Should I get three bids?

Angie’s List stresses the importance of getting three estimates when hiring anyone for home improvement projects. It takes a lot of work, but comparing contractors can really pay off for you.

Information Text:

Angie Hicks, Angie’s List founder: “When getting bids from contractors, it’s important to get as much detail in writing as possible. Things like how payment is going to be handled, how long the job is going to take, what’s going to happen if there are delays on the project, and you want to be sure that it lists out actual items that are going to be used in the project, so you can get a really good apples to apples comparison.”

Catherine Duff, Homeowner: “The two that I did not choose, like I said, they were not thrilled that I wasn’t going to make a decision on the spot.  That’s what they wanted. They had a contract ready to sign. They took a very cursory look at what we wanted without really discussing design or architecture or what we were going for in the house, and I just didn’t feel comfortable with either of them. The third was willing to do everything that I asked, and happily. He offered me, actually two contracts. One about 10 pages long – legalese, and then a one-page contract.  And we chose to go with the one-page contract because we, at that point, felt comfortable with him.”

Angie Hicks, Angie’s List founder: “When reading a bid, you want to go through it item by item and be sure to sit down with the contractor and ask questions as you go along. I think sometimes people take it for granted and they don’t actually read through the details.”

Catherine Duff, Homeowner: “We wanted to make sure we agreed on start date, end date, total cost, what materials we would purchase, what his labor price would be, that he would clean up every evening when he left.”

Angie Hicks, Angie’s List founder: “Ask questions; make sure you know exactly how it’s being done and that the items that you expect to be in it are in it and not extra things that you are not expecting.”

Angie’s List Tips:

Always compare apples to apples

Don’t fall victim to pressure from contractors

Find the contractor who meets your requests

Make time to get questions answered

Read and adjust the contract before you sign

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Rachel Hardy

Angie’s List videographer Rachel Hardy produces videos focused on home improvement tips and trends, health care issues, and pet services.

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