Construction Bids

Written by Charles Peacock
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Whether you're looking to build a new home or to simply do some improvements, hiring a professional contractor is the best way to make sure that you get the results you are looking for. That said, many people wonder how they should go about choosing a particular contractor. Finding construction contractors is easy enough--they're usually well represented in the local yellow pages or on signs around town--but advertisements rarely give you much reason to choose one contractor over another.

One of your main concerns for any construction project is probably going to be the cost, and this will be a determining factor in whether you choose to go with a particular contractor or not. You don't want to pay too much for the job, but you also don't want the contractor to cut corners and leave you with a shoddy end product. So how do you go about pricing the job correctly?

Open up the Bidding

You're probably not used to having multiple parties bidding on how much you're going to pay for a particular item or service, but in the world of home construction this is very often how prices are set and jobs are won. Let's say you want to add a deck to the back of your house. The best way to figure out how much it's going to cost you is to bring in several contractors and have them bid on the job.

The bidding process begins with you hunting down several different contractors. You'll usually want to find at least two or three--the more bids you get, the more likely you are to find a good price and a good contractor. Set up appointments with each contractor so they can come to your home and see what the job entails.

Once you have gotten in touch with each of the contractors and discussed the job with them, each one will tell you how much they would charge for the project. This is their bid. It might be useful to tell each contractor that you've opened the bidding to several parties, so they know that they have to price their services competitively.

Choosing a Contractor

A crucial element in choosing a good contractor is knowing whether he is reliable. You can start to gauge reliability during the bidding process. If it takes the contractor two weeks to come back with a bid, you know he's probably either too busy or too forgetful to give you the attention you need.

Once you've received several bids, it would be easy just to go with the cheapest contractor--but this isn't something you should do as a rule. Make sure you know what you're getting from each contractor, and what he is including in the bid. Ask about the materials he's going to use, how long he thinks the project will take, and why you should choose him over another contractor.

Once you've gathered all of this information, choose a contractor based on cost and how you feel about them. If you have a good rapport with a contractor but he costs a little more, it's probably worth it to choose him over a cheaper but less reliable contractor. You'll be thankful in the long run.

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