How much does it the cost and when can you start, words every homeowner almost intuitively asks of renovation contractors! As a homeowner discover how your can stack the cards to ensure you get quality at a good price.
Homeowner’s are continually told to get three quotes, just for fun let’s say you are able to actually get three contractors to come to your home and give you a quote, how do you compare bids? The acronym W.A.G. (“Wild A__ Guess”) explains the thought process of most contractors when quoting projects for homeowners.
There are so many variables to consider if nothing is specified it could depend on the contractor’s current work load or if the wind is blowing out of the east that determines a final price. One contractor may have the experience to anticipate the unknown and price himself out of the this type of bidding arrangement, leaving you the homeowner to deal with the situation.
Contractors, like most of us suffer from insecurities “if I bid what I think is fair someone will underbid me, if I go in low there is no room for the unforeseen and I could lose money on the job”. Experienced renovation contractors know their costs and anticipate the unexpected so there may be reason’s someone’s bid is low!
If you want to make sure you are getting the best deal, which is a combination of quality and price then take control of the biding process, take away any variables or ambiguity, get bids that are comparable and then select the contractor that you feel most comfortable working with.
before the renovation contractor arrives!
1. Know exactly what you want
If it is a small project or something without many variables you may be able to write up a specification of what you want done to include the product, installation method, site safety and cleanliness, payment method etc. Invite contractors to bid on the project based on your specifications. Search the internet for product and installation requirements directly from the manufacturer.
If it is a larger more complex project ask contractors to come out and evaluate the job. Listen to their suggestions and ask each to only provide their ideas. Remind them to not spend a lot of time as your intent is to ask the same of others and you will then put together a specification so that selected contractors can bid on the project.
2. Search online services,
There are plenty of services on-line that can give you an idea of average renovation costs based on region and project details. Use these services as an estimating or ranging tool only as no bid can be respectable without attending the project location. This is why services that want you to post your project online for contractors to bid on without attending the site are questionable.
3. Quality, Speed or Price
Yep hate to break the bad news but you can’t have all three. Is it reasonable for a legitimate contractor to be able to start your project tomorrow? Do you really want your project completed quickly?
4. Check your attitude!
(non) Reality shows have conditioned homeowners to believe that projects can be done overnight and contractors are not to be trusted. A few years back there was a TV show that became popular villainizing contractors for taking short cuts, which in reality is a rare occasion. If there was only a market for promoting the highly competent, moral and professional contractors that are the norm, that would be REAL TV.
5. Register for quinju.com
Start dreaming and planning your project on quinju.com, when interviewing contractors show them your plan using quinju.com and suggest that they register. Quality contractors will have already heard of the service and using it daily to manage their project communications for a better home improvement project.
6 ways to control the bidding process
1. Detailed plans
If it is a larger project invest in hiring a designer to develop a plan. The cost associated to the design work is an upfront but visible cost as it is somehow included in the contractor’s final bid. This type of design is required for building permits and obtaining the permit before getting bids helps to eliminate some of the hidden costs again often carried by the contractor. Having one set of drawings to work from, controls the bids.
The plan is just an overview of what is going to happen on the job however the specification is related to the specific products that will be used and how they will be installed. Identify what sinks, fixtures, appliance or type of countertop that must be included in the bid. Some homeowners go as far as getting the product number and installation details to include with the bid documents. The idea is to remove any chance for “interpretation” by the bidder.
3. Bid invitation letter
Sounds like overkill for a residential project but the invitation letter could be as simple as an email template spelling out how many bidders and when bid is due. The template and attachments should be similar to ensure consistency in what you can expect on return.
4. General Conditions
This is a general statement about the site, working conditions, responsibilities and expectations. Think broadly about your specific project, is there washroom facilities, parking space, garbage cleanup, insurance requirements or hours to start and stop work due to noise?
5. Quality Contractor
If you want to really control the project bids, make sure that you can work with each contractor invited to bid. You also want to make sure that all bidders can be competitive and have business models that support your needs.
6. Tools of the trade go far beyond a hammer!
A quality contractor uses values tools for their business as much as on the job site. Technology has peritted services like quinju.com to help contractors and homeowners communicate throughout the lifecycle of the project. Homeowners anticipation increases when they don’t know what is happening on the job site. Insist that your contractor is registered for quinju.com pro services so that you can have the visibility of your renovation project.