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Selecting a General Contractor for Eco Express

     One facet of the development process is choosing who and how the wash in built.  There are two primary methods – competitive bid or design-build.  In the competitive bid process, the car wash is first designed, approved and construction drawings are rendered.  Those drawings are then put out to several General Contractors (GC) who submit bids on the project.  Each general contractor gathers bids from subcontractor (sometimes the same subcontractors as the other GC’s).  The bids are then evaluated based upon factors such as completeness, cost, prior experience, etc.   This has been a common method for General Contracting for many years, and draws its roots from government contracting where the lowest bidder is perceived as the best value and typically wins the contract.

      The other method which can be used in some circumstances is design-build.   In this circumstance, the General Contractor is selected ahead of time during the architecture phase.  The GC then becomes a defacto advisor to the project and can assist early on during design decisions regarding feasibility, cost, and alternatives.  The car wash owner benefits by making changes to the design early in the process while the project is still on paper and avoids costly change orders later on.  It also allows for more accurate cost estimates before final financing is sought.  The down side to design-build is you must be very comfortable with the GC you select and know ahead of time they are the best contractor for the job.

      We have worked with many GC’s over the years and have seen which ones perform well and those that have not.  For this project we selected a GC ahead of time with a design-build concept.  Not only did this assist us in the design process, but it helped us iron out technical details early on and saved substantial time in the drawing phase.