What do you expect to be included in a contractor’s bid?
Unfortunately, industry standards can vary widely, even within the same city.
But one thing is for certain: Contractor’s bids are specific, detailed documents that should give you a realistic picture of how much your project will cost.
Three Is the Magic Number
Angie’s List says you should get three contractor’s bids on any project you do, but some homeowners want more. Depending on where you live, if a half-dozen respectable contractors work in your area, you may wonder what each of them charges.
It’s fair to wonder, but it isn’t really fair to get that many contractor’s bids. Why? Because so much work goes into each one.
Think about it. Even a structure as simple as a deck has so many parts — lumber, nails and screws, footings, joists, cement and labor. Imagine a bathroom; imagine every tile, every fixture, every knob on every cabinet. The list is endless.
Any parts left off the list or estimated incorrectly can lead to cost overruns and unhappy customers, so it’s in the contractor’s best interest to take the time to do the estimate correctly. And it does take time.
Contractor’s Bids Are Complex
One contractor estimates it takes him between four to six hours to bid on a simple bathroom, and up to 40 hours for an addition, and this isn’t even counting the subcontractors’ bids.
When one bid comes in really low and the homeowner jumps at this bargain, it often ends up in disappointment or worse. Bidding on a job is a technical process that takes years of experience to get right.
Sure, anyone can look up the prices of certain materials at supply stores, but you can’t rely completely on this data. Construction companies often have contracts with lumber yards or other suppliers so they can get their materials cheaper. New contractors might not have that kind of clout yet.
If a contractor has built an addition, but he’s never built a large one, he might not be aware of some of the materials he needs, or he might underestimate the number of days it will take to complete the job. Some parts of the job might be done incorrectly and need to be redone.
As time drags on and the contractor realizes he’s vastly underestimated the amount of time it would take to do the job, he’s either stuck making hardly any money on it, or left to anger the client by increasing the price.
Contractor’s Bids Aren’t Absolutes
No contractor’s bid is 100 percent accurate because there are too many variables. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned, but homeowners can only hope they don’t run into any huge stumbling blocks like rot or termites.
Falk Construction has been doing remodeling and building projects in and around the Ogden, Utah, area for 33 years, and we know how to provide an accurate estimate. When you’re planning a remodeling or construction job, count on Falk Construction to give you a contractor’s bid you can trust.