How does bidding work?
We just bought an old home that needs renovations such as new kitchen, refinish all wood flooring, paint, change lighting fixtures in the bathrooms, etc. We have contacted 3 general contractors that we ill be talking to. We would like for them to bid on the work, but we don't know the process. what should we be looking for? What are the steps that need to be taken in the process? How long does it normally take?
Thank you much for your assitance.
Hi Isabel, one thing that I can think of off the top is to have a set and well defined Scope of Work that all the contractors will be given so they will be bidding on the same work and you can compare apples to apples.
Pick the contractor that has a good reputation for completing work and strives for customer satisfaction. That might not be the guy with the lowest price.
Of course make sure they are licensed and have all the insurance they should, there are lots of hacks out there that will give you a good price at first, too good a price.
Remember that a knowledgeable and legitimate contractor has to make a living too.
So, get the scope of work (what you want done) in writing, invite the contractors over (one at a time, not all at once) to bid on the work, show them around the house and listen to possible suggestions for accomplishing what you want.
Make sure you get written proposals, so you match them to each other later, then make your pick based on their history and if you feel they are competent to perform the work on time and on budget.
As Andy has said, getting actual bids is an end game process. This is done after you've done all or most on the descion making process. It doesn't mean it won't change, but you'll have thought the process through.
The most useless plan would be to call in people for bids on a, "kitchen". You know, not too expensive, blue appliances, with a nice floor.
"How much would that cost?"
Spend time and build a project book with what you want. Go to kichen cabinet showrooms and get a feel for the cabinets you want(and can afford) Fifteen thousand maple cabinets are $20,000 cherry cabinets.
Have a realistic budget for the project you want to do.
Realize that if you have an old kitchen, the plumbing and electrical will need to be upgraded.
A good contractor will sit down with you, listen to your goals and make suggestions based upon experience and budget constraints.
Kitchens are complicated projects that need an attention to detail.
Invest the time.
As Andy has indicated, scope of work in writing, but rather than getting from the contractor, write one up to give to them, at least to the best of your ability.
Explain in writing, in detail what you want done, and a very important detail, is what timing you expect to have it done.
Timing effects price dramatically, you want that kitchen done in 4 days, or will you allow 2 weeks, completely different man loading.
And as mentioned, check insurance, gut feel (do you have a confident feeling), and check to see if they have a portfolio of former projects and a contact list so you can talk to former clients, very good evaluation method, any contractor not willing to allow contact with former clients I would stay away from, of course this would mean that you will have to fill out an evaluation on the projects completion.
You may want to put a pricing sheet together to, the more detailed the better.
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