Contractors get many calls from buyers looking to receive estimates on a home they have purchased prior to final closing. Of course they love it when someone calls them for business! However, the usual sequence ends up like this. The caller states they are closing in two weeks and want to start the work right after. However, they don’t have time to meet at the home. A detailed estimate and/or a budget amount is prepared based on a site review or via desktop software (mainly roofing or gutter work). This is generally sent via email with a concurrent phone call. We never hear from them. Ever. Not one word of thanks for your time or the estimate or anything! This has been the general experience for years. Boy! Talk about feeling used.
Is it any wonder home buyers cannot find a contractor to bid their project? Most contractors offer free estimates, but are not willing to give free consultation especially when the owner can’t find the time to meet you. Take the right steps and be sure to receive a valid, reasonable bid. After all, you are the one who will rely on the information.
Contractor bids can vary by well over 100% from low to high. So, how do you get a reasonable bid? Find one or two quality contractors and take the time to meet them on site. The contractor will be much more willing to assist you in hopes of future business. They will also understand what you want them to bid on and the specifications YOU desire. Otherwise you might get a bid for a very cheap or a very expensive project neither one being what you want. How will you even know if you don’t meet up with them to discuss your needs? If you ask a car dealer “what’s the price for a car” you will get 100 different answers. You need to tell them what kind of car and what options YOU want.
You may not hire that contractor for this project, but perhaps you may just find a good contractor’s name for the future. Without taking these steps, you will have no idea if the bid you receive is worth the paper it is printed on. So take some time out to meet up. It will be well worth it.