Approaching a new general contractor can be an exciting and intimidating process. That’s why the best way to reach out to a new company is from a position of knowledge. This guide to the Walsh Group helps you reduce the risk of confusion and other potential disputes by bringing you their company history, payment history, prequalification and payment processes, and more.
If you think the Walsh Group may be good for your company, read the guide below so you can approach a new project with confidence.
About the Walsh Group
In 1898, Matthew Myles Walsh founded a small carpentry firm. After four generations of leadership within the family, the Walsh Group is now a multi-billion dollar general contracting company that employs more than 8,000 skilled tradespeople and professional staff members.
With a revenue of $4.3 billion in 2018, the Walsh Group sits in 16th place on ENR’s Top 400 Contractors list for 2020.
Incorporated in 1949 in Chicago, Illinois, the Walsh Group encompasses three companies: Walsh Construction, Archer Western, and Walsh Canada.
With more than a century of experience, the Walsh Group operates in the following markets:
- Hydro & power
- Data centers
- Parks & entertainment
- Senior living
- Warehouse distribution
For those markets, the Walsh Group offers the following services to their varied list of clients:
- Preconstruction services
- Design and build
- Public and private partnerships
- Operations & maintenance
- Lean construction
- Building information modeling
Over the course of their company history, it’s no wonder the Walsh Group have been involved in a variety of high-profile projects. Here are a couple of their most notable recent projects:
- Los Angeles International Airport Modernization, Los Angeles, CA
- Michigan State University Grand Rapids Innovation Park, Grand Rapids, MI
- The Legacy at Millennium Park, Chicago, IL
- Millennium Park Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago, IL
- Seattle Denny Substation, Seattle, WA
The Walsh Group has 20 regional offices spread across the United States and Canada. The Walsh Group is headquartered in Chicago, while Archer Western is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and Walsh Canada in Toronto.
Before working with the Walsh Group
If you’ve never worked with the Walsh Group before, it’s a good idea to put them through your own prequalification process. Prequalifying a general contractor means taking a look at various aspects of the company to make sure partnering with them is a good option for you.
To prequalify a new general contractor, you can start with these five steps:
- Examine their payment history
- Examine their credit history
- Read reviews from their previous subcontractors
- Understand their payment process
- Read through a sample subcontract
When you go through these steps, you’re bound to find some hiccups in the general contractor’s history. Remember that although not every payment dispute is the general contractor’s fault, one of the general contractor’s core responsibilities is to help make sure the project runs as smoothly as possible no matter what the circumstances are.
In this way, you can get an idea for how a general contractor communicates with other parties on the project, handles speed bumps, or works to avoid speed bumps entirely.
For example, a general contractor may hand over their credit history immediately after you ask for it. This shows that they have nothing to hide, and even if there are a few red flags, they prioritize transparency with subcontractors.
On the other hand, if they’re reluctant to hand the documents over or don’t hand them over at all, you can get an idea for how they will handle the project ahead.
The Walsh Group’s payment profile
The best place to begin prequalifying a new general contractor is on their payment profile. Payment profiles compile heaps of useful information about a contractor, such as their pay score, pay history, and subcontractor feedback.
According to the Walsh Group Payment Profile, they have a pay score of 83/100, which gives them a B rating. Pay score is a metric that you can use to get an idea for how quickly or how slowly a general contractor makes payments. Levelset compares the general contractor’s recent payment data with the payment data of tens of thousands of other general contractors across the country to calculate pay score. Learn more about pay scores here.
Aside from their pay score, 13 subcontractors gave the Walsh Group an average rating of 1.8 stars out of 5. Unfortunately, only 10 of those 13 subcontractors left written reviews, the majority of which are negative.
The most recent positive review gave the Walsh Group a 4-star rating, stating:
- “Payments have been pretty decent, their accounting team is very proactive and helpful. We’ve had issues with getting change orders approved and ready for billing, even though the work is completed.”
The most recent negative review gave the Walsh Group a 1-star rating, stating:
- “Do not work for Walsh! They do not pay! They blame all of their mismanagement on the subs. They couldn’t coordinated [sic] their way out of a paper bag! They low ball all of their bids to get work then steal the money from the subs to stay in business. Crooks!”
To take a more detailed look at the Walsh Groups payment history, you can view instances of slowe payment, threats of lien, and mechanics lien filings on recent Walsh projects.
Recent payment disputes
After clicking on the pay history tab on their payment profile, you’ll find a list of problem projects that the Walsh Group has been involved in over the recent months. Levelset has data on 1,005 recent projects for the Walsh Group.
Since December of 2019, four mechanics liens have been filed on projects that the Walsh Group has participated in.
