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Working With GCs: 4 Things to Watch For

in Business Builders

The dynamic between the GC and the subcontractor can have its challenges. Here are some of the potential pitfalls for the painting subcontractor – and how to protect yourself – from Al Pirozzoli, a consultant who has worked extensively with commercial contractors.

1. Contracts

The day of the handshake deal has passed. More than ever before, ensuring prompt and proper payment requires strict procedures and clear documentation.

Pay attention to contract details like payment for additional work, job site document management, understanding lien and bond claims, material purchases, schedule penalties and claims for delays.

2. Bidding too low

Make sure you have a clear understanding of the scope of the job.

For instance, does a section of a wall need to be two coats or one? If the plan calls for one coat, how does that play if the wall is already painted in a darker color? On an exterior wall, especially metal, does the work require scraping and special treating to assure the new coating will not peel? If it’s a floor coating, what is involved in assuring a proper finish?

These are basics but can often be overlooked, and may leave you in a position to lose money on what is already a low bid.

3. Working with other trades

Very often your work is linked to work by another trade.

Example: A painter noticed that the sheet rockers had taped the walls of the hallway, but hadn’t yet sanded it. When he called the project manager to inform him, the manager says: “You’re the painter, sand it and get on with the work. I have a deadline.”

Issues like this happen all the time, so be sure you specify up front who is doing what.

4. Price discounting

It’s not unusual for the GC to contact the painting contractors after the bid is submitted to discuss a price cut. Often this is driven by the GC’s desire to work specifically with a proven painter whose bid is somewhat high.

If the price reduction request is a small amount, the painter will likely accommodate the GC. If it’s a larger amount, make sure you understand what can be deleted from the work you originally bid on.


This article was originally published in the Winter 2016 issue of the Sherwin-Williams CommercialPro newsletter. Get more business-building tips and info on products, services, discounts and project solutions on the Sherwin-Williams contractor website.

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