Episode 1

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Published on:

16th Nov 2023

Finding and Vetting Reliable Building Contractors with Linden Dover | 001

In this episode of the Architecture Business Club podcast, host Jon Clayton talks with Linden Dover, co-founder and COO of Weaver, an online platform that assists architects and design professionals in finding, vetting, and hiring building contractors. Linden shares the rigorous three-step approach adopted by Weaver to vet contractors, emphasizing the importance of continual assessment. He also discusses his past experiences, specifically a 2016 instance regarding a rogue contractor that eventually led to the founding of Weaver. Ultimately, the continual vetting process maximises the chances of a successful match between a project and contractor and also ensures clients have a pleasant experience.

Today's Guest...

Linden Dover is an entrepreneur and seasoned property development professional with a deep-rooted passion for design, craftsmanship, and innovation. As the Co-Founder and COO of Weaver, an online platform connecting contractors to home renovation projects in the UK, he has cultivated a thriving network of trusted professionals. The platform, recognized and backed by influential industry leaders like BTOV, FJ Labs, and Atlassian Executives, stands as a testament to his commitment to elevating the construction and renovation industry.

Episode Highlights...

00:00 Introduction and Overview

01:01 Meet the Guest: Linden Dover

01:57 Linden's Personal Journey and Relocation to Mallorca

03:02 The Birth of Weaver: A Story of Overcoming Challenges

06:55 The Weaver Vetting Process: Ensuring Quality Contractors

14:38 The Importance of Continual Assessment

16:47 The Two-Way Vetting Process: Ensuring Quality Projects

18:31 Tips for Finding the Right Contractor

23:09 The Importance of Respect and Communication in the Construction Industry

27:54 Linden's Favorite Place: A Hidden Gem in Mallorca

29:37 Conclusion and Farewell

Key Takeaways...

👉Do your due diligence: Don't just rely on looks or recommendations. Interrogate and thoroughly assess potential contractors.

👉Visit ongoing projects: Whenever possible, go visit a project that the contractor is currently working on. This will give you a good sense of their workmanship and the way they conduct themselves on site.

👉Verify credentials: Check if the contractor has the appropriate insurances and references for your specific type of project. Make sure they have the necessary experience and expertise.

👉Get references and verify them: Reach out to past clients and ask them about their experience working with the contractor. Ask about their communication, timeliness, and ability to resolve disputes.

 👉Continual assessment: Look for contractors who are continually assessed and have a good track record. Consider working with platforms or networks that provide ongoing evaluation and feedback.

👉Consider specialization: If your project requires specific skills or expertise (e.g., sustainable design, unique materials), ensure that the contractor has experience in that area.

👉Avoid solely focusing on price: While cost is an important factor, prioritize factors such as communication, timeliness, and overall fit for your project. Cheaper quotes may lead to unexpected costs and low-quality work.

👉Provide feedback: Communicate with contractors and provide feedback on their performance. This helps them improve and ensures transparency.

Links Mentioned In The Episode...

Learn more about Weaver at…

https://www.weaver.build/architects

Linden’s LinkedIn Profile

https://www.linkedin.com/in/linden-dover-1b080315

Linden’s Email Address

linden@weaver.build

What To Do Next...

📐Get Jon’s free weekly email newsletter (so you never miss an episode).

https://mrjonclayton.co.uk/abc

📐Leave a positive review to support the show.

https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/architecture-business-club-5485140

📐Connect with Jon on LinkedIn (with a personalized connection request).

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mrjonclayton/

📐Find Jon on other social media platforms by searching for…

@mrjonclayton

📐Subscribe to Jon’s YouTube channel here.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGZOAac4salmSX0wWRT7JUg

📐Visit Jon’s website here.

https://mrjonclayton.co.uk/

In The Next Episode...

Jon chats to Janine Coombes, a service positioning expert about how to better position your offers and feel confident in how much you charge.

Transcript
Jon Clayton:

What do you do when your go-to building

Jon Clayton:

contractors are booked up solid?

Jon Clayton:

And you need to find and vet a new building contractor for one of

Jon Clayton:

your residential design projects.

Jon Clayton:

Today, I'm joined by Linden Dover and that is exactly what we're going to help

Jon Clayton:

you with in this episode of Architecture Business Club, the weekly podcast for

Jon Clayton:

solo and small firm architecture practice owners, just like you who want to build

Jon Clayton:

a profitable future proof architecture business that fits around their life.

Jon Clayton:

I'm the host Jon Clayton.

Jon Clayton:

And if you want to get notified, when I release a new episode and get access to

Jon Clayton:

free resources and exclusive offers, then go to mrjonclayton.co.uk/abc and sign

Jon Clayton:

up for my free weekly email newsletter.

Jon Clayton:

Now let's discuss how to find and vet building contractors.

Jon Clayton:

Linden Dover is an entrepreneur and seasoned property development

Jon Clayton:

professional with a deep rooted passion for design, craftsmanship and innovation.

Jon Clayton:

He's the co founder and COO of Weaver, an online platform for residential

Jon Clayton:

design architects and architectural design professionals to handle

Jon Clayton:

projects budgeting and tendering fast, and to connect contractors to home

Jon Clayton:

renovation projects across the UK.

