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Why You Should Get Several Bids and Compare Prices

All contractors understand how important price is for consumers. You should always seek bids from multiple contractors, but only considering price overlooks other factors that should affect your decision. For you to be able to compare price, all the bids must be for the same project, the same products, the same specifications, and the same quality of work.

Homeowners rarely provide an invited bidder with plans and a specific set of bid documents. Instead, they meet with potential contractors individually so the other bidders don’t know who else is bidding. The proposals homeowners receive represent each contractor’s interpretation of what the owner explained, often making it impossible to compare the bids by price alone.

Most contractors will try very hard to give you what you want at the price you want to pay. They will even find cheap products and inexpensive subcontractors to help you meet your budget. However, remember that the bid is only the starting point in your negotiations with the contractor – not necessarily the bottom line.

Keep in mind that the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid. An unusually low bid may be cause for alarm.

In this case, the contractor may not fully understand the scope of work; may be inexperienced and is underestimating the amount of labor and materials required; or may be planning to cut corners by using inferior materials, low-paid, inexperienced workers, or not following local building codes. You could end up paying to repair or replace work much sooner than if your project was done right the first time with qualified workers and quality materials. 

So, while price is an important consideration, always make sure to consider the other factors surrounding a bid. The bitterness of poor quality and service remains long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten!