Shopping Around by Sal Alfano Construction is a competitive business. You compete for contracts, employees, and subcontractors, and much of the race is run on the bottom line, where the lowest price takes all. It seems odd, then, that while so many builders complain about losing jobs solely on the basis of price, they turn around and choose suppliers the same way. They pay close attention to price, and all but ignore factors like reliability, honesty, and service. You can purchase 80 or 90 percent of all the materials you need to construct a house (excluding foundation and systems) from a single lumberyard. You pay suppliers the largest percentage of your gross receipts, and the service you receive should be better than