Paying for a Project Vs. Investing in Quality

The cheapest bid on any construction project, oddly enough, can end up being much more expensive in the long run. That’s because you’re living with the results of the contractor’s work over time—and if you’re not happy with it, you end up breaking out your wallet again and again to get to something you DO like. So, this article walks you through a project where the cheapest bid completely backfired. And then we explain how you can save money by investing in quality.

The Project

We recently worked with a client in Tennessee who decided they wanted to save money on installing their automatic doors by splitting their project into two different sections. For the first section, they hired us to install the doors, and they were happy with the outcome. For the second section, the client bought the doors from a hardware distributor and hired a general laborer to install them. Unfortunately, this part of the project didn’t turn out so well…the ADA swing operators the laborer installed weren’t functional. The client ended up hiring us to take down and remount them so they would have working, safe doors. This ultimately means they wasted a lot of money on this hiccup, having to pay twice in order for the job to be done correctly. 

We certainly don’t blame our client for wanting to save a few bucks—these types of projects can get expensive fast, especially if you have a large property to outfit. But there are a few important lessons to learn from this scenario:

The Cheapest Bidder Might Not Have a Track Record

The contractors who have a lot of experience will typically charge for that experience. And they do that because they know they’re adding value. So, when you’re comparing bids for a construction project, take a step back and look at everyone’s track record. How long have they been doing this? Who are some of their clients? Have you seen some of their work? Because if you’re hiring someone new to the biz, there’s a good chance they’ll be learning on the job. Do you want to accept the consequences if they’re learning on yours?

The Cheapest Bid Might Not Get You Anything at All

You’re paying for the contractor’s work—a finished product that functions properly and safely and that you’re pleased with. But that outcome is not always a given. In the project we just described, the client paid for the materials and labor but didn’t end up with a working set of doors. They didn’t end up saving money on the cheapest bid—quite the opposite. Be sure to check the contractor’s reviews—on Google, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, etc. Bad work will out, and you’ll be glad you didn’t jump on the lowest bid. Oftentimes, you get exactly what you pay for.

Another thing to check for is a warranty. A reputable company will guarantee their work and come back to fix it (within a specified time frame) if that work fails to live up to snuff. In the Tennessee job, the client was left with no warranty on the part of the project the other contractor completed—and while ADA warranties our labor and parts, we can’t provide the same for materials supplied by another company. 

The Cheapest Bid Isn’t Always What It Seems

The best materials cost money. And the best technicians cost money, too. So, if someone says they can do the job for less, you have to ask yourself where those savings are coming from. Are they skimping on materials? Are they cutting corners? And who is the contractor hiring to complete the work—qualified techs with experience and expertise? Or the cheapest laborers they could find at the time? You never know how the contractors with the lowest bids keep their costs down. But if you choose them to install your doors, you might find out…to your considerable cost. 

At ADA, all of our techs are AAADM certified, so you know you’re getting the best of the best to install and maintain your doors. They’ll also always provide the necessary documentation showing that everything has been installed and tuned to meet the appropriate ANSI standards, which is excellent insurance for both the general contractor and property owner. The last thing you want is to be liable for someone else’s bad work.

Investing in Quality Can Save You Money Over Time

Those cut-rate bids might seem enticingly cheap today. But we’d encourage you to think about your costs over time. Are you constantly replacing parts? Are you having to deal with regular outages? Are you failing safety inspections? Are you remodeling the entire entrance sooner than you wanted to? When you pay for quality, it’s built to last for years and years. So, you start to see your annual cost drop over time. 

Investing In Quality Can Save You Money Indirectly

When your doors break down, that can lead to a lot of indirect costs. For example, what if the malfunction hurts someone? What if it leads to a lawsuit? What if it hurts your productivity? What if it sends your customers to a competitor? What if it hurts your brand? Paying for quality can pay off in a lot of unexpected ways. How will it pay off for you?

Investing in Quality Means Investing in Maintenance 

Automatic doors need to be maintained, just like anything else. Every now and then, the key components need to be lubricated, calibrated, and adjusted. We can do all of that for you through our ProActive Maintenance Program. We’ll come out on a regular schedule, maintain your doors, and keep everything up and running. That prevents those costly breakdowns, extends the life of your doors, and creates a high-end look and feel.     

We do a lot of maintenance and repair. And in doing so, we’ve simply seen it all. We’ve seen shoddy materials, inexperienced labor, and jobs that were never completed. So, if there’s one piece of advice we’d love to share, it’s this: the cheapest bid is almost never what it seems. And investing in quality always pays off in the end.