Get a Price
Price quotes are essential elements in deciding whether to proceed with a building project or to delay it until you have more funds, thus ensuring its completion. You need to know what it will cost you to get the job done and how much you can do on a set budget.
For small jobs, it is usually a simple task to get quotes if you make sure that all the contractors vying for the job are bidding on the same services and materials. However, the task becomes much more complex when dealing with larger or more intricate jobs.
Larger or intricate projects will often necessitate that you have a complete design, specifications and plans done before you ever get a bid from the contractor to do the actual work. This design process would be the initial phase, and getting it done will usually have a fee associated with it. Since many contractors may offer their own design services, this price could be included in the final bid or not. If you have already had the plans drawn up in advance of getting contractor bids for the job, you can use them to get formal quotes. Getting a price for the job using identical designs and specifications will make evaluating the different quotes much easier.
The scope, size and intricacy of your project will determine the level of detail required in your plans. If you plan on altering the structure of your home, it will most likely require full construction diagrams, while easy projects may be illustrated with simple sketches.
The specifications included with your plans will delineate in detail the specific materials and products that you plan to use in your project. An example of this would be if you have decided on the exact type of decking you want to use to create your outdoor living space, then you need to include these specifications with your plans.
Another option to getting quotes from contractors would be to work with your designer or architect and let them get the price quotes from different contractors. They will probably have a working relationship with several companies that specialize in the area of expertise that you need to get your job done the way you want it.
Educated guesses may be helpful in the beginning to make sure that what you have in mind for a job and what you have budgeted for it sync with each other. These “guesses” or rough estimates can be gotten on the spot through experienced contractors who will base their opinion on the cost of similar jobs that they have done in the past. There are many factors, however, that can cause a big variation in this type of pricing, especially the types of materials you want to use as well as the current condition of your home. Remember that an educated guess is just an estimate and not a price quote.
Just so you understand it, remember that price quotes and bids are the same. If they are written down, they represent a contractor’s offer to do the job that you want to have done for the quoted price. It is based upon the description of the work included in their price quote.
When you are given a price quote, it should include several elements in it. It should contain prices for labor for the contracting firm and for any subcontractors that they might use. Also included should be a list of specific materials and products with their brand names and model numbers to be used in the project. It will also set parameters for payment schedules and amounts and their associated progress milestones.
While payment schedules should be laid out in the price quote, a deposit is usually required if you decide to accept the quote and sign a contract. These deposits should, however, not exceed 10% of the total cost of the work to be performed. There are some exceptions to this 10% rule of thumb, with one them being if the contractor has to prepay for special-order materials that he cannot return. If your contract includes these special materials in the job request, expect to pay extra on the deposit.
Remember, that a written price quote is legally binding for both parties and it becomes part of the contract between you and the contractor if you decide to accept it.
There are no rules to govern how many bids you should get for a job. On large projects, many homeowners interview several contractors, check their references and check out their previous projects. Once that is done, they choose one company to work with during the whole building or renovating process from start to finish. This would include creating plans and budgets as well as doing the actual work. Other homeowners will simply get quotes from several firms before deciding which contractor to hire.