When you are ready to remodel part of your home, one of the first steps is to solicit bids from various home remodeling companies.
The more quotes you get, the harder it will be to easily, (and correctly), compare apples to apples.
Perhaps one is less expensive, but the materials he uses are different than another that is twice as much.
It’s important to avoid hiring the wrong contractor and creating bigger problems than you started with.
The goal is not to find the cheapest bid, it is to simply discover who can do what you want, at the highest quality, at a competitive price.
Let’s look at the things you need to be aware of when trying to compare home remodeling quotes.
What’s the Difference Between Quote, Estimate, and Bid?
When you call different companies, one might come out for an estimate while another may hand you a printed quote.
Although it seems both are providing you with an outline of charges, these terms are not always interchangeable.
When talking with contractors, it’s important to know how the company uses these terms and understand the cost you agree to. This is essential in the attempt to compare home remodeling quotes.
1. Know What’s Included in the Quote
It’s important to know what is (and what is not) included in the agreement between you and your contractor.
The more detailed, the better.
For example, if your bid includes “install new countertop” does this mean they will remove the old countertop, or are you responsible for that?
Will they take care of the disposal or is that on you?
Also, consider the design of the project itself.
The actual design for your remodel can be completed by you as the homeowner, an outside interior designer, or the contractor’s design team.
It’s important to know exactly who is responsible for designing the exact layout of your project that your builders will use.
When you compare home remodeling quotes or estimates, always ask whether the design is included in the price. If it’s not, you’ll need to factor that additional cost in to know your true costs.
2. Is It a Set Price or a Price Allowance?
When you analyze a quote, look for the terms “set price” or “price allowance”.
A price allowance is typically an estimate for materials of a certain grade.
For example, you may see “Cabinet Price Allowance – $15,000”. That means that the contractor is only allowing $15,000 to cover the cost of the cabinets. If you choose cabinets that are $25,000; you are responsible for paying the additional $10,000.
If this happens more than a couple of times, your final cost may end up being much higher than anticipated.
A set price is not as common as it is unrealistic if you want a custom-designed space.
Make sure that the allowances your contractor is using are based on the products you’re interested in and their current market price. This will provide an estimate that is much closer to reality than using set prices.
3. Be Cautious of the Lowest Bidder
Picking a home remodeling company solely based on price can lead you down a dangerous path.
If you receive a quote that is significantly lower than others, that may be a sign of increased risk.
For starters, they could be leaving things out (either innocently or intentionally), or they may be a newer business that doesn’t have the necessary overhead like licensing, insurance, a business location, etc.
This doesn’t mean the lowest bid isn’t worth considering. It absolutely is – but it must be weighed carefully so you know what you’re getting into. This is why you actually compare home remodeling quotes.
Here are the best tips to keep you from choosing the wrong contractor:
4. The Highest Bid Doesn’t Mean It’s the Best
On the other hand, picking the highest bid doesn’t mean you’re getting the best product.
Some contractors will increase their prices attempting to show they provide a higher quality product.
In reality, you may end up paying way more for the same thing.
If a quote seems too high, be upfront and ask for a breakdown of the cost. Remember that when you compare home remodeling quotes, it is essential to concentrate on every single detail.
5. What Warranties Are Included?
Most reputable contractors will offer some type of warranty on their work, but they are not all the same. When you compare home remodeling quotes, don’t forget to consider the warranties that are offered to you.
It’s important to discuss this topic with each contractor to understand what their warranty policy is before signing anything.
Ask if they offer a one-year, multi-year, or lifetime warranty and what is included. Those who offer a more reliable warranty will also likely be charging a higher price.
However, the peace of mind knowing that they will come back and fix any problems may be worth the cost.
6. Make Sure the Company is Licensed and Insured
It’s important to work with a contractor that is properly insured. Be sure to ask for proof of insurance before signing a contract. Checking contractors’ licenses is necessary when you compare kitchen remodeling quotes.
In some states, there are also certain certifications or licenses that a contractor must hold.
If your project is required to be inspected before completion, it may be impossible to receive approval from your state government until it is reviewed by a certified contractor.
Finding the Best Value
While we are all looking for a deal, there is no substitute for value.
This is the place where your family rests and friends visit and holidays are enjoyed.
This is the place you come home after a long day’s work.
A shoddy job to save a few thousand dollars will show up every single day, so compare home remodeling quotes carefully.
Rather than looking to pinch every penny, look for a contractor that will provide the highest quality work at a competitive price.
If you’re looking to work with a Louisville kitchen and home remodeling contractor in your area, we encourage you to check out our work.
If you would like a home remodeling quote, give us a call, we would love the opportunity to earn your business.