Quotes and Cost Estimates and Bids
At this point we’ve met, discussed your project, and come up with a workable solution. Now you’re wondering…how much will it cost?
Smart money says to ask for at least 3 itemized bids from multiple contractors to come up with a good solution. Yet issue of itemized bids is a very touchy subject for contractors. As for me, I’m against an itemized for several reasons. I fully believe in giving you an estimate that is thorough and accurate…but breaking each item down isn’t a good business practice for the following reasons. Because most checklists will ask for the detailed bid, I feel compelled to provide you reasons why I’m going against it.
First, I know that you’re going to compare it to at least two other bids…and because my work is better, worth more, and done right, it’s going to be a little bit higher. If you’re focused solely on price in the beginning, you may end paying more in the end–either literally or in intangibles like worry, frustration, or time taken to complete (how long do you want to live without a kitchen while an amateur is learning what needs to be done). When you get my quote and after you’ve met me and seen my work, take that into consideration in your decision.
Second, you’re looking at apples and oranges. Often making a detailed bid between contractors is like comparing apples to oranges. We all have different details in what we provide (labor for the whole job versus labor for each project, etc), different specifications (did we think you wanted Low-E windows or contractor grade–and did you specify it?), and different assumptions (it will take two days for demolition and two weeks to complete). On the one hand I want to get your business like anyone else…so I’ll give you my best bid…but if I listen to your requirements and read in you want some of the nicer things in life, then someone low-balls everything to make the price look good, that is apples and oranges. Sure the price looks good, but it isn’t what you asked for–then I am penalized for actually listening to what the customer asked for.
Third, often customers are under the impression they can turn the itemized bid into an á la carte project…but estimates are often like building a house of cards…when each part is in place in order, it works great…but take one part away and it all falls apart. Sure Uncle Jon is a roofer, but he may not be available right when you need him for the project to stay on track…when I make the bid, it’s my responsibility to keep everything on track. Because the roof doesn’t get done on schedule, the cost of the trades that have to wait (they were promised to work on a certain day and either stopped what they were doing to be available or didn’t take jobs on the promise of working on a certain date) are my responsibility…and while Uncle Jon is cheaper and ends up eventually getting the job done, I’m stuck with the additional costs or I have to issue a change order to cover costs that were not budgeted but were incurred because of your decision…and either situation is a no-win for me and my business.
I will provide you a with a written estimate prior to starting work. It will be the best estimate based on your inputs and will cover the costs to meet all the state requirements. I will do everything I can to ensure that your job is as worry free as I can make it. And I promise I will work with you through the entire project to ensure there are no surprises when it comes to costs.