One of the major questions we get when someone contacts us is “How long until you can start?” Today we’re going to walk you through the timeline of a project between initial contact to when we can start the actual work. Note that some of these times vary widely depending on the project, as some projects will require more permits and prep work than others. Making sure to plan ahead and respond quickly to questions from your contractor can cut down on this time, which means your project can finish sooner!
Step 1: Initial Contact
The first step to any relationship between a contractor and a client is communication. While it might not seem like much, the initial contact between the two sides (by phone, email, or direct visit) helps set the stage for the rest of the project. For us, this initial contact allows us to assess the needs of the client and the project, which can save a lot of headache later on. While we can handle larger projects of almost any client, small projects (especially far away from our central location in Marlborough) might not be cost effective for either side. Be prepared to talk a bit about your project when you reach out to us.
Be Prepared to Talk About Your Budget
One of the biggest hurdles we encounter when talking to clients is questions about their budget. It’s important to have a budget (either a range or a high end) ready for the project you have in mind. During our initial contact we’ll talk about your scope of work and the budget to make that happen, so put some thought into exactly what you need done, and how much you’re willing to pay for it to happen. Even if your budget isn’t enough to meet the scope of work, during the consultation phase we can look about scaling down your project to meet your finances.
Step 2: Consultation
The next big step is the consultation. We travel to the location of the project to start planning out the project in detail. This isn’t simply us looking around and then handing you an estimation: this is a complete project proposal, including measurements, research, engineering software, and a detailed plan on the proposed project. When getting to the consultation phase, it helps to have a good idea of what project you want. Remember: while we can suggest and provide plans for multiple ideas, it takes us longer. While we do charge an hourly rate for consultations, if we’re awarded the project the charges are deducted from the final project invoice.
Step 3: Permits and Preparation
After the project has been approved, a few things need to happen before we break ground. First, several agencies need to be informed and permits acquired. The state of Massachusetts requires permits to be acquired when excavation occurs: your city may require additional permits. The following may be required:
- “Trench” or “Excavation and Trench” permits, which you can read more about here.
- Building Permits will be needed for foundation projects, which you can read about here.
- Call Before You Dig requires notification 3 days before digging, read more about it here.
Often these permits are the cause for delays in construction. Once you’re getting ready for a project, the sooner you start filling out and submitting the paperwork, the sooner the project can take off.
We hope that this timeline has helped you understand the process that is undergone before a project can be started. If you’re interested in learning what you can do to help speed along a project with us, let us know. If you haven’t started the process yet, reach out to us by requesting a consultation.