Here at Custom Concrete Contracting, most of the work we do is on commercial and government jobs, with a handful of residential work thrown in. It’s fun, challenging work, and we strive every day to “do it right the first time,” because a good deal of future work depends on our performance reputation.

Plus, we love it when our customers are pleased with our work. We enjoy working with them on a variety of projects throughout Whatcom and Skagit counties, from city streets and roundabouts to apartment complexes and grocery stores.

When we’re setting up and working jobs, we often find ourselves chatting with folks to help them keep their projects running as smoothly as possible. To that end, here are seven things everyone should know when starting a construction project:

Professionals don’t cut corners. At Custom Concrete, we always — always — strive to install the best work we can. We won’t cut corners to save money. We are heavily invested in this work and take it very seriously. The value is in the final product, and it should last.

Subcontractors aren’t always reliable. Try as you might to keep a project running on schedule, what should take two days often ends up taking three or more to complete. While we at Custom Concrete make our living on being reliable and doing things right, things outside our control sometimes slow us down. Other subcontractors working on the job — electricians, plumbers, excavators and others — also can fail to perform as promised or don’t produce work of a quality as high as you’d want.

New problems will be discovered. Another thing that often causes delays on jobsites is that we often unearth new problems that were unknown when the job was started, such as rot, failed drainage, oil tanks and many more. Delays are unfortunate, but they’re often inevitable, and we just have to roll with the punches and adapt to what we find.

Change orders are part of the project. Change orders can include adding to the scope of the work or altering the finer points of the job. Change orders also can include adjustments to schedules due to necessary lead time or scheduling of subcontractors.

Low bids are a starting point. The lowest bids you get on a request for proposals are usually the absolute minimum if the waters stay calm. Changes and adjustments to the original scope can cause low bids to balloon larger than others. Before signing a contract, it’s best to review the details of estimates and ensure you’re comparing apples to apples.

Plan ahead. Six months should be the minimum amount of lead time you plan in to any job. Here at Custom Concrete, we rely on scheduling to keep things flowing, and we book out at least six months in advance to ensure we have work lined up. Other contractors are likely to work on similar schedules.

The media is not realistic. Television shows and magazine articles are edited and often do not mention or show what really took place behind the scenes of a job. When we do custom home work, we tell customers not to look at any more magazines during the job. What’s important is to stick to the plan as much as possible, remembering that was what you wanted from the beginning.

If you’re looking for a high-quality concrete contractor for your next job, contact Custom Concrete Contracting. We’re UDBE and MBE certified, and we have years of experience in the Pacific Northwest doing concrete right.