Navigating The General Contractor Bidding Process

Before adding to your home, I recommend you select three qualified licensed contractors or remodelers out of your interviewing list from whom you will solicit written bids to start the bidding. Three bidders is the industry standard on large projects. On smaller projects, you may opt to just get two bids. Your interviewing list will probably come from neighbors, friends, government agencies, neighborhood newsletters or maybe an Old House Fair event.

The more contractors bid on your project the higher the blueprinting bill will be, because you’re the one paying for the blueprints. I believe it’s even more confusing when you have more than three to select from. Also, keep in mind that it could take at least three or four weeks to get all the bids back from the contractors depending on the construction market in your area.

The first interviewing list may contain up to 8 people whom you will do some research on, and talk to over the phone. This is an opportunity to see if they might be a good fit for your project, if they are qualified, or if they are they interested in your project, before they come to your home.

For example, you would not want to waste your time or theirs for them to come to your house and find out they only remodel kitchens and baths under $25,000 when your project is a building a garage addition on the back of your home. Some general contractors specialize in different size project and types of projects. Currently, the construction industry is booming here in Nashville so some contractors will not take on projects under $50,000.

Even if I refer a contractor, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to check and make sure that all the referred contactors have a construction license, liability insurance, and workman’s comp are bonded. They should be able to provide you with a license number. The contractor’s insurance company will provide the liability insurance and workman’s comp information directly to you.

I do provide assistance during the bidding process. However, you are responsible for selecting the contractor and executing their own contract with that contractor. Ultimately, homeowners need to make their selection based on how comfortable they feel with the way the contractor communicates, conducts business, and their references.

Over the years in this industry, I have found some important things that they recommend during the bidding process. Some of these items are about being fair and respectful to the contractors during the bidding process. There are many hours that go into an accurate bid for a renovation project. They be appreciate it! We can explain each of these recommendations further at any point during our Taylor Made Plans Process.

  • Homeowners SHOULD obtain only two to three contractor quotes after construction drawings are complete. I believe it’s confusing when you have more than three to select from. They might back out of bidding, if they find out you have more than 3 contractors bidding.
  • Homeowners SHOULD NOT share their budget with the prospective contractors. Some contractors want to know what your budget is, but I would rather they tell us how much they think it is before you share the number.
  • Homeowners SHOULD NOT share competing quotes with other prospective contractors in a way of trying to get the other contractor to “come down” or match the price. This is really frowned upon in the industry, although some may ask to see the other bids.
  • Homeowners need to be aware that contractor quotes often vary significantly due to their overhead structure and subcontracting arrangements. Yes they do! I have had some bids with a difference of $50,000.
  • Homeowners SHOULD NOT tell the contractors whom they are bidding against during the process. Sometimes contractors have preconceptions about other contractors and think they will always be under bided by that contractor. Occasionally they ask me, but I never share one contractors bid with another contractor.

Ever wonder how to rank contractors when you are interviewing them? Hiring the wrong contractor for your job can cost you much stress, weeks of wasted time and, and possibly thousands of dollars. Learn how to remove the bad apples from the bunch and choose only the RIGHT one with the Taylor Made Plan’s Interactive Contractor Scorecard….Get it today!

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