It seems like almost every project we embark on, the client says, “How quickly can we get it done?” or “I want the best possible price!”  So, we thought it was time to address the myth of good, fast, and cheap – you can’t have it all.  Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • Good: High quality, Attention to detail
  • Fast: Quick completion, Delivering the project faster than industry standard
  • Cheap: Cost-effective, Staying within a moderate to low budget

When it comes to our dealership construction projects, achieving all three – good, fast, and cheap – is very challenging, here is why:

  1. Quality Takes Time – Achieving quality on our dealership projects takes time and time is money.  When we look at implementing a brand’s corporate identity program, we usually find that some of the construction details are not typical industry standard. As a result, these special items require our General Contractor and the corresponding subcontractors / vendors to carefully plan and execute details that may not necessarily be a part of their normal expertise. Details matter, as we talked about in this blog, as a result it takes extra time to get them right.
  2. Speed Increases Costs: Accelerating construction timelines is expensive. It often requires additional resources, overtime, evening, or weekend labor, and or expedited shipping. All of which contribute to higher project costs. The need for speed can also lead to inefficiencies or mistakes. These may result in additional labor and material expense at the end of the project when the punch list is longer than normal.  Why? Because everyone was working towards just getting it done, not necessarily getting it 100% right.
  3. Reducing Cost Impacts Quality: Cutting costs in construction may involve using cheaper materials or opting for less skilled labor, both of which can negatively impact the overall quality and durability of the structure. Quality materials and skilled labor often come at a higher price. This also holds true for the choices made in Furniture Fixtures and Equipment.

Successful construction projects require careful planning, realistic expectations, and a thoughtful consideration of the balance between time, cost, and quality. Every project the ID Automotive team undertakes, we delicately juggle that balance. Every client wants the best pricing without sacrificing quality while some want or need it done in record time. 

“Can we do this cheaper?”

On a recent project our client decided mid-way through to add some scope. They agreed to an estimated budget for the additional work.  Once the drawings were done and our General Contractor had priced it out, the client challenged us to bid this portion of the project out to other GCs.  We were able to convince the client to have the General Contractor complete the scope. Here’s why.

This scenario would have added more time to the project. It would result in the first General Contractor having to stop a portion of the overall project to allow a second contractor to come in and do the work. It would have caused a nightmare with the building department. Having two General Contractors working on the same project, two different permits, separate calls for inspections of partial work, etc.

The additional scope of work might have cost less on paper with a second GC. The high quality of the work we’ve experienced with the first GC meant it would have most likely been of an inferior quality. Addtionally the overall project timeline would also have been extended. Add in the cost of general conditions the first GC will charge while waiting on the other work to be completed and any savings realized would have been washed away. In the end the project would have cost even more. All because the client was only focused on bottom-line cost, and led with the question, “can we do this cheaper?”

So many times, clients will default to the lowest bid on a project. We like to remind them that when they’re in sales meetings, they often tell their team to sell on quality, reliability, dependability, value, brand reputation, etc. Everything BUT price. Yet, when it’s time to embark on a facility project, in most cases, price seems to be the overriding factor. Price should be a factor, but not THE factor. We don’t know who first quoted this, but we use it frequently. “Demand quality – but be willing to pay for it.” 

I Gotta Guy… They’re almost never good fast and cheap

A phrase that we hear frequently, and one that usually gives us a chill is “I gotta guy…”.   It seems that almost every client has a friend or family member who is in the construction industry.  Maybe they own a small trade company, such as a plumbing or electrical company. Maybe they’re a General Contractor or an Architect.  They ask that we engage these connections in the hopes it will save money on the project. We always try to move away from these “connections”. It is with rare exception that they are ever good, fast and cheap.

For example, one client wanted us to use a local architect for their facility renovation. Another owner asked us to use their deck guy to build some decking around construction trailers. In both cases we lost critical time. Our clients wound up paying more than they needed to. Ultimately had to bring in other resources to finish the work and get the projects moving.  These were hard lessons for those clients. Ones that we try not to let other clients repeat.

Wrapping it up

“Good, Fast and Cheap – you can’t have it all” is unfortunately a very true statement. Move to fast and quality slides. Choose the cheapest option, and you’ll pay more in the long run.  We look at it this way. Hire reputable contractors who will deliver a quality project. Agree on a written project timeline. Negotiate a fair price but be willing to pay for quality. Why? Because as Ben Franklin once said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” We think that’s a fitting final thought to this Blog.