Jon Clayton:

Linden is committed to elevating the construction and renovation industry.

Jon Clayton:

He's cultivated a thriving network of trusted construction professionals

Jon Clayton:

and helped to create a superb online platform that is backed by several

Jon Clayton:

influential industry leaders.

Jon Clayton:

You can find out more about Weaver at weaver.build/architects.

Jon Clayton:

Linden, welcome Architecture Business Club.

Linden Dover:

Thanks so much, Jon, for having me and for

Linden Dover:

that lovely introduction.

Jon Clayton:

You're very welcome.

Jon Clayton:

Um, you've recently relocated to Mallorca.

Jon Clayton:

Uh, how are you

Jon Clayton:

enjoying Island life?

Linden Dover:

Uh, it's great.

Linden Dover:

Yeah, lots of outdoors, um, and getting that sort of work life

Linden Dover:

balance that I've always strived for.

Linden Dover:

So yeah, really enjoying it.

Linden Dover:

And, um, I think, you know, I'm still outside every day

Linden Dover:

in a t shirt at the moment.

Linden Dover:

Um, so yeah, it's, it's good so far.

Linden Dover:

I've only been here for three weeks, so, uh, I'm bedding in.

Jon Clayton:

Early days.

Jon Clayton:

It sounds fantastic though.

Jon Clayton:

Um, I mean, it makes you feel any better than you already do.

Jon Clayton:

It's been pouring with rain in Norfolk today.

Jon Clayton:

And, uh, I got absolutely soaked this morning, uh, on the dog walk.

Jon Clayton:

So, um, I'd much

Jon Clayton:

rather be in Mallorca.

Linden Dover:

Yeah, fair enough.

Linden Dover:

I'm sure I'll be back soon enough to meet, sort of, uh, more people from

Linden Dover:

the network that I've obviously been cultivating, but, uh, but yeah, and

Linden Dover:

family, but at the moment I'm, uh, I'm here till, till Christmas, so it's, uh,

Linden Dover:

it's, I'm enjoying the nice weather.

Linden Dover:

Yeah, for sure.

Jon Clayton:

Oh, not jealous at all.

Jon Clayton:

Um, so we're going to talk about how to find and vet building contractors

Jon Clayton:

for residential design projects.

Jon Clayton:

Um, You had a very bad experience in 2016 with a Rogue Contractor.

Jon Clayton:

Um, could you tell the story of what happened and how that

Jon Clayton:

led to the founding of Weaver?

Linden Dover:

Yeah, sure.

Linden Dover:

I mean, to go back a bit, my background was in, after university, I was doing

Linden Dover:

project management, uh, construction project management and site management,

Linden Dover:

working my way through sort of small house extensions, lofts, site extensions, etc.

Linden Dover:

Then went to work for a large main contractor in, in the middle

Linden Dover:

of London, working on sort of quite large, um, developments.

Linden Dover:

Uh, taking embassies into eight luxury flats, that sort of thing.

Linden Dover:

Um, so millions of pounds worth of, of extensions and refurbs.

Linden Dover:

Um, and then with that knowledge, I was able to go off and, and, um, help

Linden Dover:

a small family fund, uh, try and, uh, make sure that their money was, uh,

Linden Dover:

working as hard as it could and, uh, have a go at becoming a development

Linden Dover:

manager and working, uh, in partnership in a property development company.

Linden Dover:

Um, and that was, um, small info plots, you know, up to sort of.

Linden Dover:

Five flats at one time, um, and we did about six of them

Linden Dover:

over three or four years.

Linden Dover:

So it was interesting, varied, um, and you know, we were under pressure though,

Linden Dover:

to make a return as every developer is.

Linden Dover:

And, um, there was one in particular, one development where we basically bought it.

Linden Dover:

To for too much.

Linden Dover:

Um, we were always chasing our tail.

Linden Dover:

We probably should have just sold it with planning and being right.

Linden Dover:

That's a loss and move on to the next.

Linden Dover:

But we were eager to get ourselves dig ourselves out

Linden Dover:

of the hole, which is mistake.

Linden Dover:

Number one, trying to find a way to make a bad deal.

Linden Dover:

Good.

Linden Dover:

Um, but we went with a contractor and um, We really didn't.

Linden Dover:

They were experienced on paper in terms of their overall experience,

Linden Dover:

but the individual company and that was one of the areas was was not.

Linden Dover:

It was young.

Linden Dover:

Um, so we took references for the individual, not for

Linden Dover:

the company they were under.

Linden Dover:

Um, so from there things went from bad to worse.

Linden Dover:

Um, and, um, I did a lot of the checks that I normally do.

Linden Dover:

Um, but the company just wasn't, um, mature enough.

Linden Dover:

Uh, and, uh, they sadly, um, were, uh, someone that, that folded on us and

Linden Dover:

I had to end up being the contracts manager and scrabbling it to the finish

Linden Dover:

myself with the trades underneath.

Linden Dover:

So it was like going backwards for me being a site manager again,

Linden Dover:

uh, with added pressure of trying to bring it in on budget, which.

