources you need to do the job right. Some contractors underbid on projects and discover, much too late, that they underestimated how long the work would take to complete. They ultimately pay a high price for their mistake, and in turn, they ask you to share the burden.
We’ve seen this happen many times. Talented and hardworking contractors start up a business and then fail to achieve financial stability. If even one project goes way over budget, it’s hard for them to recover. Most of these guys go out of business within two years, which leads to our next point.
Contractors that go under cannot back up their work.
We hear the same stories from homeowners every week: They hired a contractor to do a job cheap, often paying them in advance, and got left with a half-finished job.
First, you should never pay in advance besides putting down a deposit. It’s customary for a contractor to require a deposit to put you on their calendar. After that, you should only pay for completed work.
Let’s say you were in luck and the contractor finished the job. What about that 10-year warranty they offered you when you hire them? If a problem pops up a couple of years down the road, if the company went out of business, they wouldn’t be able to honor it.
It’s a cliché, but it’s true – you get what you pay for. If a contractor does not charge a fair rate for their work and the company goes belly up, their guarantees will mean nothing.
You would be surprised as to how easy is to start a construction business. In our industry, anyone can lease a truck, slap a sign on the door and presto! With less than $500 down, he or she is now a contractor.
These people often have minimal skills, no business plan, long time objectives and little sense of responsibility to the customers. They work on the cheap though, and if you get one that knows what they are doing, count your lucky stars. Construction is filled with unqualified contractors who devalue the work and follow through with shoddy craftsmanship. Homeowners get burned, making it that much harder for a respectable company to come in and fix the problem for a fair price.
For us, nothing is more important than that. We earn the trust of our customers by staying consistent with every quote and every project we do.
Some contractors will find ways to beef up their estimates when they sense the customer has deep pockets. Not us. Material and labor costs are the same for every project – no matter if it’s a mansion on the lake or a little house on the prairie (if there were prairies in Vermont).
We don’t shoot from the hip when it comes to prices. Every quote is reviewed by at least two experienced managers who check it for accuracy, making sure the proposed amount will get the job done right.
Polli Construction invests a great deal in finding and keeping good workers. We have skilled young guys in their twenties working alongside middle-aged workers who know the work inside and out. When you hire us to do a job, you are investing in some of the most talented tradespeople in Vermont; people that are compensated for their skills and experience.
When we say our prices are realistic, we mean that. It’s the most accurate answer we can give.
We are not expensive, but we’re not cheap either. If you ask us, we can name ten contractors who charge less than we do and ten contractors who charge more. But when you get a quote from Polli Construction, it’s backed by 30 years of hard work and experience with projects similar to yours. You will get a price from a company that’s built its name on trust and credibility.
And if you hire us, you are supporting a local business that takes care of itself and its employees as well as its customers. We intend to be around for a long time, so we’ll be here when you need us.