Using Nominated Contractors – Frustrating and Expensive
Over the years we have had a few situations where a store, shopping centre or (on rare occasions) a client, has nominated a contractor or sub-contractor for us to use.
Now, generally, this is fine so long as the contractor responds efficiently and presents prices that are reasonable. However, my biggest frustration is when a nominated contractor seems, firstly, not to be that bothered about responding to your request and secondly, when they do respond, the cost presented is astronomical and seems to bear no relationship to the job requested.
This is a problem mostly encountered when being asked by store groups to use their own contractor. The reasons for high prices are generally either that the contractor is not bothered by this ‘small’ request and so does not either understand or care about the job as it is not their ‘core’ business, or that any relationship with you is not seen as beneficial in the long term. There is also the possibility that they simply do not want to be bothered working with a new client!
So, as our duty is to providing our clients with good service, good value and good quality it is surely our duty to find alternatives.
To cite a recent example (without mentioning any names) we were planning a shop-fit in a prestigious department store and some electrics and data needed moving. The floor of this store was tiled with marble – so we had to remove three or four tiles, lay some data cabling and lay power. This involved three nominated contractors with a price coming in at nearly £12,000.00!!!!
Whilst I can understand this is not as easy as it may appear – just think of how many man-hours (even working at weekend rates) this can buy! Needless to say we had no choice as the store were not prepared to consider non-approved contractors. I could have guaranteed our client a considerably lower price than those we were forced to go with.
My frustration is not simply with the submitted cost of the work but also with the client and architects who allowed/agreed to have marble flooring laid in such an inflexible manner especially when the entire purpose of department stores and their ever shifting shop floors require inherent flexibility. I could extend my frustration and explain that some of our clients are small or start-up brands with tight budgets and these kinds of costs scupper their chances of being healthily profitable.
Is it too simple for stores to try and work with brands and help them to achieve success after all a lot of the time their businesses are ‘joint ventures’ to all extents and purposes!