Linden Dover:

Sadly, we didn't.

Linden Dover:

So that whole experience of, uh, quite a dark time for me sort of professionally

Linden Dover:

and personally because I didn't, um, vet and be stringent enough in my outlook

Linden Dover:

when I was, when I was trying to negotiate with a contractor, trying to get them on

Linden Dover:

to a project that was difficult anyway.

Linden Dover:

Um, so yeah, I didn't help myself there at all, but from that experience,

Linden Dover:

from the ashes of that experience, I realized there must be a better way to

Linden Dover:

find a contractor, not just through.

Linden Dover:

Um, your own sort of black book or through recommendation through, um,

Linden Dover:

uh, other professionals, but there must be an online place to go and find

Linden Dover:

contractors where they have a presence.

Linden Dover:

Um, and there wasn't one that really suited everything that I needed and

Linden Dover:

I teamed up with my business partner, Greg Keane, who was also going

Linden Dover:

through something frustrating where he couldn't find the right caliber

Linden Dover:

contractors for his, um, architecture interiors practice he was running.

Linden Dover:

So, yeah, from, from.

Linden Dover:

R2 frustrations, um, Weaver was born and, um, you know, fast forward sort

Linden Dover:

of six, seven years later, um, we are here with a platform that's answering

Linden Dover:

a lot of those and giving a lot more rigor to, uh, vetting contractors.

Jon Clayton:

That, um, that experience sounds like it was a bit of a

Jon Clayton:

nightmare, but how fantastic that

Jon Clayton:

something good has come out of it.

Linden Dover:

Silver lining.

Linden Dover:

Yeah.

Jon Clayton:

Absolutely.

Jon Clayton:

Absolutely.

Jon Clayton:

So, um, You've developed a formula at Weaver for finding the best contractors

Jon Clayton:

to finding good, good contractors.

Jon Clayton:

Could you tell me the first step in that vetting process?

Linden Dover:

Yeah.

Linden Dover:

I think not everyone gets in.

Linden Dover:

Um, uh, I think for every sort of 10 contractors that try and come onto the

Linden Dover:

platform, uh, you know, nine are rejected.

Linden Dover:

And, um, uh, gently let down, nor rejected.

Linden Dover:

Um, and I think there's a, there's a three step approach, right?

Linden Dover:

So, um, we look at vetting them, um, uh, with the information

Linden Dover:

they give us, uh, to begin with.

Linden Dover:

So, we ask the contractors to upload past projects.

Linden Dover:

And that means that we know that they have undertaken projects of a

Linden Dover:

certain size, of a certain quality.

Linden Dover:

And we get them to upload, um, images, and also the address, and...

Linden Dover:

Crucially, references that we can then verify.

Linden Dover:

Um, so, so with that in mind that they're building their profile, but we're also

Linden Dover:

getting to understand what they've done.

Linden Dover:

And, um, that's the first step.

Jon Clayton:

That sounds like a smart move.

Jon Clayton:

What, what happens after you've done that, that first step?

Jon Clayton:

What's the next step in that process that you're using?

Linden Dover:

Yeah, so, um, once we've got their details and they've

Linden Dover:

built their profile, we then...

Linden Dover:

We actually call up every single project that they've put up there as part of their

Linden Dover:

profile and we verify with a reference.

Linden Dover:

So the referee gets an email and a questionnaire to fill in about

Linden Dover:

the contractor and they also get photos saying, you know, is this

Linden Dover:

the project that they worked on together under this limited company?

Linden Dover:

So we verify that way and then we call them up and we ask them other

Linden Dover:

questions around, you know, would you work with the contractor again?

Linden Dover:

Is this the company that you work with?

Linden Dover:

We're really digging into sort of, you know, Whether they are a bonafide,

Linden Dover:

a limited company that they would be enjoy working with on another project.

Linden Dover:

Um, so crucially that that two step verification, um, and, um, that sort

Linden Dover:

of bleeds into at the same time.

Linden Dover:

We're also, um, checking that company risks.

Linden Dover:

Um, and we do that by going to company's house and making sure that

Linden Dover:

the company directors, um, and the company actually match and they are

Linden Dover:

bona fide and they also haven't got any insolvencies over the last five years.

Linden Dover:

And we're looking at their, the sort of anomalies that we've built up as

Linden Dover:

a pattern for contractors who have, uh, a poor history of rogue trading.

Linden Dover:

And that can be, um, anywhere from, Um, you know, setting up companies and similar

Linden Dover:

names and closing them down again, um, or having multiple insolvencies or having

Linden Dover:

a large range of different companies that aren't to do with construction.

Linden Dover:

Um, so we dig into the reasons there as well.

Linden Dover:

So, yeah, spotting negative signals, I think, within companies house and

Linden Dover:

making sure that we've questioned and really interrogated those.

Linden Dover:

That's the second step.

Jon Clayton:

That's already sounding, um, really quite robust

Jon Clayton:

compared to the way that many people would, would go about this.

Jon Clayton:

Um, sounds like there's, there's quite a lot that's going into that process.

Jon Clayton:

So, um, I'm liking the sound of it sounding good, very thorough.

