After reading over multiple entries inThe NEWS’Best Contractor To Work For Contest, I took some time to consider the different types of contractors I had just investigated. Beyond the standard commercial, light commercial, and residential divides, entries from franchise, union, and two-man establishments were all eager to prove they were the best.

This got me thinking, who is the better contractor in the field, and who is the better employer? Franchises and unions seem to often have larger pockets, a stronger support system, and a standard operating platform (SOP) that outlines procedures for everything from technician hiring and wage scales to who orders the paper supplies for the office copier.

Looking past the paperwork, these larger establishments also have the potential to wield quicker turnaround times and greater buying power that offers discounts on business expenses, supplies, and merchandise. These discounts and procedures all add up to create a highly organized and competitive entity.

Does this mean the mom-and-pop shop, two-man contractor model of business can’t be successful in our Wal-Mart crazed society?

Is a larger company really the best place to work?

More importantly, what is the customer looking for as to services and products, and can the smaller company provide for these requests?

These personal questions didn’t play into the final decision for each regional contest winner that will be announced in the Jan. 25 issue. We use an electronic contest system that measures and evaluates each entry, providing a score. I think there are pros and cons to both large and small businesses - but I am curious - what do you think?