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New Subcontractor Ranking/Rating/Review system
Posted on Wednesday, August 01 2007 @ 22:44:16 EDT
Topic: Reviews and Analysis
Reviews and AnalysisOne thing you've probably noticed going through this site is that there is a big focus on the actual construction process and not as much of a focus on the subs specifically. However, a lot of you have wanted more details about the subs themselves. A lot of you have asked me over the years, "How did you like this sub or that sub and would you go with them again?" After finding myself cutting and pasting my responses from old emails one too many times, I finally figured out that it would be much easier to create a whole new section on the website that specifically dealt with ranking and rating a subcontractor's performance and have all the information in one place for everyone to be able to access.

Well, 2 years later, I can't say that I've done a whole lot better at getting things done in a timely fashion, but as you can see below, I'm ready to launch a new section of the website that's been designed to provide reviews on the subs that you are considering hiring with a detailed evaluation on their work performance.

And just to start things out, I provided detailed reviews for each of my subs in AZ, so there are currently over 20 full-blown reviews in the database for your viewing pleasure. And for those of you in CA, I've also provided some "mini-reviews" of about a dozen different subs in your area. These mini-reviews are called that because I didn't evaluate them based on any work they did for me. They are just write-ups after having had a personal conversation with the owner/contact person over the phone.

At the very least, these mini-review write-ups were done to insure that these subs 1) are still in business and 2) will work with owner/builders. Some of the conversations were interesting because some offerred to provide me additional sub names. I made sure to note things like that in these "mini-reviews" so that you guys can follow-up when you do your own calling. Note that these min-reviews are mixed in with the rest of the reviews - there is no distinction. They were done as a way to get sub reviews for California kick-started.

This system is designed for you guys to use to help each other out, so please feel free to take advantage of it by creating reviews of your own when a sub has finished work for you. Your fellow O/Bs will thank you. If you don't find your sub listed in the master list, you can add new subs to the list anytime you want. And with all of that out of the way now, let's get on to the nitty gritty details....

There are two main sections to the subcontractor review area:

  1. Main subcontractor List
    • This is the "home" page that organizes all the subs in the database by their trade. For example, there will be a list of plumbers, a list of excavators, a list of electricians, etc.
    • For each sub, the company name, city/state they operate in, their license number, and how many reviews are available for viewing will be shown
    • There is a link at the end of each sub that allows a new review to be added for that sub. There is also a link at the beginning of each trade to add a new sub to that trade's section

  2. The Subcontractor Review
    You can get to the review details by clicking on the name of the sub from the Main Subcontractor List page. If the name is not clickable (no link), it means that no reviews have been created for that sub yet. Assuming a review exists, clicking the link will display the details of the review for that particular sub, one review at a time. The review itself is broken up into multiple sections:
    • A) The "Business Card" information - this is your standard contact information specifics:
      • Company name and address
      • Main telephone number and FAX number
      • Contractor's License number
      • Contact person's name
    • B) The Overall/Average Ratings for this sub
      • Average Owner/Builder "friendliness" rating (to be explained a little later)
      • Average ranking/rating for 4 categories of performance (also to be explained later)
      • These 2 sets of scores are the average scores based on everyone who rated this sub.

    • The Details of the Review
      This section contains the core details of the sub's performance evaluation.
      • A) Administrative details of the work itself (e.g. phase, where, when, cost, link to an image of your pool design)
      • B) Ranking/Rating of the sub in terms of:
        • Owner/Builder friendliness - this is just your perception of how willing this sub was to work with owner/builders - on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is unwilling and 10 is totally willing.
        • Various aspects of their performance
          • Workmanship (scale of 1-10)
          • Responsiveness (scale of 1-10)
          • Professionalism (scale of 1-10)
          • Committments (scale of 1-10)
      • C) Description of the work that was performed
      • D) Comment section that allows you to talk about anything you want about that sub - this is where you have a chance to vent or to sing their praises.

Each of the 4 components of performance are based on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is the highest rating you can give and 1 is the lowest. The following description is an explanation of each of the four components of rating your sub:

  • Workmanship - how was the quality of their work? As a homeowner, you will most likely not be in a position to critique your subs work in terms of adherance to all pertinent building codes, but there are some common sense things that you might consider:
    • Does everything work as advertise or are there recurring issues that remain unresolved?
    • Did it seem like they were using high-quality materials in their work?
    • Did it seem like they were highly skilled? Did it seem like they executed with precision, or were they sloppy in their work? Did it appear they were trying to cut corners by letting "small" things slide?
    • Were they reasonable in trying to meet all of your requests? If not, did they provide an adequate explanation as to why they could not (or would not) do it?

  • Responsiveness - Were they prompt in returning your phone calls, emails, FAXes, and inquiries in general, or did they give you the run-around? Did they listen to your concerns and were they willing to listen to you when you wanted to make a change? Did they do so in a timely manner?

  • Professionalism - Did they run the operation and their work in a professional way (e.g. did they bid your job in a organized, itemized way on company letterhead, or was it just scribbed on a piece of paper)? Did they try to do things "by-the-book", or did they just "wing it"? Did it seem like they operated by a code of ethics and to a high standard of conducting business, or did the whole gig seem kind of shady (everything done under the table)?

  • Committments - Did they do everything they said they were going to do? If not, was there a reasonable explanation as to why not? Also, they they do everything they committed to doing in the timeframe they said they were going to do it in? If not, was there a reasonable explanation as to why they were late?
While everything should be evaluated objectively, sometimes you will be rating them based on a perception, a hunch, or a "gut-feeling". If you find yourself in that predicament, try to provide data as to why you gave them the rating that you did. Try to be as specific as you can and always try to provide examples to back up your claims.

I've created a new "Reviews" block on the left side margin (just below the "Lists" block). You can go there to to enter this new review section. You might also notice that there is a number in parentheses at the end of the "Sub Reviews" link. This is the current number of reviews in the database. This allows you to see at a glance how many reviews have been done. If you don't want to scroll all the way over there, you can just click on this link to get there now.

Well, that's about it. The rest of it should be pretty self-explanatory. This is kind of a pilot of this new feature, which means that I reserve the right to change things around to improve it. And to that end, please feel free to provide me any kind of feedback you want. I like to hear your kudos, but I'm actually more interested in what you dislike about the new system. That way, we can make this feature something that everyone can benefit from. You can email me here: ben@howibuiltmyownpool.com


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