Linden Dover:

I think a lot of architects do this already.

Linden Dover:

I think it's getting their clients to do it and I think it's the time it takes to

Linden Dover:

do it properly, um, when you are trying to get, um, a tender pack together and

Linden Dover:

you're trying to do all the many things that architects have to do, all the

Linden Dover:

hats you have to wear, um, all the time.

Linden Dover:

So this is just another added thing.

Linden Dover:

You're being pestered by lots of different people, um, as an architect.

Linden Dover:

And what we're trying to do is.

Linden Dover:

Be another tool in your, um, in your armory where you can say, right,

Linden Dover:

Weaver can help reduce the time it takes to find reliable contractors.

Linden Dover:

And I know I need to do these vetting checks, but I know that we've

Linden Dover:

have done a lot of them already.

Linden Dover:

Um, so you're right, it's, um, homeowners might just go off a recommendation,

Linden Dover:

but I know that good architects are always doing their own due diligence.

Linden Dover:

So we're just, we're just saving them time.

Linden Dover:

That's what we're trying to do.

Jon Clayton:

Yeah, I love that, that it's, this is something that, as you

Jon Clayton:

say, there are going to be architectural practices out there that are doing their

Jon Clayton:

own vetting anyway, and maybe have a similar process, but Weaver is serving

Jon Clayton:

as a time saving tool that they can use.

Jon Clayton:

To kind of stick to doing what they're best, what they enjoy doing

Jon Clayton:

most, and to let somebody else do some of the other things in their

Jon Clayton:

business that still need to be done.

Jon Clayton:

Um, and you mentioned there also about when home owners might be

Jon Clayton:

finding their own contractors.

Jon Clayton:

I guess that that's something that, um, that there's some

Jon Clayton:

pitfalls there, isn't there?

Jon Clayton:

Yes, particularly on smaller residential to.

Jon Clayton:

design a renovation or extension projects and maybe assist with

Jon Clayton:

planning and building control.

Jon Clayton:

And then the homeowner might go off and

Jon Clayton:

find their own contractors.

Jon Clayton:

Um,

Linden Dover:

Yeah, you hear of lots of horror stories, um, and road traders

Linden Dover:

out there and also homeowners getting themselves into a muddle when they

Linden Dover:

don't have an architect, um, helping them, you know, holding their hand,

Linden Dover:

um, through something that is, uh, very emotive and can be, you know, one of

Linden Dover:

the most expensive things that they're undertaking apart from buying the house.

Linden Dover:

Um, so there's a lot of decisions to be made.

Linden Dover:

And one of the key things is getting the right.

Linden Dover:

Contractor on the project can kill a project.

Linden Dover:

If you don't, you know, you're, you're, you're getting in, you're,

Linden Dover:

you're inviting them into your home.

Linden Dover:

You're almost getting into bed with them for, you know, at least three months.

Linden Dover:

So you need to make sure you're getting the right, um, uh, credentials

Linden Dover:

and the right rapport being built.

Linden Dover:

And it's difficult to do that if you're just going off.

Linden Dover:

Oh, a friend down the road, they did a good job, so I'm sure they'll do a

Linden Dover:

good job of mine, or I've got this, you know, I've heard so many times

Linden Dover:

before, this guy's done my bathroom, he'll be fine doing my extension.

Linden Dover:

So you've really got to put some, some thought into who you're getting prices

Linden Dover:

back from, because I think a lot of people just want, want quotes, just give me some

Linden Dover:

quotes, and then you're like, well, Who's actually going to give you the best quote

Linden Dover:

that actually, um, will give you a clear indication of how much it's going to

Linden Dover:

cost, um, not just what you want to hear.

Linden Dover:

Um, and what you, what maybe you can afford.

Linden Dover:

So I think, you know, finding a good contractor.

Linden Dover:

Who's right for the job and that matching processes is is again But a secret

Linden Dover:

source about what weaver does is it's not just presenting vetted contractors.

Linden Dover:

It's making sure that they are location Making sure that their

Linden Dover:

experience and their availability is right for you as the as a client.

Jon Clayton:

Okay.

Jon Clayton:

Yeah, that that makes a lot of sense.

Jon Clayton:

Uh, so, okay.

Jon Clayton:

So we've in this process so far, there's been some due due diligence done in terms

Jon Clayton:

of checking credentials, checking on company's house, you've done some checking

Jon Clayton:

with The, uh, past clients so that you've, you've asked for some information to

Jon Clayton:

be uploaded about the projects that the contractors have worked on, collated some

Jon Clayton:

contact details, reached out and spoken to some of their previous customers.

Jon Clayton:

Um, what else happens as part of, of this process of vetting?

Jon Clayton:

Remember, don't forget to subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter.

Jon Clayton:

You can do that at mrjonclayton.co.uk/abc.

Jon Clayton:

And if you are enjoying this episode then please visit podchaser.com,

Jon Clayton:

search for Architecture Business Club and leave a five star review.

Jon Clayton:

Now, back to the show.

