What do clients mean when they ask "How big is your company?"

Contractor and Consumers feel free to answer.
We get asked this quite often and the answers I give usually satisfy them. However it is a loaded question and I am just guessing at what my response should be based on my personal belief system. What does this question mean to you?
  7 answers
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Dec 30, 2011
    I could see this question, or should I say the answer<?> having 2 different implications. 1) size may ease their mind that you are not a small one pony show doing it all yourself 2) size may scare them that you are out of their price range

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Dec 30, 2011
    I think that you got the it right on @Becky. I think that most of our clients are expecting answer #1. Answer #2 begs another question as well. There are going to be varying prices from different contractors. There is a certain standard that we have to hold to an cannot compromise or cut corners to reduce the cost. We can only adjust the scope to fit the budget.

  • I think its a question that will get them the right answers for the project in mind. A successful company like yourself will not hesitate to answer and will also have substantial proof to show all the successful project in hand and in portfolio. A small company may not be very confident to answer this question especially if it is a one man/woman show, not that one man/woman companies aren't successful but they may not be the right company for the project.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Dec 30, 2011
    " A small company that makes great things happen.'? or ...?

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Dec 30, 2011
    Great point @Yamini I do ask this question to potential trades that would like to work with us. My question is usually a matter of timing. If we are framing a new house, then I need to know that the company has enough labor to complete it in a reasonable time frame. Most of our trade partners are 1-2 man shows and I would not trade them in for a larger company if they are are detailed craftsman. There are some tasks that need more people and some less. We handle all of our own management, drawings, light carpentry and punch list to guarantee the quality of the work.

  • I think people are wondering if you are using skilled labor or just getting warm-bodies from a labor pool when you get a larger job. I have a number of artists that I can sub contract with for extremely large projects. I know their skill level and will use their talents accordingly. Likewise, they call me for specialty finishes as well. In my case, I cannot take someone and teach them the details of how to do a finish in a day. They need to have proven abilities or else I spend the whole day supervising the quality of their work.

  • I agree that on the average the client is wondering if you are not the lone worker (answer #1 by BeckySue above) and have the available labor to complete the job in a decent amount of time. I don't have a huge company myself, only a handful of guys these days (thanks to the economy, used to have a couple dozen). I have unofficial partnerships with other trades people for when I need the additional hands.