Get three bids before hiring a contractor

Barbara Boca consults with National Air Duct Cleaning of St. Louis to find out how much it will cost to get her air ducts cleaned. Multiple bids can help you find an accurate price range for the job. (Photo by Jennica Abrams)

Barbara Boca consults with National Air Duct Cleaning of St. Louis to find out how much it will cost to get her air ducts cleaned. Multiple bids can help you find an accurate price range for the job. (Photo by Jennica Abrams)

When I get asked about hiring, I always recommend soliciting at least three bids. But I know how difficult it can be to get one bid, let alone three. Your time is valuable and in most cases, you just want to get the job done. I get it. But making a decision based on just one or two price points could actually cost you more time and money down the road.

Whether you’re planning a big remodel or just want to get your gutters cleaned every few months, you have to arm yourself with enough knowledge to make an educated hiring decision. If you only talk to one contractor, how will you know if you’re getting the best deal?

Each bid should spell out:

• The project, including who is responsible for each aspect of the job

• The start and completion dates

• Payment terms

• Cost of labor and materials

• Cost for permits to be pulled

• Proof of licensure, worker’s compensation, liability insurance and bonding, if necessary

In a recent Angie’s List online poll, more than 30 percent of members admitted to soliciting fewer than three bids for their last home remodeling project. In many cases when I hear from members who are upset because they’ve been overcharged, the homeowners could have avoided the bad outcome if they would have seen multiple bids before starting the project.

I remember one review where a homeowner told us he saved $8,000 by getting three quotes to repair his air conditioner. The first contractor advised replacing the entire unit. After talking to two more, the member was pleased to find out he only needed to replace one part that wound up costing less than $300. Tell me the extra time it took to call a couple more contractors and schedule more appointments wasn’t worth that amount of savings!

By soliciting at least three bids, you’ll get an idea of the general price range and identify the outliers. Then, using price as one consideration, you can select your contractor based on other factors such as communication, creativity and flexibility.

After all, you’re going to be interacting with this contractor (and their crew) a lot during the course of your project. I promise that having a respectful, punctual contractor is just as important as price — especially when they’re practically living with you during a big remodel.

Don’t forget, the goal when taking the time to get three estimates is a high-quality project completed at a fair price. That’s 
a return well worth your time.


Ah... the story of 3 bids....Sounds good doesn't it?? As I read the statements above, they sound so solid, so comforting. In the real world of my profession (home remodeling), it just isn't that easy. I am a home remodeling professional who has been in roughly 1,450 homes since 2007. You wouldn't believe how many people I have done business with who have chosen to simply trust my glowing Angie's List reviews, email/phone references and my expertise and passion for the services I provide. I strongly encourage all home owners to simply KNOW HOW TO INTERPRET THE INFORMATION before getting more information. Often times multiple bids can bring confusion and discouragement if you don't know how to interpret the data. I do agree with a few things that were stated above. It was an obvious good decision for that homeowner to get multiple bids on a repair quoted @ $8,000.00. But in regards to purchasing a deck, I wonder if you could take the time to explain to me the difference between one deck that is quoted @ $25,000.00 and the "same" deck quoted @ $20,000.00?? To the common observer, it would appear that one contractor has inflated prices, attempting to prey upon the emotions of a soon to be client, to maximize profits. I would argue that across the board, the contractor's who are charging @ the $25,000.00 price point, are tired of clients telling them how much things cost, and are actually charging those prices for a validated reason. I can't remember the last time I walked onto a car lot and decided how much I was going to pay for my car. Clients who are constantly looking for the "better deal" as was described above, always pay a HUGE price in the end. Read my reviews and find out how clients respond to higher price points: First Choice Carpentry A+ Rated Almost every client who filled out the questionnaire states: "We felt like we got more than our money's worth" It's never about price---It's always about the right contractor! Give us a call if you are tired of dealing with cheap results from cheap prices!

what is the story about the plastic decking, is it recommeded. what is better for durability, low or no maintenance,

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