Recently, we wanted to learn what factors most influence a commercial, government, or institutional customer during challenging economic times. To do so, we called 20 of our previous customers to learn what was most important to them when they made their choice of a contractor on their commercial construction project. The group included schools, healthcare providers, and other commercial and government customers with projects that Ramtech completed within the first six months of 2011. These projects included both permanent and temporary modular buildings of various sizes and complexities. The responses generally revolved around the following areas in order of priority:
- Cost Savings
- Superior Quality
- Successful Track Record
- Flexible Contract Approach
- Financial Strength
Pertaining to cost savings, virtually every customer pointed out that they saved money because the main scopes of work were self-performed by Ramtech, including design, manufacturing, and construction. Quality was also of great importance. The ability to value engineer a high-performance building with an efficient layout and low maintenance, all while incorporating a high degree of energy efficiency and structural integrity, were critical areas of consideration.
The integrity of and communication with our employees was also at the top of many customers’ lists. They recognized that Ramtech’s 30 year history includes many staff and management employees with tenures over 15 years. The level of confidence in dealing with a sales associate, estimator, engineer, or production and construction professional that has been in the commercial modular industry for this length of time provided them with a high degree of trust that the project was being managed by seasoned professionals. This personnel experience was also viewed as instrumental in ensuring the clients that their project would be completed on time and within budget. Many noted that Ramtech’s resume included completing over 2,500 projects without ever leaving a job unfinished.
Not having to go through a costly and inefficient procurement process like design-bid-build was also high on the list of reasons that Ramtech became the contractor of choice. Our ability, particularly in education, to provide temporary and permanent buildings through purchasing co-ops like the BuyBoard, or through flexible design-build contracts, was also listed as instrumental in many of the purchase decisions.
Lastly financial strength, especially in turbulent economic times, was a key factor for many clients. They noted that Ramtech has been profitable for 29 of its 30 years in business, has an excellent capitalization with zero bank debt, and maintains a strong aggregate bonding capability.
With the turmoil that has engulfed many contractors in all areas of the commercial construction industry over the past few years, each of these points provides a good blueprint to consider when making an expensive capital expenditure decision like a new building. Getting the right value and a cost effective solution to your facility space needs can be accomplished even when times are tough.
Gary White is Vice President of Sales & Estimating at Ramtech Building Systems, Inc. He has been in the commercial modular industry for 33 years and is responsible for the management of all sales and estimating efforts across each of Ramtech’s key market segments: Education, Government, Medical, and Commercial.