Of those four liens, two claimants were directly hired by the Walsh Group, and all four are still active.
Take a detailed look at each claim under the pay history tab to find the owner of the project, the date the lien was filed, the location, and the amount that was claimed.
Not all payment disputes are caused by the general contractor. That’s why it’s important to learn as much about the context of the dispute as you can. In most cases, the way a general contractor handles a payment dispute is more helpful to you than whether or not one occurred.
Additionally, exploring a dispute and asking the general contractor for more context opens up an opportunity to get the communication flowing early in your working relationship with them. This is always a positive.
Getting prequalified to work with the Walsh Group
After you get to know the Walsh Group, it’s time for the Walsh Group to get to know you. General contractors prequalify new subcontractors to make sure they have the capabilities and the finances to get the job done.
Each general contractor has their own criteria, and some GCs are more selective than others. No matter what, the GC will need some detailed financial information from you and an overview of your certifications, bonding capacity, past projects, safety practices, and more.
Based on a subcontractor questionnaire, the Walsh Group will need the following information from you:
- Basic information about your company representative
- Your company’s classification
- Union information
- Licensing information
- Information about your bonding capacity and your surety
- Your insurance information
- Your OSHA incident rate and worker’s compensation EMR
- Your D&B number
- Smallest and largest projects your company is comfortable handling
- Information about your current projects
- The type of work normally subcontracted to smaller companies
- Information about your suppliers
- Your company’s government clearances
- Owner/client references for recently completed projects
- A brief capabilities statement
- Any other specifics directly related to the project
To begin the prequalification process with the Walsh Group, go to the bidding opportunities page on their website. From there, you can view a list of the projects that Walsh is currently working on.
Then, reach out to the regional office closest to you to so you can send the information they require.
Here’s the contact information for the Walsh Construction Headquarters:
929 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60607
The Walsh Group’s payment process
Before you make contact with Walsh, you should also look into their payment process. Fortunately, most general contractors of this size have similar payment practices. However, there are a few differences depending on the project and other factors.
Before work starts
Prior to starting work on the project, you’ll most likely need to supply Walsh with a little bit more information. This could include:
- Additional insurance information
- Your W-9
- Any requested bonding information
- A copy of the subcontract
A project administrator from Walsh will let you know what you must submit.
To collect your first payment, you’ll need to send a detailed pay application (pay app) and a schedule of values.
Most subcontracts establish a single day each month by which you need to submit your pay apps (i.e. the 1st, 15th, 20th, 25th, etc.). Be careful to fill out your pay app and schedule of values completely, as inaccuracies can lead to payment delays.
Rather than waiting for the end of the job to get paid, progress payments give you the option to bill based on the percentage of the job you’ve completed.
The terms of your contract’s pricing structure will determine how payments are dealt. Some common pricing structures include time and materials, lump sum, cost plus, and unit price.
To apply for progress payments, send a pay app as well as an up-to-date schedule of values. If you need to supply anything else, your Walsh Construction project administrator will let you know.
Final payments and close-out
The end of the construction project signals two things: final payment and project close-out.
The Walsh Group will send you a series of documents that you’ll need to sign to complete close-out. You’ll also need to provide the Walsh Group with some information as well as your final pay app. This usually includes:
- A certificate of substantial completion
- A completed punch list
- A certificate of occupancy
- Lien waivers
- Various inspection certificates
For a timely final payment, be sure to provide all requested information within the established deadline. Otherwise, your final payment could be delayed.
Tips to get paid with the Walsh Group
Doing good work and getting paid on time is at the top of every contractor’s mind. However, the construction industry is notorious for slow payment times, cash flow issues, and complex accounting. To make sure you get paid on time while you’re working with the Walsh Group or any other general contractor, incorporate these practices into your regular payment routine.
1. Send a preliminary notice.
Preliminary notices let higher-tier parties know who you are and what kind of work you’re performing on the construction project. One of the benefits of having your company fresh on everyone’s mind is that it’s been shown to speed the payment process up for everybody.
Further, you’re required to send a preliminary notice to preserve your lien rights in most states. If you don’t you could be left without a viable option for recovery if you go unpaid.
2. Send visibility documents.
The stronger documents, like the NOI, tell the paying party that you intend to file a lien if you go unpaid. Since no one on the project wants a lien, NOIs can sometimes be enough to trigger a payment by themselves.
3. Maintain your mechanics lien rights.
One of the most effective recovery tools you can use if you’re left unpaid is the mechanics lien. They have the potential to stop a project in its tracks.
Since mechanics liens are powerful, each state has established requirements you must meet in order to file one. This differs between states, but expect to send a preliminary notice, meet various deadlines for other notices, and maintain a valid contractor’s license.
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