Is a Smaller Builder the Answer?
For a long time smaller builder and businesses in the construction industry have felt somewhat overshadowed by the big main contractors who get awarded all the desirable jobs. But are the tides turning? With the unfortunate collapse of Carillion and now other large firms being put under the microscope is it more reassuring to use a smaller firm?
Looking specifically at house building, the Federation of Master Builders notes that small to medium builders had a significantly higher percentage of respondents who were ‘very satisfied’ with the work carried out. Of those who were ‘very satisfied’, SME builders had a score of 36% while the top 20 larger builders had only 17%. We know too well that a small firm relies so heavily on word of mouth and reputation to gain more work. Larger firms have a hefty marketing budget and the clout of a big brand name behind them to give them an advantage. In the David and Goliath battle of builders, smaller firms need a network of recommendations and testimonies to even the score.
There is undoubtedly a reassuring feeling from using a large company. You might imagine that any problems or delays on a job would be handled fairly and that any money paid in advance would be safe. Carillion’s collapse and the ongoing scrutiny of large firms does little to reassure people of the reliability of the big brands. For people looking to find a builder I would always recommend checking the company credit rating, the amount of time it has been trading and the time to pay its invoices (is this right, can you think of anything else?).
While it might not be the top of anyone’s list for sourcing a builder, bear in mind that a smaller company in your area will be employing locals, likely sourcing local materials and may even be offering apprecenticeships to local school leavers which all helps build a stronger community.
So the next time you have to choose between a small or large company, check for local recommendations, do your research and remember that large firms might not always be the best fit for you.