Safely Evaluating A Contractors Bid Price

Improving your home yourself can be a rewarding job, but sometimes you just want to sit back and let someone else do the work for you. This is especially useful when dealing with an area of home repair that you have no experience with. When choosing a contractor to work with it is recommended that you get a bid on the price of the job. Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking over your contractor’s bid price.

Determine What is Included And Excluded

Something that you may assume is included in a bid price might not be what the contractor intended. Look over the bid to see if there is anything that the contractor specifically excludes as well. Talk to your contractor about these inclusions and exclusions to make sure you’re both on the same page. This will ensure that all the needed work gets done and that there aren’t any unexpected surprises down the road.

Understand the Scope of Work

Just as your visions of what is included in a bid price and your contractor’s may differ, your individual understanding of what a job entails may not match up. Work through the specifics of what the contractor intends to do to complete a job.
Painting is a job that seems straightforward, but there are many variations on how the job gets done. Does your painter plan to hand scrape the old paint off of your house? Will he power wash the exterior? How thorough will he be with the priming? What sorts of protections will he put down to ensure the safety of your property? All of these factors can influence the amount of a bid.
Roofing problems often lie in what you can’t see, not what you can. Get a clear picture of what your contractor plans to do with the flashing. You should also determine if an ice/water shield will be used on your roof. Like with a painter, make sure you and your roofer agree on what counts as a protected environment.
Painters and roofers are just two examples. Don’t hesitate to get down to specifics when dealing with any sort of contractor.

Get a Written Bid

A contractor may be happy to give you a verbal estimate for your project. However, if he’s not willing to put his bid down in writing you should be wary.

Look For Details in Pricing

Don’t make a choice on contractor based on price alone. Be sure to look at how his pricing is broken down. This circles back to understanding his scope of work. If the two of you have agreed on certain tasks being carried out you should be able to see this broken down on the bid. The contractor should be willing to answer any questions you have about the bid and your requirements.

Determine Payment Terms

A contractor who is willing to be invoiced by mail is ideal. Someone who wants cash directly after the work is done may not be the most trustworthy choice. The same goes for contractors who want money up front to purchase supplies. If he is a member of a reputable company this may be okay, but use your best judgment when giving out money before work is completed. Make sure you are both on the same page on when and how payments will be made.

Take Your Time

If a contractor tries to pressure you into signing a contract right away he is not the best choice. This is especially true if he offers you a cash incentive to sign right away. As with all big decisions, be sure to take your time and make a thoughtful decision.

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This article was contributed by Lassiter Excavating, a San Francisco contractor specializing in pool removal and excavation.