How does one determine what bid to go with? First off, you should always get at least 3 bids on any job. Once the bids come in, you should review them carefully and ask each bidder/contractor to explain their bids. However, before you get to the bid process, it is critical that you give all bidders/contractors detailed and accurate plans and specifications. The more detailed you are, chances are the bids will be close. If you don’t provide detailed specifications your bids can be all over the board. And when this happens, chances are something might be missing.
When all the details are not specified, that’s when the bidder/Contractor has to do some guess work on what will be needed to do the job. Some might now understand all the details, overlook items, add in unnecessary items, etc. If you don’t know how to prepare and present these details, then talk to a contractor that has done this type of work or get an architect involved to help you out. This process will allow you to be able to compare apples to apples. If not, there is no telling what you will get when you ask for bids on your job.
What happens when the bids do come in all over the board? Sit down with each bidder/contractor and discuss their bid. The low bid might not have included all the necessary things to get the job done right or include all the items you had in mind. If this happens, will you be willing to pay them more during the job? The middle bid, might be just right or they might have left something’s off too. They might have included items that they deemed necessary to complete the job that you might not want. The high one, might have had all the items necessary to get the job done according to prior experience but not necessary to meet your needs. Look at each of the bidders/contractors work and check out their references and past experiences to get your job done.
Finally, if you select the cheapest bid, are you going to make them stick to their bid? Are you willing to pay more during the job if they request it? Will they complete the job in a reasonable manner, successfully, and most important – to your specifications and satisfaction? Will you be willing to pay more for any bid low or high – NO you should not have to. The only time you pay more, is if you request a change in the initial specifications you presented. The bidder/contractor did not have this change in their initial bids and it will be a Change Order. You will be liable for this additional money. If some one has bid low to get your job – make them stick to their bid.
Beware also of the quality in a low bid, verses a higher bid. Compare materials to be used on your job, will permits be pulled, will inspections be performed, will you get any guarantees? Always Sign an agreement and hold them accountable for their bid and actions. This will help protect you if the time comes. Any job can get done, but they don’t always get done right! The more information you can gather up front, the better the project will be. Protect yourself and your project.
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