No one wants to pay more than necessary to get the best possible remodeling or building job done. So, once you have a fairly complete idea of what you want, it makes good sense to do some comparative shopping. Too often, eager homeowners approach builders or contractors with only a vague idea of what they envision for their new room addition, basement renovation, etc. They are too willing to ask for a “ballpark” idea of likely costs. Warning: Ballpark bids too often result in projects that go into extra innings!
Start by doing a little homework
Have you made a detailed list of the “must-have’s” in your remodeling job, room addition or building project? Have you researched materials, finishes or surfaces that you want? These are the elements of a bid that will help your bidder form an accurate estimate of costs.
Once you’ve done that, seek out 2-3 competitive bids. At that point, it’s not so much a question of the number of bids you get as it is the kinds of bids you get.
Is the company bidding your project licensed and insured?
A company that is familiar with all the building codes and best practices that are standard to the industry will be eager to let you know it. Their promotional materials, web site, etc, will advertise that they are licensed and insured. If they are not, whatever bid they may give you can be full of hidden problems waiting to happen.
Does the company have strong references and testimonials?
Before you ask a company to bid on your remodeling or building job, check their print and online claims. Do they show projects they have done – before and after? Do they feature recommendations from satisfied customers? Don’t hesitate to ask for contact information to verify published facts. The company you want will be glad to give that to you!
The best bid may not be the lowest
If any of your 2-3 bidders responds with an estimate that is significantly lower than others, you need to proceed with caution. Often the bidding builder or contractor has missed something about the scope of the project – or worse, something will ultimately be missing in quality or material value.
In the final analysis, the builder or contractor who wins the bid for your project will be the one who wins your confidence. He will be the one who clearly wants your recommendation just as much as he wants the income he’ll earn from doing your work excellently. You should be able to sense that from the start. And then the right bid, whatever the final number, will always feel like the best money you ever spent!