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· Civil Engineer
5,832 Posts
Couple of things to consider. Are these "estimates" or hard bids? The word "estimate" is often mistakenly thought to be the same as a bid, it is not. An estimate by definition is an approximate cost arrived at for purposes of bidding a job or reviewing a bid. Normally a contractor performs an "estimate" for their own use, and submits a "bid" to you.

If these are bids, are they based on detailed drawings and specifications you put together? If not, what is the basis upon which the "estimate" was arrived at? The two contractors could be bidding totally different scopes of work, different quality and quantity of fixtures and finish.

· Learning by Doing
3,165 Posts
Differences can also include:
- overhead - what each one needs to stay in business

- reputation and demand - good reputable people with lots of work can charge more

- materials - apples to apples (as mentioned above)

- scope of work - again apples to apples but one may include more work than the other

- permit application and costs -
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