Linden Dover:

Yeah, so I think that the third element is the continual

Linden Dover:

assessment and it's we want to make sure that we've got contractors that

Linden Dover:

are continually Um, going to be up to scratch, up to mustard, uh, to work

Linden Dover:

on these architect led projects that we're attracting onto our marketplace.

Linden Dover:

And so, how do we go about that?

Linden Dover:

Well, we talk to the architects that are using our network and

Linden Dover:

their clients and get feedback.

Linden Dover:

Um, how did these contracts perform in terms of the tender, but also in terms

Linden Dover:

of onsite and how are they performing?

Linden Dover:

You know, you can be in touch with us and we're here.

Linden Dover:

Um, and we're wanting to foster relationships with both good

Linden Dover:

contractors, quality contracts.

Linden Dover:

We're celebrating quality contractors, but also attracting more architect

Linden Dover:

led projects all the time.

Linden Dover:

So we have a.

Linden Dover:

an interest in making sure that these contractors are continually assessed.

Linden Dover:

And also I go as far as saying, and I think, you know, when you

Linden Dover:

speak to Weaver vetted contractors, they say the same, they're seeing

Linden Dover:

us as a pipeline of business.

Linden Dover:

And so an architect might be able to give them maybe one project a year, but

Linden Dover:

we're trying to give them three or four.

Linden Dover:

So they see us as a, as quite a large part of their business plan.

Linden Dover:

And so, you know, When hopefully, um, an architect comes to us and says, how are

Linden Dover:

they, how are they doing, uh, we can say, well, you know, can we make sure that they

Linden Dover:

know they're being continuously assessed and hopefully they might pull up their

Linden Dover:

socks more because it's a Weaver project.

Linden Dover:

That's the idea, is to make sure that we've got really engaged

Linden Dover:

quality contractors, um, offering a, uh, a service, uh, that architects

Linden Dover:

and their clients are looking for.

Jon Clayton:

I love that, that there's this continual assessment

Jon Clayton:

because I mean, contractor quality and reliability can change over time.

Jon Clayton:

So it's good to hear that the process that you have in place, it's not kind

Jon Clayton:

of like a once and done that you are kind of continually assessing those

Jon Clayton:

contractors and they're incentivized as well on the platform with, you know,

Jon Clayton:

that opportunity for kind of repeat business through the platform as well.

Jon Clayton:

So, um, I could see how that could, could

Jon Clayton:

work really effectively.

Linden Dover:

Yeah, and what I would say for the, you know, thinking

Linden Dover:

about the contractor's point of view is that we're vetting both ways.

Linden Dover:

Well, you know, we want them to make sure that they are being

Linden Dover:

efficient with their time.

Linden Dover:

They work extremely hard and I'm not sure that clients specifically realize

Linden Dover:

how much money and energy and time goes into producing quotes for their projects.

Linden Dover:

I think sometimes they can just...

Linden Dover:

Feel like these numbers get magicked out of the air, but actually there's

Linden Dover:

a, there's a whole process around, you know, doing, um, takeoffs properly of, of

Linden Dover:

different materials and, and, um, making sure that, that they've actually come

Linden Dover:

up with a price that is bespoke to your project and, um, What we're trying to do

Linden Dover:

is saying, look, we vetted these projects in terms of how serious the client is.

Linden Dover:

You know, we've got a relationship with the architect.

Linden Dover:

They're looking for a specific, uh, type of builder in this area, who, who

Linden Dover:

can start on site within these months.

Linden Dover:

And so they know that, that, that we've have, have done that, um,

Linden Dover:

uh, uh, vetting of the project.

Linden Dover:

So they're happy to.

Linden Dover:

invest their time into, uh, engaging with projects that come through.

Linden Dover:

So I think there is that two, two, two way street in terms of we're

Linden Dover:

not just vetting the contractors and making sure they're good.

Linden Dover:

We're also making sure we're introducing them to a serious pipeline of projects.

Jon Clayton:

I love that.

Jon Clayton:

So by having that kind of two way process in place, you're essentially

Jon Clayton:

improving the chances of making a good match between the project and the

Jon Clayton:

contractor, making sure we've got a happy contractor on the project and also

Jon Clayton:

a happy client at the end of the job.

Linden Dover:

That's the aim of the game.

Linden Dover:

Yeah, absolutely.

Linden Dover:

Jon.

Jon Clayton:

Awesome.

Jon Clayton:

Um, okay.

Jon Clayton:

That's, that's been really helpful.

Jon Clayton:

Give me a really good overview.

Jon Clayton:

Um.

Jon Clayton:

To sum things up, what steps would you recommend, um, to, to any of us

Jon Clayton:

to find a better building contractor?

Jon Clayton:

Could you summarize what you've described in that vetting process?

Jon Clayton:

Uh, so that anybody could apply that if they're looking to, to find their

Jon Clayton:

own building contractor.

Linden Dover:

Yeah, I think make sure you do your due diligence, don't just,

Linden Dover:

um, go off looks or, um, or the last project that you've seen them do, um,

Linden Dover:

really interrogate and bonus point for actually going and seeing a site, um,

Linden Dover:

that is something that they've completed.

Linden Dover:

Ideally that is the same sort of size and budget and finish that you're

Linden Dover:

looking for Uh, and I would always try and go and have a look at something.

