How to Get a Fair Estimate From a Contractor

The purpose of getting a real and quality estimate from a potential contractor can only be achieved IF you give him or her all of the proper input to begin with. In order to compare apples to apples, each potential contractor must be given the same information in order for you to make an informed decision based on the price, length of time to accomplish the job or other criteria.

I suggest typing up a piece of paper and including the main points of the job you want to price out. Make copies and distribute to all candidates for their analysis. Keep a copy for yourself.

Contact the potential contractor and make an appointment to see him or her in person. When visiting him or her, take special notice of the surroundings. Note to yourself if the office is clean, organized and don't be afraid to search for any signs of referrals or other special awards that this company may have achieved.

Listening attentively to his questions and then correcting any misunderstandings at this early point will help avoid costly errors down the road. Smile, be friendly but be sure YOU understand things he or she says. Ask questions to clarify any items that do not make sense to you.

Ask for alternatives if you feel your ideas may come in too expensive. Remember, this contractor should have already finished jobs much like you want him to do if he is a reputable candidate.

Do not allow the contractor to run the meeting. It is YOUR project, YOUR money and right now, it is YOUR time that is being invested. You need to feel confident that YOU are getting what YOU want. He needs YOU as badly as YOU think you need him.

Before leaving the meeting, ask for solid referrals. These should include addresses, amount of time the job took and possibly even the referral's name and phone number. You may not get all of this information, but it won't hurt to ask, Get this information in writing so you can reference it in the future if need be.

Once you know with whom you will most likely be working with, ask him or her to visit your site and do an inspection to make for the best relationship possible.

While interviewing contractors, establish any perimeters he or she will volunteer regarding EXTRA CHARGES and cost overruns. These things inevitably happen on most jobs and you deserve to know as much as possible what the contractor will be thinking BEFORE they happen to you.

When possible, test the contractor on his knowledge of name-brands, dimensions, etc. just to see if he knows what he is talking about. For instance, ask a contractor what the run of a stair means. He should tell you that the run of any stair is the distance of the actual tread less the nosing extending above a typical tread. Typical run on residential stairs is 10" and the largest rise allowed will be 7-1/4". Besides, you'll find it fun to "talk his language" for a while and in the end, he will respect you for that knowledge.

Once you know with whom you will most likely be working with, ask him or her to visit your site and do an inspection to make for the best relationship possible.

While interviewing contractors, establish any perimeters he or she will volunteer regarding EXTRA CHARGES and cost overruns. These things inevitably happen on most jobs and you deserve to know as much as possible what the contractor will be thinking BEFORE they happen to you.

When possible, test the contractor on his knowledge of name-brands, dimensions, etc. just to see if he knows what he is talking about. For instance, ask a contractor what the run of a stair means. He should tell you that the run of any stair is the distance of the actual tread less the nosing extending above a typical tread. Typical run on residential stairs is 10" and the largest rise allowed will be 7-1/4". Besides, you'll find it fun to "talk his language" for a while and in the end, he will respect you for that knowledge.

As you decide with whom to work, you must obtain all estimates in WRITING, never accepting anything verbally unless he is willing to place all verbal communication in writing in a short manner. The proposals (estimates) must include professional looking forms that include pre printed leader head that includes contact information. If not stated on the proposal, ask if sales tax, garbage pick up charges, delivery fees, potential interest (not real likely) are included in the BOTTOM LINE price. Examine the BOTTOM LINE price and if possible divide the square footage of a room addition, for instance, into the cost just to see if the per foot cost makes sense. Again, if nothing else, your potential contractor has to respect your "out of the ordinary" interrogation into YOUR job. Never let him or her bully you through the hoops because YOU are spending YOUR money and deserve to get exactly what YOUR are paying for. Your contractor must make a profit to run his business, but he doesn't have to make all of his profit on YOUR job. Typical profit and overhead on normal remodeling jobs should range no higher than 20% of the job cost for each.

Once you have determined who to work with, what the job description is, the sequence in which things will start to happen, not to mention the completion date and the cost in writing, you will proceed with a much clearer understanding of your own project. Never pay more than 25% down to start the job. Allow him to make some investment in his work as well. Have an understanding (in writing) of when the next 25% is due (as the work progresses) and NEVER ever pay the Final bill unless you are completely satisfied with the end result. Once paid it is sometimes very hard to get a contractor back to fix an issue be it large or small. Certainly quality contractors do respond to their customers' needs, but not all.

Make sure BEFORE the contractor commences any work, that he provides YOU with a Certificate of Insurance to demonstrate his compliance with the law. YOU need to be fully insured by the contractor, should something unforeseen happen to you or your property. Remember too, that this insurance is necessary should one of the contractor's employees or subs get injured on the job. A proper certificate of insurance will include Workman's Compensation to cover such an event.

OK, now that you have decided NOT to proceed with that desired remodeling project, feel confident that after reading just this one article (there are many more) that you are certainly 90% ahead of most people. By now you have created a valuable respect of your knowledge of what is really involved when considering work on your property!

If you find this article helpful in any way OR if you have ideas to support this article, let me know by commenting or email. Thanks for reading!

TIPS:
* Try to be at the job site when the work begins on YOUR job.
* Test the contractor's email and phone service to make sure you will be able to communicate with him when needed.
* Drive by his alleged place of business during different times of the day. Look for signs of ongoing business besides yours.
* Always check out as many referrals as you can.

WARNINGS:
* There are "fly by night" contractors who just want your money in large doses and then disappear forever with YOUR money.
* Check with the Better Business Bureau whenever possible.

0 komentar:

Post a Comment