How many people on this forum do retail work, and deal with GC's that work nation wide?
I am curious and intersted in you horror stories or good ones, and how did you deal with the horrors.
Inch thick plus contracts. Promises of when you will be paid. Projects Mgr's who are behind in there paper work. Soooooo change orders dont get signed, payments are late, or how about all the freakin lien waivers you need as a sub to get paid?
Contract law is based on the fiction that all parties to the contract are equal. While one may quibble over the details, one thing is still true: you need not agree to their terms, and they need not hire you.
Still, there is no sense lumping all "big corporations" together. Some are great, others are nightmares. With every merger / acquisition / restructuring, etc ... what was true of a firm yesterday may not be true today.
Let me give you an example, from here in Reno. Within blocks of each other are two major casinos. Casino "A" has a well earned reputation for playing games, never paying until you sue, trying to get you to reduce the agreed amount bill after the work is done, etc. Casino "P," on the other hand, simply has you present your invoice to the cashier, and you're paid on the spot. Vastly different operations ... though, to an newcomer, they look almost identical from the outside.
A certain supermarket calls me, and the store manager pays me promptly - usually within a few days. A competing chain needed the work done ASAP - then piled on paperwork, and delayed payment, for months afterwards.
You refusal to accept unfair or illegal conditions does have an impact. Rumor has it that one of the "bad guys" I referred to has begun to have trouble, nationwide, finding contractors. I hear that store managers, for the first time, are allowed to directly contract, and pay for, some work. The message is getting through.
Likewise, it is common for me to be asked to wire up some sort of equipment for the installer/manufacturer. Their contracts are usually chock full of requirements that are illegal in Nevada. I take exception, noting this fact, and return them unsigned. Amazingly enough, these firms have no trouble producing a Nevada-compliant contract.
My company does about 60 % comercial work the rest is industrial. I'm currently doing a tenant fitup for a nation wide Gc. The bottom line on my end is follow the print that our estimator bid on.... Anything above or beyond, is a change order, EXTRA $$. Don't be shy, and don't just do what you know, or the inspector says. Do all work per the print. If you see a problem get it in writing!!!! The print which you bid on is your bible. The customer is always right, after they sign for changes..The other thing I can tell you is if you deviate from specs provided to you the customer may nail you, so read the specs several times. If you are sharp you should be able to make some money and have a satisfied Gc, and end customers.
Unless you've been trained within a market/craft niche at another's expense ( ie your prior employer ) you'll lose your shirt jumping into this game in todays market.
ALL of your competition will be better positioned and margins right now stink NATIONWIDE.
Any national or major regional firm/retailer will know more about what it costs to build their stuff than you do, much, much more.
This is the season for contractor-refugees from the residential construction collapse to totally lose everything learning how things go wrong in commercial construction.
Virtually everything that is true in residential is turned upside down in commercial starting with the faster you build the longer it's going to take for you to get done.
That paradox will only make sense after you've tripped yourself up trying to work at the tempo customary in tract construction.
Be very, very wary. Only proceed with veteran talent.