You may desperately need work, but be careful to avoid bad work. You don’t need to be kicked when you are down. When margins are thin for all the contractors, it is very easy to pick up bad work. It is also very easy to pick up bad work when the owners (public or private) are running out of money. You have to bid smart. Be wary of the low, low subcontractor. Many General Contractors are bonding all major subcontractors because they just don’t know how much this economy might have hurt their subs. Get all of your changes on the job in writing. Disputes skyrocket in tough times as owners try to get additional work done for free. Avoid litigation because it is a slow, life sucking distraction. Those are some obvious tips.
Here are some less commonly described problems. When the owner (public or private) doesn’t have money, he doesn’t spend enough on design. This owner, who used to be your friend before, now asks you for ideas on how to solve problems. If you offer ideas, the owner can use that against you because you are now taking on the design liability. It was your idea. Furthermore, your best project managers probably have the best people skills. Those people skill strengths, especially in difficult times, often lead to problems such as substance abuse, poor financial management, kick backs, and wheeling and dealing. A bad project manager can take you to the cleaners. Finally, we are seeing a large increase in the number of employee thefts by trusted bookkeepers in the State. Give us a call if you would like to discuss how you can protect yourself.