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ThunderCAT 02-26-2009 10:05 PM

Bid reviews from experts
I recently attempted to post on this site to get some experts to review a bid for drywall install, but my post was locked as I was told this was a DIY site and not a bid review site. Understandable, but as a DIYer it would sure be nice to have some knowledgable and experienced contractors (or even fellow DIYers) review a bid to see if I am paying too much, etc. I'm doing most everything in my basement remodel on my own, but really could use some insight into this portion of my project.

I understand that pricing is very localized, but perhaps it would allow local people to help inform.

So, I would really like to see a portion of the site dedicated to this, with the appropriate warnings or cautions regarding localized prices, etc.

Thanks for the consideration!

rjordan392 03-07-2009 08:25 AM

As an avid DIY, your first thoughts should be directed at the qualifications, referances and "Better Business Bureau" ratings of the contractors. The pricing of materials and labor can be differant in areas of the country, so in my opinion, it would only cause confusion as to what is considered a fair price, if the data you are seeking is published. However, you might have luck if you post your request on the contractors forum. Most professional bids should be close to each other. Its up you to tell them exactly what you want installed and you want quality construction materials and installation methods according to building codes before you accept a bid and make sure the contract says the same. If you see a big differance in bids, then check again on what materials are going to be installed.

Bob Mariani 03-07-2009 10:09 AM

Prices are so different between local areas. But more than that price is far less important than the qualifications of your contractor. How can you expect anyone here give advise on which contractor to use. Estimates are costly to produce, especially if they are accurate. So we try to help those that are trying to learn how to DIY, not spend hours reading and calculating to produce a 100% useless figure based on what you think we need. So many issues are involved in estimating. Including what my current work load is, time frame of the product your ability to pay me on time, equipment that I have or need to rent.... and so much more. None of these factors can be applied to your request.

bjbatlanta 03-08-2009 12:18 PM

I couldn't/wouldn't bid a job over the phone or computer for a customer who lived next door, let alone across the country. There are too many variables to consider and every job is different. Is the finished ceiling heighth less than 8'?? If so, every top sheet has to be cut. Is it over 8'? There will need to be a rip installed somewhere involving more finishing. Are there soffits and/or chases for HVAC, plumbing,etc. all over the place? Lots of corner bead involved. And I measure each and every wall/ceiling to utilize the optimum lenght board to minimize joints (13'-6" wall gets a 14' board). Thus actual square footage of material is optimized (less scrap which has to be paid for) and the cost of the labor is kept appropriate. Labor of course is the biggest factor. If I WERE to bid a job "sight unseen" I would certainly "pad" the price in my favor to cover any unforseen variables. I do most of my own hanging and finishing these days, and if I were to give a quote based on square footage alone I would likely end up working for "peanuts". I don't mind going home tired at the end of the day, but I'm not going home hungry too......

ThunderCAT 03-08-2009 06:47 PM

For clarification to all the "helpful" people...I wasn't looking for an actual bid from anyone here. I was just wondering if this guy seemed "in the ballpark". I've received other bids as well, some siginificantly lower and some in the middle, and am confused as to why there could be such a high price difference - I won't go with the cheapest just because he's the cheapest, as I want to be sure to have a decent finished product, but I don't want to overpay for something either (though the highest bid felt like the most reputable company).

Not knowing what a typical range of costs for this type of job would be, I was only attempting to get some general input. Thanks for your comments, however.

bjbatlanta 03-08-2009 08:38 PM

Understand your point, and's hard to say why such a wide variation without knowing "who, what, where, and why". Contractor, subbing out the work to others?? Contractor who is pretty busy and bid high because he doesn't really NEED the job? Contractor who really DOES need the work to feed his family in the bad economy and is willing to work for less? And what is "THE BALL PARK" for your area of the country (which is not apparent under your username)? You apparently got at least a couple of bids. Did you ask for and check references? Did you get a better "feeling" of trust with one contractor over the other? (Apparently the high bidder did hit a nerve.) There's no real rhyme or reason for bids to be even close to equal. Each job is seen in a different light by each individual who "appraises" it. It's like me asking you - "how long is a rope?"

Bob Mariani 03-08-2009 09:07 PM

years ago I worked as an estimator. Even on bids 1.5 million almost all bids were in 5% of each other. Unfortunately residential work is far from professional ranks. And the bids are sometimes no more than a guess or what they feel are competitive prices. Qualify the bids. Did you provide plans? Did you provide specs? A schedule? All these must be included or they are not even looking at the same job.

bjbatlanta 03-08-2009 09:49 PM

Amen! I have bid many a commercial job from blueprints. Always have the nagging doubt about an item I may have missed that I might have seen had I actually been able to "walk" the job. I have missed an item once or twice, but luckily nothing major enough to do any harm.

ThunderCAT 03-08-2009 11:20 PM

All bids have walked the actual bids off blue prints, drawings or descriptions. My range of bids is $1950-4450 with little consistency in the bids I've received. As an uninformed homeowner that's never had to go through this before, surely you can see why I am asking the questions I have been given that price range. That being said, I do understand that bids can vary on numerous factors, however my basement is pretty standard and straightforward. (or so I was told by the vast majority of the bids, inclusing the highest bidder).

I do have some soffit work (standard for a basement of my design, I would assume), 70% is 9' ceilings, the other 30% is just a shade under 8'. Even if I throw out the high and low bids my range has been from $2250-$4000 -- and my estimates come from a wide range of people from folks out on their own (ALL licensed and insured), to drywall specialist companies to contractors that sub it out...and I haven't been able to find any consistency to make an informed decision on (thus why I looked here for some guidance).

Nonetheless, I'll go with one in the middle of the range that I think will do a good job and roll the dice, hoping they will.

Bob Mariani 03-09-2009 04:51 AM

For just drywall this range seems strange indeed. Is any of the bidders using mold resistant drywall? did you check their other jobs.. since this is your only way to validate the bids at this point. Look at how well they made their corners. Look down the plane of the wall to see if any imperfections are visible. Ask how they treat butt joints. Pros use one method or another to pull the joint in, thus not having a bulge. This takes more time and material as well does any job with extra quality. But then again what quality are you willing to pay for. When we bid we try to access what we feel the expectations of the client is.

bjbatlanta 03-09-2009 06:51 AM

It IS quite a difference in bids. I (and Bob) have given possible reasons, but only those who actually bid the job know the real reason for the discrepancy........

Michael Thomas 03-09-2009 07:37 AM

Often, one of the major reasons for differences in residential bids is whether the contractor and any subcontractors he or she hires are fully insured. This is potentially a very high cost to homeowner, in my state under some circumstances a homeowner can be responsible for injuries sustained by a contractor and his employees, and under some circumstances homeowners insurance may not cover this.

This is especially true in difficult economic times, if you have your choice of paying for materials, making payroll, or paying the insurance premium, often the insurance is the first thing to go.

Unfortunately, it's up to the homeowner protect themselves in the situation, along with each bid you need to request certificates of insurance for (in my state) workers comp and general liability, and then you have to take the extra step of calling the insurance company to verify that coverage has not lapsed.

People often assume that since it's "just remodeling" the chances of injury are low, but for example handling and hanging drywall is a frequent cause of back injuries, which are one of the most frequent types of disabling workplace injuries at construction sites.

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