Tips for vetting firms

JoeT

Active member
Dec 17, 2023
32
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I volunteer with Samaritan's Purse, and we're always looking for ways to move our permit applications through the system more efficiently. There are a few firms that claim to expedite permits. How do you check their claims? Do you have any tips for vetting these firms?
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I volunteer with Samaritan's Purse, and we're always looking for ways to move our permit applications through the system more efficiently. There are a few firms that claim to expedite permits. How do you check their claims? Do you have any tips for vetting these firms?

You could try talking to permit office staff. Generally they're not allowed to recommend one firm over another, but they're people just like you and me and you never know what kind of mood you might catch someone in. They might at least be able to steer you away from some of the less reputable people/companies they've dealt with in the past.
 
Reputable Professional service firms should not make claims of being able to expedite permit application approvals. They do not control the timeline, the permit issuing authority controls the timeline. I would second Eric's suggestion to check with the municipal authority or permit authority as to "how complete" a permit application is when they are submitted by a particular firm who claims to expedite a permit application.

Making the application is one thing, claiming fast approvals is another thing.
 
What type of projects does Samaritan's Purse permit? Many claims are made by permit services, and they are hard to believe. Experience has been the best way we have been able to offer success to our customers. Faster is not always better. Expediting is not always efficient either. Take into account that after the permit is issued, expediting techniques can be detrimental to the building and inspections phase.
 
Reputable Professional service firms should not make claims of being able to expedite permit application approvals. They do not control the timeline, the permit issuing authority controls the timeline. I would second Eric's suggestion to check with the municipal authority or permit authority as to "how complete" a permit application is when they are submitted by a particular firm who claims to expedite a permit application.

Making the application is one thing, claiming fast approvals is another thing.
I like things to be expedited or moved along at a timely manner as much as the next person, but I also don't like the idea of permits being rushed through the approval process. Which is why, if a firm says anything like that, I would definitely steer clear of them. I want them to take their time looking over any permits I file to make sure they are 100% good and ready to go.

What type of projects does Samaritan's Purse permit? Many claims are made by permit services, and they are hard to believe. Experience has been the best way we have been able to offer success to our customers. Faster is not always better. Expediting is not always efficient either. Take into account that after the permit is issued, expediting techniques can be detrimental to the building and inspections phase.
The inspections phase is definitely a key point. I would not want anyone to rush through inspections just to get the process moving faster.
 
Reputable Professional service firms should not make claims of being able to expedite permit application approvals. They do not control the timeline, the permit issuing authority controls the timeline. I would second Eric's suggestion to check with the municipal authority or permit authority as to "how complete" a permit application is when they are submitted by a particular firm who claims to expedite a permit application.

Making the application is one thing, claiming fast approvals is another thing.

I think it'd be interesting if permit offices were to make statistics available for all the expediters/consultants they work with showing the average number of additional information requests ("correction notices") they've had to issue for each expediter/consultant over some period of time. By releasing data on expediters/consultants in this way, the permit office wouldn't be overtly recommending one expediter/consultant over another (which they're not allowed to do) but would instead merely be supplying prospective applicants with raw data to use when shopping around for permitting services. Sure, doing this would probably hurt expediters/consultants with higher numbers of info requests, and presumably lead to more business for those with fewer requests, but isn't that how things should be?
 
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