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An itemized list / cost breakdown, more often than not is used against the contractor when it is shared with other builders who will then beat it.
Good contractors use good people, and good people cost more. Just the cost of having the appropriate insurance / bond can be the difference between winning a job or losing it ot a 'lower bid'.
It is the rule of three; there is Good, Cheap and Fast. You can have any two: Good and Cheap, won't be Fast; Good and Fast, won't be Cheap; Cheap and Fast, won't be Good!
When comparing bids, it isn't the cheapest or the 'nicest' person you should select. You should understand why there is a large price difference (it shows there are gaps in your design program or what you have asked for specifically, which means there may be arguments later). If most of the bids are in line, and one is way high or way low, you want to know why before dismissing or selecting them.
A price-only decision almost always costs more in the long run.
Another good arguement for disclosing your budget to your contractor is to save you both some time and aggrevation. You may have a $10,000 budget and want $30,000 worth of work. Wouldn't you like to know your desires aren't possible before you get your hopes up or spend money on design fees for plans you can't afford? Likewise, the contractor doesn't want to put in the hours of calculating the estimate only to find out it was all for nothing or that he has to refigure for a much lower cost after pricing what you specified.
Be fair and honest with your contractor if you expect the same respect in return. You'll get a lot more out of it with the right contractor.
Todd's Home Services
San Antonio, TX
Herlonginc's answer stated that it is not the contractor's job to pay for materials and labor to do the job. I say baloney - a reputable, established contractor has the funds (or a business operations line of credit) to "carry" the job between interim or partial payments, each of which should be keyed to completion of distinct easily measured mileposts in the job, and for a homeowner I would say should be in not more than 20% increments for jobs exceeding a week or so. For shorter jobs, then an initial payment, 50% completion, and completion would be normal. His cost of carry funds is part of his cost of doing business, and is figured as part of his overhead.Bear in mind when he is buying materials and paying labor, his materials he typically pays for on a 10-30 day invoice, and his labor typically a week or two after they work, so he is not really "fronting" that much money if you are giving him weekly or biweekly interim payments, on a typical residential job.
If he does not have the funds to buy materials (excepting possibly deposit on special-order or luxury items, which still typically are 10-30 day invoiceable to him) and hire personnel then he is a fly-by-night operation, and he should not be bidding that size job. You should never (other than MAYBE an earnest deposit of not more than the LESSER of 10% or $5000) let the payments get ahead of the approved/inspected work progress - typically payment should be 10-20% BEHIND the progress, with at least 10% retained at the effective end of work until final inspections and completion of the final "punchlist".
That promotes rapid continuation of the work, discourages the all-too common nightmare of contractors taking on more work than they can handle so they leave your job for weeks or months to go work on someone else's job (frequently to start that someone else's new job so he can get the job), and does not leave you out a tremendous amount of cash if he does not finish and you have to hire another contractor to finish the job. Remember, if you have to hire a new contractor to finish the job, he will charge you a lot more than the original bid to finish someone else's unfinished mess.
This may seem cynical, but having started in the construction business about 50 years ago and seeing the shenanigans that a lot of contractors pull you cannot be too safe. You have to remember contractors are like any other people - I would say maybe 10% are outright crooks, another 25% or so will pull a fast one or overcharge if the opportunity presents itself, maybe 30% will do the work but not any better than they are forced to, about 25% are good conscientious reputable workmen, and the last 10% or so are really spectacular - conscientious, fair, and efficient craftsmen. This top 35% are the only ones you should have bidding in the first place. Therefore, only get bids from long-term reputable firms (so you shake out the marginal short-timers with less experience and also generally less ability to finish the job on budget and schedule), only those that have good RECENT references, and preferably with excellent word-of-mouth recommendation from people you know and trust. That way, you are starting right off with the cream of the crop, so hopefully whichever one bids low should be a good choice.
NEVER start with bids, then check the references of the low bidder - why even consider a vendor or contractor who you do not have faith in from the start ? Get references and short-list you possibles BEFORE you ask for bids.
Low bids - that is another matter - commonly the low bidder is NOT who you want, especially if he is significantly lower than several others, which might mean he is desperate for work, made a math error, or did not correctly figure the entire scope of work. You want a reasonable bid with someone you connect with and trust - that is worth a lot more in the success of the job than the absolute lowest bid.
