Subcontractor involvement on my projects is critical. I'm referring to the skilled tradespeople, experts in their fields, that come on board to complete a specific scope of work that could take hours, days, or weeks. These folks are vital to what I do and how I do it and I'm mindful of their significance. Because of this, I take the process of including them extremely seriously.
This is how it works for me: I make phone calls to invite the contractors to visit me on site to review the project in person. When necessary I provide drawings and written specifications. When we meet, we each ask questions, and I typically receive a written quote in the form of a standard proposal immediately or within days of this meeting. These meetings are informative for both parties, but I'm keenly aware that I consistently learn a lot as I listen. These interactions ultimately help me do my job as the General Contractor. For the most part, I've grown to really enjoy these meetings and they're worth all the time and effort they require. I'm happy when I can get one quote and thankful when I get three qualified numbers. More than that is ideal and five proposals really does the job of establishing an accurate value for the work I need done.
It would be frustrating for me to have five known contractors, with some restrictions that limited the process for evaluating them. If for some reason, I could only have my face to face meetings with just two of the people, that would make my job unnecessarily difficult. For example, if these chosen two were free to tell me whatever they wanted during the meeting, provide me with printed information, make something of a sales pitch, and talk or text questions. At the same time, the other three contractors in this fictitious scenario would be limited to sending me a single email proposal for my review. That's it. Not an apples-to-apples opportunity for all the contractors, but from that system, I'd have to make my choice. That'd be messed up and would make my project more difficult to complete and likely more expensive. In addition, I suspect it'd negatively impact my schedule and that would cost money as well.
After the Watergate scandal in the 1970's, the media began to be more cognizant of their role in our nation. I won't go so far as to describe them as an addition to the tripartite established by the framers of the constitution, but they can serve as a substantial check to balance things out for the greater good. I won't blame the media for the degradation that we've witnessed in our current Presidential Election, but I believe that our country would have been better served if they covered each candidate equally, shooting for something closer to 20% coverage across the board.
When a home renovator is interviewing subcontractors, two or three quotes is good, four is better, and five is awesome. Five Presidential Candidates is equally ideal, but we need an opportunity to get to know them in news features, nationally televised forums or debates, and through interviews of the candidates as well as their supporters. Maybe the same two would have risen to the top, but I believe we'd all have been better off if we'd had that chance to figure it out ourselves in lieu of having that decided by television producers.