Dec 9, 2014

How to Use an Estimate to Select a Contractor

As you begin the process of hiring a contractor to address your construction or remodeling needs, one of the first steps is to get a quote from several prospective contractors. The bid process is most likely your first contact with a contractor and can provide you with quite a bit of information about the way he or she runs her business. After the quotes have been completed and you have the estimates in front of you is when those first impressions can come into play, helping you decide on one contractor over another. However, before you make that choice, there are some things you need to look for in the estimates you have been provided.

Itemized Estimates
When a contractor completes a quote for services, there are several elements that he or she has in mind as they price your job. One of the most important for the contractor is that he covers the cost of the project, both in terms of labor and materials. Good contractors will provide you with some level of detail in their estimates so that you can see how they have arrived at the price they are charging. 

Of course, you wouldn’t expect to see every line item charge, but you should be able to see estimates of what different materials are going to cost as well as the estimated cost of labor. If the estimate that you have been given doesn’t include any level of detail at all, it should be pushed to the side.

Up Front Payment
It is rare that a contractor won’t ask for a deposit up front in order to pay for materials. However, any contractor that asks for more than 20% up front should be regarded carefully. If your contractor has a legitimate need for additional funds up front and can provide documentation as to why, that’s one thing. Otherwise, the estimate should be pushed to the side.

Lastly, take the time to contact each contractor with at least one question. This will help determine how responsive they are.

If you find that you are stuck in your decision making process between two or three contractors, use your initial contact experience as the tie breaker. Having a contractor onsite with whom you have a good relationship with will make your project a much more enjoyable experience for both of you. Click today for more information regarding contractor estimates.

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