Hey everybody, this Joe Reed with Home Run Solutions. I wanted to chat a little bit about the 3 bid myth. You’ve all probably heard this recommendation before: whether it was new flooring that you were looking for or a new roof; you heard the advice to call 3 contractors. Have them come out and give you 3 bids. Either pick the middle one, if you feel that they are all pretty even, or go with the lower one if you could save some money there. There’s some holes in that theory though.
Oftentimes, these bids that come across omit big portions of the project, especially when it comes to a larger scale remodel, such as the kitchen or bath, and so it can skew the numbers a bit, and you’re not really getting an apples to apples comparison – it’s more of an apples to oranges to a bag of nails comparison. And that doesn’t do you any good. Oftentimes all you’re left with is to choose based on price, so you pick the lowest one, and then that also leaves yourself vulnerable, because a lot of unscrupulous contractors out there know that if they give you a low bid, they can make that money up in change orders, which is really lazy estimating on their part. And so, you are going in the end pay, if not the same amount, more than some of the others that estimated on the project.
A better approach however, would be to contact three contractors based on references, referrals, website testimonials, and things of that nature. Have them set up an in-house consultation with you where they’ll come out, take some measurements and some photos. Request that they then present you with a budget for the project. It’s a little bit more detailed than just a bid, and then have them list out the important details that are included in those numbers. From there you can get a level of comfort with who is going to be the most professional, have the clearest lines of communication, show up, and be willing to actually put those numbers together for you. A lot of times a contractor will just not get back to you and they’re onto the next one. So, this is good to kind of put them through your expectations, and go from there.
This allows you to get ballpark pricing for the project you discussed. Then, during that pre-construction phase, you actually have the period of time where you can iron out all the details. You can work towards a fixed price and a fixed schedule before the project even begins. It takes a little bit more than just a drive-by estimate to ensure a successful project.
I hope this approach helps. If you have any other questions take a look at our website, homerunsolutions.net. We have a great E-Book on there, which is available for download for free. It’s called ‘How To Hire a Contractor Without Contracting an Ulcer’. There are plenty of tips and checklists and it’s a good pre-construction/remodeling resource. I hope you gain some value from that. Best of luck on your project!