Getting estimates from contractors can be an intimidating process. This can be especially true if you have never had to deal with this before. Because there isn’t a list of prices that are acceptable for the type of work you need done, you have to depend on your instincts to help you decide which price is the most reasonable for the amount and type of work you need done. To help you narrow down the estimates and help you decide which one is the most fair, experts suggest that you obtain at least three different bids from contractors.
Before a contractor submits a bid, they first look at the plans in order to determine the type and amount of materials that they will need to complete the job. It is also common for a general contractor to send copies of the plans to his suppliers and subcontractors. The suppliers will provide him with an estimate for all of the materials that will be used; and the subcontractors will give them an estimate for the work that they will need to perform. All of these figures are then added to the amount that the contractor will need to do their specific part of the job.
In addition to all of the fees of the different parties involved, the contractor must also include the fees for permits, insurance, temporary utility services and other essentials that are needed on the job site. Once the contractor has all of these numbers they will then add in the cost of their overhead and profit. This will leave them with the amount they will charge you for the work being performed. This process can be just as stressful for the contractor; if they submit a bid that is too high, you are likely to look elsewhere, if their bid is too low they may end up losing money on the job.
Each contractor can come up with a different price for the same project. Experienced contractors have often developed relationships with suppliers and subcontractors. These business relationships can often provide contractors with discounts on material and services. If you are lucky these discounts will be passed on to you. This is sometimes why three contractors can submit estimates with such a wide variety of prices.
When you are looking over the bids that you receive, it is important that you pay close attention to what is included in the estimate. Some contractors will charge you for every small detail that they feel is legitimate; while others will provide you with a flat rate estimate that is used to cover all costs and work for the length of the project. If you have any questions about the estimate you receive, don’t be afraid to question the contractor. Once you feel comfortable with the contractor you have chosen you are now ready to begin work on your project at a price you are happy with.