More specifically log package suppliers.
I have built 4 stick framed homes for my own use over the last fourty years, so I'm not a complete newbie about engaging in this kind of business.
Back in 2005 I wanted to build a log home and I negotiated with a local log home contractor who has built homes for 3 of my neighbors. He is a small operator who pretty much flies by the seat of his pants and builds on site. His methods are not the best, but the neighbors are not enemies with him after their builds. He mostly does handcrafted chink style homes with round saddle notch corners and light timber frame roof systems that to my knowledge never exceed R19 (In 2005, there were no closed cell spray foam applicators servicing this region). He wanted to use 1x6 t&g on 4 foot spans across 4x8 timbers and 2 foot wide sections of metal roof panels. Needless to say I wasn't overjoyed about his roof system. He does not do purlin type roofs, no sawmill I guess. Although he does put in a ridge purlin, it is not milled or sawn, the 4x8's simply set on top of them. Anyway, if my memory serves me right, he offered to dry in a 32x32 home with half loft for 84K, him doing the foundation, floor and roof, no plumbing, no electrical, no interior walls no finishes no windows, no doors. I was going to accept his bid all except for one problem....he wanted 50% up front.
The guy is not a great communicator and I had trouble following his answers. When I asked him about insurance it was affirmative but incoherent. His crane is an antique road crane with friction winches. I highly doubt any insurer would insure a contractor using an old friction crane. That means a crane that does not have hydraulic winches or spring-applied, hydraulic released winch brakes. So am I to trust a guy with 42K up front who is probably decieving me? I might have gone along with no insurance and antique crane if he was up front with it.
Anyway I built a stick-framed log sided home instead. Actually I built two because the first one burned down at 80% completion. Now I again have the itch to build a log home, the fake log home did not cure me.
Years ago, a builder told me this about the subcontractors he deals with: "The self-employed are unemployable". Without the regimented supervision of managers, our flaws grow. Yet I still prefer to do business with small contractors who do their own work over money people who have employees doing the work. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the former kind does it for love as well as money and the latter mostly just money.
Fast forward to today, am I to pay an exorbitant front heavy draw to a stranger and trust him, yet he will not trust me enough to build it and get paid later? OK, Logs cost money. I would be willing to pay the price of the logs up front if it was not inflated and I consider this taking a huge risk because he could built it not according to agreement and sell the package to someone else and leave me trying to recoup my investment thru the courts which would take many years.
I would like to hear some experiences dealing with contractors.