Looking for a better way to make a living in construction?
Construction consultants are doing that right now. They don't have the headaches common on nearly every project – risk of loss, code compliance, warranty claims, liens, and – always – the need for more capital.
Consulting contractors work with the designer, get owner approval of the plans, guarantee a maximum price, select trade contractors, make sure work is done right -- and then collect a little extra for finishing under budget. It can be a good business. But it's not a general contracting business. It's a consulting contractor business: no employees, no inventory, no payables, no warranty, no investment, no liens, no risk.
Is anyone really doing this?
It's the way most federal, state and municipal jobs are done today, including many of the largest projects, e.g. the Corps of Engineers. Many commercial and residential jobs are run by consulting contractors – sometimes called paper contractors. Some of the most experienced, most successful, most respected construction professionals in the industry fit the definition of paper contractor. And for good reason.
A consulting contractor is the owner's representative – answers only to the owner. The consultant's job is to protect the owner against high costs, delay, shoddy work and risk of loss. No one else on the site shares that agenda.
Finding work as a construction consultant
It's not hard. In fact, why not suggest consulting every time you bid a job. The pitch goes something like this:
I can save you some money on this job. I'll act as your consultant at a price my competition can't touch. There's zero profit for me in this job. Just pay me for my time. I'll give your job the same attention I give to every project I take on, but with no markup. You can't beat that deal. Say the word and I'll write up a contract we both can live with.
If working as a consulting contractor appeals to you – and if you aren't exactly sure how to do it – consider Paper Contracting. The co-author, William D. Mitchell, has completed over 100 projects as a construction consultant – everything from home remodels under $100 thousand to government projects worth over $100 million.
Covers consulting when the fee is either (1) a fixed amount, (2) a percent of the job cost, or (3) a guaranteed maximum price (consulting contractor "at risk"). Includes a free Web link to sample consulting contracts legal for residential and commercial work in each of the 50 states.