Building & Remodeling
The differences between Contractors
Engrained in every consumers head is the thought that “You must get three quotes” when planning a remodel, addition, or new home. I have a belief that there is an implanted chip in all of us that is already pre-loaded with this kind of information before we are born. Why else is this such a widely held belief and no one can explain why? The theory in its basic principle is correct. There will be one bid high and one bid low. So now what??? Obviously throw out the high bid because he’s trying to rip you off. Throw the low bid out because he probably missed something and go with the middle bidder??? What if the high bidder was the only one to include everything you wanted? Let’s back up…
Almost all commercial buildings and most new home construction projects are designed and drawn by an Architect. Those twenty or so pages of blueprints along with a one hundred or so page specification book outlines and describes every door handle, paint application, and siding selection; how it should be delivered, stored, installed, and finished. During the first meeting with a Homeowner for an addition or remodel, we usually stand in the back yard and point. “I want it here, and about this big, and not too expensive.” Are all words that were pre-loaded and must be uttered at least once in everyone’s life. The problem is lack of detail.
May small remodels or additions are not drawn by an Architect. If the Homeowner did have the foresight to hire an Architect, the Contractor is generally only going to be given one page of a “Print” and no “Spec’s”. Asking multiple Contractors to “bid” on these one page prints, will result in bids that will be priced upon what the contractor thinks you want or has a personal preference to install. No wonder the bid prices are so different!
How then, dear reader, do you get a fair price for small work that you want done on your home? I suggest that we go back to the principles that our great grand parents must have used. Trust and reputation. If someone has been in the remodeling business in one of our small towns for a long time, I would hope that they are not over charging or under delivering. The word would get around… Most of us have a good sense of first impression. You don’t want your Contractor driving up to your house in a Porsche or a truck dragging its tailpipe. Neat appearance and being on time to your appointments may help you decide. The contract paperwork should be in compliance to State statutes, neat, clear, and especially detailed. Everything you want should be part of the written contract. Make no assumptions that something is included. Most contractors will write what is not included and review that with you to be sure you concur.