How To Compare Bids for Remodeling Your Home
You’re thinking of remodeling your home, but you’re not sure how to choose the best bid. When you’re soliciting quotes for a home improvement project, you might be surprised with the variety in your proposals. You might think it’s best to choose the lowest bid, but this might not actually be what you’re looking for.
In reality, it’s all about the details. There’s a science to reviewing these bids for remodeling your home. Without the right understanding about the scope of the project as well as what’s being offered, you can’t make a smart choice. Here’s how to compare bids for remodeling your home.
Start By Preparing for Bids
Your first step will be to prepare for your bids. You’ll need to visit your property with potential contractors in order for them to give an accurate quote. As expected, this could be a time-consuming process, especially if you have a large remodeling project.
Because you don’t want to waste your time or your contractors’ time, start by talking to a few contractors on the phone. Talk to them about your project ideas, budget, and time frame. This is the best way to learn if you’re even on the same page in the first place. If they sound promising, move forward with a property visit to get an accurate bid.
Know What’s in the Contract
Now that you have a number of bids to choose from, it’s time to look closely at each contract. What’s included in the contracts exactly? This needs to be specific. If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen, for example, and you’ll be replacing the cabinets, the contract might read: “Replace all cabinets.” However, this isn’t a very clear specification. Will the contractor remove the original cabinets? If so, will they dispose of them?
You want the contract to be as specific as possible to avoid surprises. If you’re not sure what’s included, ask. Have a detailed description of the entire process from start to finish, including any specifications needed for your property.
Be Cautious of Low Bids
Low bids might seem like they’re offering a great value, but this isn’t always the case. Many times contractors will try to win your business by offering the lowest price, but this comes with a high level of risk. If they’re using the lowest price, they likely also have low overhead and will need a large down payment to even get started.
More importantly, a low bid usually indicates this contractor is working without insurance or a contractor’s license. This poses a big risk to the homeowner, and it’s not usually worth it. Unless the contractor works with a reputable company or has a reference list and proof of insurance, don’t fall for the lowest price.
Be Wary of High Bids
On the same wavelength, don’t assume the highest bid is the best quality. There are a lot of ways to be economical with your bids. For instance, higher bidding contractors might be willing to lower their rate if you choose to purchase materials through them or extend the length of your contract. Similarly, you can often lower the cost by purchasing materials on your own.
You really do get what you pay for. Oftentimes the higher bids give you access to quality craftsmanship and higher-quality products and materials. Depending on what you need for your renovation, the right contractor will likely be priced somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of your bids.
Choosing the Right Contractor
Your home remodel depends on the right contractor. Hiring the wrong one might leave you at risk of wasting money or facing a liability problem. You want to make sure you know just what you’re getting into.
If you’re planning on hiring a contractor for your home renovation, take the bidding process seriously. Make sure you know exactly what’s offered and what your quote gets you. From there, keep your hired contractor accountable throughout the process.