Home Remodeling reviews in Washington
We had a great working relationship built on mutual trust. He has performed various "handyman" tasks for me in the past, so having him do my kitchen was the next step. I'm already asking him about the next project - the bathroom!
One thing that I specifically want to call out was his detail and patience with my backsplash tile. I ordered beautiful tiles from Etsy. The tiles were handmade from Mexico (or so Etsy said :) ). Although they were all 4x4, there were slight differences in size due to being handmade.
The management of my condo building (The Radius) said they were probably the most quiet, clean and courteous group they have ever worked with.
If you need a job done, this is the company to hire.
This contractor is dependable and has always done a great job and completed the jobs. He pays close attention to detail and makes sure he understands what needs to be done.”
When we were finally (!) able to begin the renovation,
It was great - we were fully invested in this renovation without any nasty surprises from Impact. Our nasty surprises came from the house itself!
I could go on about all of the bad, but the major problems were:
The contract. The owner of the company was in such a rush to move the contract forward, he tried pushing us to sign the contract as is and use "change orders" later to modify the contract. We did not want to do that. Since we were spending between $250k-$300K, we wanted a contract that specified everything that was expected, laid out early; materials, timeline, etc. We wanted to use the contract as self-discipline for us as well - as a way to keep my husband and I from making drastic changes and keep the process going, etc. We made a number of changes to the contract, and finally got it in a place where we were fairly happy. As for changes, rightly so, the owner was very diligent about making us sign, date and initial any change forms (we only did minimal changes later, things like adding pot lights, etc.).
Unprofessional/Verbally Abusive Owner: We originally went withTabor because we thought the owner was as laid-back as we were. He seemed easy going, not wound up. I was wrong. For example, when the kitchen designer made changes to our kitchen that we never saw (or signed as required by the owner and our contract), the owner called me a liar when I told
him I had never seen the changes. I had the original designs on hand, but he still raised his voice at me and told me I had seen the changes (again, I hadn't as demonstrated by the fact that my signature, nor my husband's was on he drawings, as required). And it all went downhill from there. He even started to try to play me and my husband against each other, saying things like "well, your husband saw it" even though he hadn't. At one point, when we disagreed over the bathroom tiles, instead of coming to some kind of agreement to make it work, his outburst was so over the top that I had to tell him to calm down and come speak with me when he was ready to have a professional, adult conversation. His entire staff witnessed his outburst. Also, a final example (because there are too many): when he insisted that the drawers in our kitchen were the "soft-close" that were in our contract. They clearly weren't, and he stood in the kitchen in front of everyone yelling at me insisting that they were the correct drawers. They weren't and he replaced them, but it didn't have to escalate to yelling. He was disrespectful of my home, my husband, our money, and me.
Dimensions: The kitchen and bath designer did a terrible job. It became a running joke (with my family, the on-site employees
and the contractors) that she confused inches for feet, because all of the dimensions of her work were just off...always.
Communication/Staff Supervision/Quality control: The two employees that were at my home every day were not well supervised. We had an excellent relationship with them, but they were clearly stuckbetween a rock and a hard place - working for
Nickel/Dimed: It’s the ridiculous things that can also drive you crazy, like this: Despite all new walls and a number of electrical outlets and other electrical being wired/rewired/extended, etc., they actually did NOT include new light switches or light switch covers in the contract. OK, totally my fault for not realizing that a $300K renovation would not include new light switches and outlet covers. They actually installed the old covers on the new walls. Yep, the .25 home depot light switch covers
were not in his budget. Good grief.
Within six months to two years, we found out that the deck they installed was not properly built. Our addition roof was leaking because they didn't cap the chimney, and nearly every new bit of drywall is cracked.
All that said, many of the sub-contractors were great. The flooring sub-contractor was great. Our new hardwoods are beautiful. The drywall sub-contractor was so fast I couldn’t believe it. As I said, the electrician was the best, and I even had him come back to properly rewire the spots
because I do Iike my new home mostly due to the sub-contractors. The owner and designer were not up to the same quality of the people they contracted out to.
The work took longer than expected and
I would recommend
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