Linden Dover:

It's finished It's hard because you know people are living in these homes

Linden Dover:

So it's quite hard to sometimes knock on people's doors Um, if the contractor

Linden Dover:

doesn't know whether they're actually going to get the business But at least

Linden Dover:

try and go to a site that is in progress.

Linden Dover:

You can tell a lot by someone's um, tidiness, orderliness, how they engage

Linden Dover:

their, uh, their site, um, whether they've got a good health and safety board or

Linden Dover:

they, they, they, uh, are got, uh, they treat their materials in good condition

Linden Dover:

and they're not spread out everywhere.

Linden Dover:

Um, and, um, you know, you can tell a lot by a contractor when you meet them on site

Linden Dover:

and how they're conducting themselves.

Linden Dover:

Um, so, so that's, you know, as well as references.

Linden Dover:

try and go and see a project that's ongoing.

Linden Dover:

Um, and I would also, you know, when you're going through your, your to

Linden Dover:

do list, I'd make sure that they are appropriate in terms of, you know,

Linden Dover:

have they got the right insurances?

Linden Dover:

Um, have they got the right type of references for your, for your projects?

Linden Dover:

You know, what are you doing?

Linden Dover:

Are you doing a traditional extension?

Linden Dover:

Are you doing a mixed use development?

Linden Dover:

Are you doing a commercial?

Linden Dover:

You know, make sure you've got the right appropriate contractor for the job.

Linden Dover:

Um, and, um, And get out there and talk to people who have worked with them before.

Linden Dover:

And if you're going.

Linden Dover:

Prior to that if you're trying to look for contractors, obviously we're

Linden Dover:

a great source, but I would um, you know Sweat your own contacts as well.

Linden Dover:

I would Walk the area if you're new to the area, especially if you're a new

Linden Dover:

practice I'm sure people do this anyway, but you know when you're out and about

Linden Dover:

make an effort to see what hoardings are in the area Obviously you can go online

Linden Dover:

and look at other Google sources, etc, but they're unvetted I would I would

Linden Dover:

Use other consultants use architects.

Linden Dover:

They've already always a good place to find contractors So yeah,

Linden Dover:

if you're looking to source them that those are a few other ways

Linden Dover:

But yeah, I think what we've been through today is a good summary.

Linden Dover:

But on top of that it's insurances.

Linden Dover:

It's your own vetting in person and Making sure you take the time

Linden Dover:

to decide Between the contractors.

Linden Dover:

It's not just about the price.

Linden Dover:

Look at, uh, when you're comparing, uh, contractors, uh, quotes that you get back,

Linden Dover:

think about how you can assess them on communication, uh, on timeliness, budget

Linden Dover:

keeping, um, how they, how they resolve disputes, um, whether they understand

Linden Dover:

different types of, uh, contracts, because You might want to enter into

Linden Dover:

a, uh, a simpler or more complex, um, contract depending on the size and

Linden Dover:

complexity of the project, um, and their experience with working as a design team,

Linden Dover:

depending on which, um, construction, uh, contract you're going, going with.

Linden Dover:

So yeah, they're quite quite a few tips.

Linden Dover:

Hopefully.

Jon Clayton:

Brilliant.

Jon Clayton:

That's, that's fantastic.

Jon Clayton:

Thanks for that, Linden.

Jon Clayton:

Um, is there anything else that you wanted to say that we haven't already

Jon Clayton:

covered?

Linden Dover:

Yeah, I think we touched on it briefly.

Linden Dover:

I think, um, you know, contractors can change over time.

Linden Dover:

So, um, um, you know, we're, we're trying to grow with contractors and trying to

Linden Dover:

offer them opportunities to go from, uh, you know, a small outfit to hopefully

Linden Dover:

something that's a very well oiled outfit that they can go on to larger projects.

Linden Dover:

Um, so, yeah.

Linden Dover:

I think if you're, you're just a slice in time, uh, if you're just, if you're

Linden Dover:

employing them once as a homeowner, um, so make sure that you do your assessing

Linden Dover:

properly, looking at company's house, looking at, um, who they are today.

Linden Dover:

Um, But I think, I think trying to educate yourself about how, how much time and

Linden Dover:

energy they put into to your specific quote and giving them the time of day.

Linden Dover:

I think I see a lot of people, contractors can get a lot of, um, stick for all

Linden Dover:

being bunched into, um, you know, the rogue trader, they're all out to get you.

Linden Dover:

It was actually, there's a lot of passionate individuals out there who.

Linden Dover:

really enjoy what they do and they're coordinating a lot of different moving

Linden Dover:

parts for you and so I think it's taking the time out of your day to be

Linden Dover:

respectful and Respond to their, um, a just be nice and respond to their,

Linden Dover:

uh, efforts and, and give them reasons maybe why you're enjoying their service

Linden Dover:

or, or why you haven't gone with them.

Linden Dover:

I think that's really key.

Linden Dover:

I think a lot of the time they can sort of not hear anything for weeks because

Linden Dover:

people are busy, you know, homeowners generally are working hard to be able to

Linden Dover:

afford the extensions they want to do.

