The recession has driven down prices but Signbox say there is always a price to pay. They have just issued a 10-Point Checklist to help clients avoid the inevitable pitfalls of choosing a contractor solely on price.
One of the inevitable consequences of a prolonged recession is the pressure on prices – with too many companies chasing a smaller pot of work it has driven down prices. Too often companies respond to tenders with such low prices they simply defy commercial logic. And when this happens there is usually a price to pay – as Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “The bitterness of low quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”What frequently happens is that to keep to such low prices contractors cut corners, using both inferior materials and workmanship. So the client doesn’t get the standard of work they expected or indeed specified in the tender. But by then it’s too late.
Mark Bartlett, Managing Director of Signbox Ltd, comments, “During this recession we have seen companies go in so low on price just to secure work we know they cannot possibly cover their costs let alone make a profit. It means there is always a price to pay – we have been called in on contracts where clients have regretted taking the lowest price because the quality of work provided was so poor.
“Of course companies that keep tendering for work with low prices like this usually end up failing – sometimes before they have completed the contract. And it also means they’re not around to resolve any problems that always arise when work is engineered down to a low price.
“When choosing contractors we would ask clients to consider using this 10-Point Checklist:
1) Review the quality of the contractor’s past work – ask for references and testimonials on recent contracts.
2) Consider the size and resources of the contractor.
3) Look closely at the financial stability of the contractor – what is their credit rating and has the company traded profitably in the last three years?
4) What is the performance record of the contractor? Ask for referrals from satisfied clients.
5) What is the technical and organisational ability of the contractor?
6) What is the Health & Safety record of the contractor?
7) What accreditations, quality marks and awards does the contractor hold?
8) What is the contractor’s insurance cover? Do they have adequate employers’ and public liability cover?
9) Environmental management – can the contractor demonstrate their awareness of environmental issues and show how they use sustainable materials, where appropriate, and manage waste and recycling?
10) Does the contractor have the ability to innovate? What is their track record on innovation?
“I think the reason Signbox has weathered past recessions and has continued to secure important and sizeable contracts during this downturn is that financially we are stable; we are committed to excellence and we take great professional pride in our work. Above all we never compromise on quality. So whilst clients know we may not be the cheapest they are never disappointed with the end result of our work. It’s also why I believe we have been voted ‘Sign Company of the Year’ for the past two years.”