Building Contractors — Not For Wimps
Tim K. Garrison - the Builder’s Engine
I understand you were once a general contractor. Why did you give it up?
Freddy L, Sedro-Woolley, WA
It is true, in the early 1990s, I started a construction company with two other guys — also engineers. Each of us brought a heck of a lot of real-world construction experience and knowledge to the table. If anyone could have made it, it was us.
With grand visions and boundless enthusiasm, we started up, bidding anything that came along.
I quickly learned that the very thing that allowed us easy entry into the market was a double-edged knife. In Washington State at that time, anyone with a pickup truck, a hammer and a six thousand dollar bond could be a general contractor. There were no testing or qualification programs as in other states.
I don’t know how many times we came in second at bid openings. It was awful. Many times, the successful bidder either botched their takeoff, or needed the work so badly, they didn’t mind taking it at zero profit.