Linden Dover:

So I think, you know, um, feedback, I think is something that I

Linden Dover:

would always try and, um, get.

Linden Dover:

Busy architects and busy clients to try and offer as part of the whole.

Linden Dover:

quite fraught tender process, you know, uh, getting quotes back is quite, it's

Linden Dover:

quite a sort of, uh, crescendo in a way, but it's, um, of, of all the hard work,

Linden Dover:

getting the planning permission, getting the, uh, technical drawings together.

Linden Dover:

Um, so it's worth, worth taking your time over this.

Linden Dover:

Um, otherwise, you know, you can really, uh, get, uh, down the line.

Linden Dover:

If you just go with the lowest quote, um, you can get yourself into a mix up

Linden Dover:

because you haven't thoroughly thought about who's the best fit for my project.

Jon Clayton:

That's a really great point.

Jon Clayton:

Um, I mean, on that point there of taking the lowest quote, the amount of times

Jon Clayton:

that I've heard back from, um, previous design clients where I've maybe helped

Jon Clayton:

them with a partial service in the past with a home renovation design and, um,

Jon Clayton:

you know, later on, we talked about how the builders gone when I've, I've not

Jon Clayton:

necessarily been appointed for that.

Jon Clayton:

Uh, part of the projects and they've gone for the lowest quote.

Jon Clayton:

And then it turns out that by the time the job is actually finished,

Jon Clayton:

that their actual final spend is, is much higher because essentially

Jon Clayton:

there's been so many things that have been missed from that original quote.

Jon Clayton:

Um, that actually they're often like, Oh, we got free quotes and

Jon Clayton:

we went for the lowest one, but the final cost was, you know, more

Jon Clayton:

than the highest one.

Linden Dover:

Yeah, unfortunately that can be a lot of the time I hear from

Linden Dover:

quality contractors, they actually price themselves out of winning projects

Linden Dover:

because they're being very thorough and diligent with their, uh, quotes saying,

Linden Dover:

you know, you haven't actually, uh, on your schedule of works or your list of

Linden Dover:

things you want to get done, essentially, um, you, you haven't included for,

Linden Dover:

Uh, the drainage connections or, uh, the overheads, uh, around this area

Linden Dover:

or, you know, scaffolding needs to be up for how many weeks, et cetera.

Linden Dover:

So they really think about how you can practically undertake the project.

Linden Dover:

Not, Oh, here's my next cash flow.

Linden Dover:

Uh, you know, here's how I can get from, um, Rob Peter to pay Paul.

Linden Dover:

Um, so yeah, you need to watch out for that.

Linden Dover:

And I think maybe the last thing is we've been talking a lot about matching.

Linden Dover:

I think.

Linden Dover:

Dig into the experience and we're able to do that a lot because we get a lot

Linden Dover:

of information about the project on the platform, you know, the architect has

Linden Dover:

the option to add special requirements.

Linden Dover:

So, you know, do they have sustainable credentials?

Linden Dover:

You know, are they looking for a certain sort of structural class or

Linden Dover:

other elements that only a certain few contractors might know how to undertake?

Linden Dover:

So we can dig into the specifics about what contractors we're looking for, but

Linden Dover:

I think as a homeowner, if you are on your own, or if you've only bought part

Linden Dover:

package with an architect, or if you know they're only taking it to stage

Linden Dover:

four, then um, you know, be wary of that.

Linden Dover:

You know, make sure you've done your due diligence on the contract

Linden Dover:

to have they, um, had a nominated contractor for a rubber flooring or a

Linden Dover:

polished concrete or whatever before.

Linden Dover:

And if it's the first time, then.

Linden Dover:

Be aware of that and um, you know, you might get someone cheaper if

Linden Dover:

they haven't done it before, but you might get a lot more mistakes.

Jon Clayton:

That's a really good point.

Jon Clayton:

Thanks for that, Linden.

Jon Clayton:

I think, um,

Jon Clayton:

I think we've covered a heck of a lot there.

Jon Clayton:

Um, that's been really, really useful.

Jon Clayton:

So, um, thanks so much for sharing, um, your knowledge and

Jon Clayton:

experience.

Jon Clayton:

I really appreciate it.

Jon Clayton:

Um, so where can people go online to, to

Jon Clayton:

find out more about you?

Linden Dover:

Yeah, sure.

Linden Dover:

Um, you can go on LinkedIn and quite active on LinkedIn,

Linden Dover:

um, posting quite a bit there.

Linden Dover:

Um, and also you can email me at linden@weaver.build.

Linden Dover:

Um, or yeah, those are two the, the best places to get hold of me really.

Linden Dover:

Um, or if in you're in Palma, come and say hi

Jon Clayton:

I'd love to come to Palma and say, hi, that that's,

Jon Clayton:

um, all the excuse I need.

Jon Clayton:

Thanks for that.

Jon Clayton:

Um, so it was just one, one of the question I wanted to ask, actually, I, I

Jon Clayton:

love travel and discovering new places.

Jon Clayton:

And I wondered if you could just tell me one of your favorite

Jon Clayton:

places and what you love about it.

