In today’s economy, we are all on the lookout for products and services at the best possible price. With multiple suppliers for every need, we the consumer can afford to take our time and shop for the best product at the best price – right? Except that isn’t always what happens. Many times we just grab the lowest cost item, forgetting the painful lesson learned when the last ‘cheapest’ thing we bought didn’t last or hold up to the test of time. Three years ago I bought my first smart phone…. And unfortunately I went for the least expensive option. It only took me 6 months to give up and move on after reminding myself once again that ‘cheap’ isn’t the way to go.
So how does this lesson apply to Civil Engineering you ask? Well, cheap isn’t the way to go. When looking for services we need to remind ourselves that, much like a finished tangible product, the end result of the service has to be made up of quality. Does the service the Civil Engineer provides bring value to the project? Do they provide the service you need? Do they have long term relationships with clients indicating continued quality service? Do they have a solid reputation? Are they good at explaining the issues as well as troubleshooting to find answers? These are all excellent questions that need to be answered to ensure that you don’t end up regretting your decision. Every project has issues that need to be resolved, but with the right team, the project moves ahead and you end with a quality finished product. Choose your consultant poorly and the road along the way can become a bitter battle. These key components are not just for a Civil Engineer either…..they are tools to keep in mind as you look for the best firms to work with on any project.
3 Keys to picking the right Consultant:
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? You picked a consultant that wasn’t the cheapest and probably not the most expensive one either. Are you getting what you expected? Many companies including consultants, construction firms, architecture firms and more sell you their top level employees and then divide that work out to lower level employees and interns within the company. Is that fair? While it is common practice to spread the workload some firms are better at it than others. At MeritCorp a Principal is assigned to the Project from start to finish overseeing, reviewing, and quality checking the entire process. We want to ensure that there is a single point of contact for our client that is ultimately responsible for the quality and value you receive. Our Staff attend weekly project status meetings, receive training and are internally mentored to provide a consistent product to our clients.
Integrity: Integrity is defined as: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; the state of being whole and undivided”… in the business world this means: what you see is what you get. At MeritCorp, integrity is a core part of our business. While it feels good to get a ‘deal’ on the price tag, it is even better when that product or service holds up to the test of time. Does your consultant or contractor have integrity? What is their reputation? MeritCorp strives to provide service that stands the test of time. Integrity is all about doing what is right because it is right. That is why we have long term clients. They have learned the value of working with a company that adds value to their projects and has integrity that stands the test of time. We encourage you to ask us for our references and to contact them.
Price: Pricing is a hard topic for any industry. Our pocketbook begs us to go cheap while our head reminds us of the disaster that could have been avoided had we only spent a little more for a quality product. At MeritCorp we can provide hourly or fixed pricing, but in the end what you see is what you get. When we provide a fixed cost proposal the pricing is exactly what it says ‘fixed’. That’s it. No second guessing, no games, no added cost. And when you need to add scope, we can provide you with a lump sum cost for that too. Instead of trying to ‘sneak’ more past our clients we want you to know up front what to expect so that at the end of the project the total cost doesn’t come as a surprise. We are happy to review the scope and fees with our clients at any time. It is part of what we do to make sure you know what you are paying for – to give you the end product at the price you expect.
After the disaster with my first smart phone, I considered my needs, re-evaluated my pocketbook and chose a new phone that has lasted the test of time. These same principals can guide us to a whole new outlook on shopping in this economy. When we remember that Cheapest isn’t the best we free ourselves to shop for a quality product at a fair price.
At MeritCorp our goal is to provide you with quality services, Integrity, and Value….an end product with Merit.