Choosing the Best Goods, Services, and Subcontractors

Paper or Plastic at the Grocery Store?

Paper or plastic? This question is tough to avoid – especially when grocery shopping, unless you live in a state that has banned plastic, such as California. Chances are, most of us haven’t given this question too much thought, choosing the most convenient option (often, plastic). However, it’s important to understand the impact that paper and plastic bags have on the environment. From durability and reusability to unit costs and the destruction of limited natural resources, there’s more to each bag than you’d believe.

One of the best ways to help the environment is to purchase canvas or insulated reusable bags for your grocery shopping. You can also choose to maximize the uses you get from plastic bags. They can be reused for several purposes including shopping, trash can liners, doggy messes, and more. This reduces the sheer magnitude of non-biodegradable plastic bags in our landfills, trees, fields, and oceans. If using either paper or plastic, be sure to recycle. Many stores now have bins where you can deposit plastic bags to be recycled.

For more information on this age-old debate, click here.

Conventional or Synthetic Oil for Your Vehicle?

The next time your vehicle is due for an oil change, you may be offered a choice between conventional or synthetic. Of the three main types of oil – conventional, synthetic, and synthetic blend – synthetic is better … period. In fact, AAA recently found that synthetic oil outperformed conventional oil by nearly 50 percent in independent evaluations, offering vehicles significantly better engine protection for only $5 more per month when following vehicle manufacturer recommended intervals.

For more information on which oil is best, click here.

AAA’s findings can be found here.

Wood or Metal Studs for Your Residence?

When it comes to framing materials and supplies, there was a time when the use of metal studs in commercial building applications was the norm. However, metal studs are now making huge inroads in residential building applications, as well. In fact, according to the Steel Framing Alliance, nearly 500,000 single-family homes have been built using metal studs over the past decade. There are only two options for studs: metal and wood. As with any other consumer good, there are pros and cons to both types of studs. Most of the debate surrounding studs centers on their environmental impact, cost, stability, strength, ease of installation, and convenience.

For more information of whether you should use wood or metal studs, click here.

Price vs. Quality for Your Construction Trade Contractor?

For centuries, the decision process of using cheap labor or less expensive specialized craftsmen (trade contractors) has been balanced between maintaining a budget, and providing a quality structure. Local labor has often been used for some parts of a building or structure, while skilled craftsmen have been imported from one part of the world or another to provide specialty work, using exceptional materials and high-quality standards.

It is rare that the cost of the structure, or budget, is not a driving factor for a project to help make a dream or concept reality. Today, in the early 21st century, not much has changed in these dynamics of construction. Pre-qualification and relationships do factor in, and are both important contributors to the decision of using one trade contractor over another. However, the mindset for many buyers of trade services is that they obviously want both the lowest possible price, and the highest-quality materials and craftsmanship.

The consequences of lower pricing often requires the sacrifice of something else (e.g., quality, schedule, responsiveness, risk of change orders, etc.). Admittedly, good quality and performance should not always be disproportionately more expensive either. Perhaps the goal of selecting a subcontractor should not be based solely on low price and quality, but rather the industry should focus on best value and quality, which may or may not be the lowest priced subcontractor.

Quotes from TIME Magazine Article:

“Most people simultaneously believe that low prices mean good value, and that low prices mean low quality,” Steve Posavac; Professor of Marketing at Vanderbilt University

“By contrast, more or most expensive does not always mean better.”

Quote from Anonymous General Contractor:

To win the job we had to be aggressive and meet a predetermined budget, now we are left with working hard to choose subcontractors that can fit this budget or its component.

Quote from Anonymous Owner:

If we don’t choose the lowest price on most if not all of the subcontractors on this project, the construction budget likely won’t make the proforma work and the project won’t get built.

The approach of choosing a subcontractor that has a more long-lasting and direct affect to the overall success of a construction project include both best value and quality. Where best value should be the sum evaluation of the following; competitively priced, complete pre-construction scope with no holes/gaps, good track-record, pre-qualified, safety record, relationship and prior experience, and promised schedule/production.

Which Choice Do You Prefer?


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