As Supply Chain Issues Continue, How Can Contractors Help?
It is a difficult time for the construction industry, which is facing unprecedented levels of materials shortages and labor inefficiencies, on top of the many issues caused by stay-at-home orders and Covid outbreaks. As developers, owners, architects and engineers work overtime to make up for pandemic-driven delays, it is more important than ever for them to trust that they have the right contractors by their side to get the job done.
Johnny Moseley, founder of D.C.-based Moseley Multi-Family, understands the challenges project stakeholders are facing right now, which is why he has been working to educate the industry on how to avoid some common pitfalls projects can fall into. Specifically, he has created a podcast dedicated to helping industry professionals choose the right contractor for their multifamily renovations.
“This is our way to give back to the multifamily community,” Moseley said. “We have taken over many jobs because the owner hired the wrong contractor, and if they had known what questions to ask they could have saved themselves lost time and lost rents.”
Moseley said the first question owners need to ask themselves before hiring a contractor is: Is it large enough to get the job done? He said that while a four-person outfit might be able to complete a unit or two every month, a project that requires three or more units to be finished each month needs a company with more resources and manpower. On larger projects, it is not unusual for Moseley to renovate up to 40 units per month.
Additionally, larger projects call for a company with a procurement system in place to ensure that the right product is on the job at the right time, which is especially true today.
“A good contractor has a centralized and organized supply chain management system for procurement,” he said. “This is particularly key in today's environment when supply chain disruptions are absolutely crazy. I have four different people in my organization focused on managing procurement right now, and we used to do it with just one before Covid.”
The second thing owners should be asking themselves when hiring a contractor, Moseley said, is: Do they have the experience for the job?
Moseley Multi-Family focuses on multifamily renovations, specifically, and he said that often multifamily owners will rely on a person who has completed small jobs for them — repainting, or updating a few features — to take on a full renovation job. Sometimes, these people can successfully complete one unit, but when owners then need several units or entire floors redone, they may soon find themselves in over their heads.
Moseley gave one example of a project his company took over, Lincoln at Fair Oaks, an apartment complex in Fairfax, Virginia. The original contractor hired for the project was asked to finish six units each month, but it took 60 days to renovate two units. As a result, the owners had lost more than $16K in rent, and could have lost up to $100K if the contractor had continued on this timeline. Moseley took over the job, and within two months had renovated 60 units.
“The contractor didn’t understand the manpower that it would take to get this job done,” Moseley said. “He didn’t have dedicated procurement teams, so his team wouldn’t have the materials they needed, which was causing massive delays. He also didn’t have the right financial resources to order all of the materials upfront.”
Ideally, Moseley said, a contractor won't even start a job until it has all the materials it will need upfront to avoid any gaps in the process, which is how his team operates. Also, he said, while other contractors may need to call in several different teams to handle each part of a renovation, Moseley only uses his own crew, which also helps avoid scheduling delays.
The bottom line, Moseley said, is that owners need to do their research before hiring a contractor if they want to ensure they are working with someone who can help them achieve their goals on their timeline.
“The main thing to ask is for references from a management company where the contractor has successfully turned the same or more units than your projection,” Moseley said. “If they haven’t done it somewhere else, they most likely won’t be able to do it for you.”
To learn more, listen to the Multi-Family By Mosely podcast.
This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Moseley Multi-Family. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
Studio B is Bisnow’s in-house branded content studio. To learn more about how Studio B can help your team, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.