Get Three Bids before Hiring a Contractor

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Ron Reed

Subject: Concrete

I love the idea of getting three bids so the customer has an idea of the cost. In my twenty years of concrete contracting I have seen numerous customer going with the lowest bidder then calling our company back out to fix all the messes of the lowest bidder.

It now costs the customer double the original amount of the bid because we now have to remove all the concrete the first contractor installed, or used diamond grinders to level the concrete then place a micro toping over it.

Research the company/contractor you hire. Most of the time the lowest bidder will cost you more in the long run. Do it right the first time.

Ron Reed
Concrete House


Subject: 3 Bids

Great! You got your A/C fixed for $300.00. How old was the unit, what efficiency was the rating, etc. Ultimately, should that client have put $300.00 into a unit that may have broken down the very next day? The obvious answer is no. There are far too many contractors out there who are not doing the best thing for their clients. Sometimes fixing or band aiding a problem will cost more in the long run. $300.00 this year, $200.00 the next, plus the added cost of a system that is not that efficient. Best better, give your clients the options but let them know that putting money into a system that may fail tomorrow is also an awful idea.

Max Capestany

Subject: Not So Fast

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!

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.