The common wisdom has been that contractors' financing deteriorates from poor management. The reality today is that the failure of one or more contractors on a project can have a significant impact on the financial condition of the other contractors on the job. Your contractor is, literally, only as good as their last job.

Even prequalification isn't an absolute guarantee against default. If the trend continues, contractors may need to learn a whole new skill set: how to manage defaults to minimize exposure. 

Author Thomas C. Schleifer, PhD, is a management consultant, author and lecturer. Further, Schleifer is a research professor at the Del E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University. He can be reached at or 480-945-7680.