There is a tendency to try and keep our competitors in the dark so that we can maintain our competitive advantage. Following are the reasons why I think this is the wrong approach:
Competing against uneducated competition
When people have multiple contractors bid on a project and there’s a significant gap between the low bid and high bid, consumers will often opt for the low cost, low value bid. Consumers often regret this decision in hindsight, but by that point the opportunity has passed. If I’m biding against other contractors that employ quality products and sound building techniques, my bid will be compared on a level playing field.
The more people there are who trust that they’ll receive satisfactory service from the construction industry, the more potential customers there’ll be in the marketplace. If someone has had a negative construction experience, they will likely avoid having to deal with the problem in the future. On almost every remodel project that I do, the scope of work increases, because the client adds new items to the agenda. Along with a home remodel usually comes all of the little home repairs that have been left unattended. If the client wasn’t happy with how the remodel project was proceeding, they wouldn’t add on the extras and that work would most likely be left undone. I think there are a lot of potential projects out there that are left undone because people are intimidated by engaging with the construction industry.
No one has a monopoly on the truth.
I’ve come across people in the trades that didn’t want to share their knowledge for fear that if they did, people would just do their own work or they wouldn’t have a leg up on their competition. I find that if you’re a helpful person, word gets around and the business that’s gained far outweighs any potential work that would be lost by obstructing the flow of information. Also if someone is worried about losing business by sharing information, they are seriously undervaluing the years of experience and dedication that it takes to become truly competent in the trades. Aside from that, the information is already out there. There are so many quality trade manuals, magazines and websites out there that it’s impossible to keep the information from those who seek it.
Raise the overall quality level
Many suppliers and sub-contractors are accustomed to dealing with contractors who are perpetually seeking the lowest possible price. This has lead to the creation of a plethora of products that are basically disposable building supplies. These products take up space, sometimes making it difficult to find basic supplies that were produced in a quality way.
The more people demand quality products, the more suppliers will carry those quality products. If the first criteria was quality and the second criteria was cost more quality products would be produced and the cost for those products would come down. As it is now, many products that I feel should represent the bottom end of the quality spectrum are selling at premium prices, rather than the commodity prices that they should be selling at and would be selling at if demand were higher.
Products that are not made to last are one of the biggest waste producing problems in the construction industry from an environmental standpoint. Most people will not knowingly leave behind a product that is bound to fail. Pore quality in the remodeling industry is usually a result of installers not fully understanding the impact of low quality products or services or not being aware of the correct approach. This is just another area where more education leads to better results for everyone.
In conclusion, I feel that the industry as a whole only stands to gain from a wider dispersion of sound information. For those who want to go above and beyond, there’s always room for a select few to stand out from the rest, but it’s not by restricting information. Those who excel do so through extra hard work and dedication to their craft.