How Many Bids Do I Really Need Before Hiring a Contractor?

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hiring a contractor, home remodel, contractor quoteRemodeling can be complicated. That’s why it is so important to find the perfect contractor. But how can you really tell who’s right for the job? The first step is gathering several quotes. The question is knowing when you’ve gathered enough.

Get a Variety of Quotes

When hiring a contractor for a project, you want to secure a quote or bid from roughly three to five different companies. However, don’t just get quotes from random contractors that you’ve never heard of before. Start by contacting companies through referrals from friends and those that are highly rated online. You want to look for companies with a lot of reviews and a good mix of different people rating both positively and negatively, and take into account the content of the review, not just the star rating. Getting two to five quotes gives you enough contractors to have a good mix of skills, but not too many that will be confusing. By doing some legwork you will also help ensure that you are working with legitimate and professional companies.

Money Talks… Know What It’s Saying

When comparing your quotes, you need to know if the price is fair. There are four things you can do to help compare prices and know which one is going to be the fairest for you as well as the contractor:

  • Get a List of Materials: Have the contractor give you a list of the materials they will be using and the price they’re charging. Then, do some of your own research and see how much each is charging in comparison to each other against the actual price of the item.
  • Know about Subcontractors: Not all of the small projects in your home renovation can be done by one contractor. The person you hire may have to bring in sub-contractors for things like electrical work or roofing. Know how many subcontractors will be needed by each of the companies/contractors and the price.
  • Divide the Price: Know that the breakdown is between material and labor, and use that breakdown to compare each quote.
  • Pick What’s Right for You: In the end, pick the contractor you feel most comfortable with. Did they offer a price that fits into your budget? Do they appear to do good quality work? Do they seem genuinely interested in your project? If the answer to these questions is yes, their quote may be the fairest for your renovation.

kitchen remodel, home improvementNegotiation Is Your Friend

While you normally cannot negotiate the price of a product, hiring a contractor is a little bit different. Some contractors are willing to haggle, so it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. One of the best ways to negotiate your quote is to offer to buy materials separately. Some contractors and companies will charge a much higher price for materials than you would pay to buy them separately, and some will allow you to only hire them and pay for labor, essentially cutting down your bill significantly.

Read Your Contract

Once you have picked your contractor, always make sure you read the entire final contract, including all of the fine print. There may be certain “hidden” fees you aren’t aware of. The final contract will also outline your exact final price and the terms of payment.

When looking for a contractor for a home renovation, getting a reasonable quote is important. Knowing what you are paying for that home improvement project and how much is crucial to ensure you’re getting the most for your money. Once you have secured your contractor and a fair price, you are only a few steps away from having the home of your dreams.

Maurcia H. is a seasoned writer with 20-plus years of publishing experience which includes 10 traditional print books, three book collaborations; more than 100 ghostwritten books. Specializing in both how-to pieces as well as industry oriented articles, Maurcia has written press releases, blog posts and articles for a variety of construction companies.