Jon Clayton:

Absolutely anywhere.

Jon Clayton:

This could be

Jon Clayton:

near

Jon Clayton:

or far just, um,

Linden Dover:

It's actually quite near, um.

Linden Dover:

So, my wife and I have been holidaying in Mallorca for quite a few years,

Linden Dover:

um, and other Balearic Islands.

Linden Dover:

And, just near here, actually, um, there's a place called Deia, which

Linden Dover:

is, uh, sort of 30 minutes from Palma.

Linden Dover:

And, if you go past Deia, you can only trek there or take a boat.

Linden Dover:

Now, My wife and I have never been on the boat here, but we've walked

Linden Dover:

in a couple of times to, um, a restaurant, um, called Sa Faradada.

Linden Dover:

I'm going to pronounce that really badly.

Linden Dover:

But it's this beautiful out, out of the way restaurant that you can only trek

Linden Dover:

into or, and you go past a quarry that They quarried all the stone for lots

Linden Dover:

of, um, interesting old buildings in Palma, I think, including the cathedral.

Linden Dover:

And it's just really scenic and quite a trek, and when you get to

Linden Dover:

the restaurant you're quite relieved.

Linden Dover:

But it's this beautiful, uh, bay, and they do the most amazing paella, and, um,

Linden Dover:

you overlook the sea, and there's just, there's only a few other diners there,

Linden Dover:

and there's lots of little areas you can go swimming and snorkeling afterwards.

Linden Dover:

So that's a pretty magical place, um, and it's nice that

Linden Dover:

it's only half an hour away.

Jon Clayton:

That sounds amazing.

Jon Clayton:

Um, my family and I, we've had a number of holidays over in Majorca and that is

Jon Clayton:

somewhere that we haven't been before.

Jon Clayton:

So I'll have to

Jon Clayton:

add that to my bucket list for our next

Jon Clayton:

family holiday in Majorca.

Linden Dover:

Yeah, absolutely.

Jon Clayton:

Awesome.

Jon Clayton:

Thanks again, Linden.

Jon Clayton:

It's been

Jon Clayton:

fantastic to talk to you today.

Linden Dover:

Not at all.

Linden Dover:

Yeah.

Linden Dover:

Likewise.

Linden Dover:

Look forward to speaking more, Jon.

Jon Clayton:

Next time I'll be chatting with Janine Coombs, a service positioning

Jon Clayton:

expert about a different approach to pricing and positioning your services.

Jon Clayton:

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Architecture Business Club.

Jon Clayton:

If you liked this episode, think other people might enjoy it.

Jon Clayton:

Or just want to show your support, then please visit podchaser.com.

Jon Clayton:

Search for Architecture Business Club and leave a glowing five-star review.

Jon Clayton:

It would mean so much to me and makes it easier for new

Jon Clayton:

listeners to discover the show.

Jon Clayton:

If you just want to connect with me, you can do that on most social media

Jon Clayton:

platforms, just search for @mrjonclayton.

Jon Clayton:

The best place to connect with me online though is on LinkedIn.

Jon Clayton:

You can find a link to my profile in the show notes.

Jon Clayton:

Remember running your architecture business doesn't have to be hard.

Jon Clayton:

And you don't need to do it alone.

Jon Clayton:

This is Architecture Business Club.

Show artwork for Architecture Business Club - For Architects, Architectural Technologists, Surveyors & Designers

About the Podcast

Architecture Business Club - For Architects, Architectural Technologists, Surveyors & Designers
Helping busy architecture professionals build a better business with actionable tips and tactics.
Architecture Business Club is the weekly podcast to help solo and small firm architecture business owners build a profitable, future-proof architecture practice that both you and your clients love! It’s an inclusive place (for ALL architecture business owners). So whether you’re an Architect, Architectural Technologist, or Architectural Designer…If you sell architectural services and want to improve the way you do things…This is THE podcast for you.

I’m Jon Clayton, your show host, and a Chartered Architectural Technologist based in the UK. I’ve been in architecture for over two decades and running my own (solo) practice for 10 years+.

Each week you’ll hear from inspiring people from the world of architecture and business who share actionable tips to help you improve how you work, save time, or make more money. I’ll also share my own experiences running an architecture business in occasional solo episodes. We cover everything from mindset, money, business strategy, sales & marketing, productivity, systems & workflows, client experience, outsourcing, software, technology, and much more.

Episodes are kept as short as possible by cutting out the fluff and getting straight to the point. So expect interview episodes of around 30 minutes or less, and solo episodes of 5 to 15 minutes.

New episodes are released every Thursday at 6am GMT / 2am EST.

Welcome to the Club!

About your host

Profile picture for Jon Clayton

Jon Clayton

I’m Jon. A Chartered Architectural Technologist and the founder of Architecture Business Club. I've been working in architecture for over two decades and running my own architectural design business for over ten of those years. My mission is to help you build a better architecture business on your terms. So if you're a sole practitioner (or small practice) architect, architectural technologist, or architectural designer, I want to help YOU. I'm a Northerner but now live with my family in Norfolk, UK. Outside of work, I'm a guitar tottin', kayaking, movie trivia buff.