San Diego Remodeling - How to Compare Bids

Once you know what you’d like to accomplish with your San Diego remodeling project the next steps is to get a cost estimate and compare bids?  This can be a challenge because there isn't a standard format all contractors use when providing bids.  In this article will give you some tips for comparing bids and getting an accurate cost estimate.


Comparing Bids – San Diego Remodeling – Tip #1


  • Look beyond the “total”.  Most homeowners considering a home remodeling project are focused on the “total” cost.  Unreputable contractors will exploit this fact.  Knowing that the "total" cost will greatly sway clients looking for a bargain, many contractors will lowball elements of the bids or exclude items from the contract.  Initially the estimate may seem like a bargain but as the project continues, these contractors stick homeowners with expensive change orders for items not included or that were underbid.  Compare each component of the bid carefully and beware of lowball pricing for your San Diego remodeling project. 


Comparing Bids – San Diego Remodeling – Tip #2


  • Know the components of a bid.  A bid generally has 4 main elements you’ll want to review carefully.  First are the fixed cost items.  These are elements like framing and roofing that don’t vary once the design is complete.  The second element is allowances.  Allowances are estimates for items you’ll choose later on such as cabinets, countertops and plumbing fixtures.  The cost of these items varies based on the style, brand, finish and features you choose for your San Diego remodeling project.  The third element is the contractor’s profit and overhead.  This item is generally not broken out separately but should vary minimally by contractor.  The fourth element of a bid is excluded items and unknown conditions.  These are items that you may have to pay for but are not included such as permit fees, school fees or surveys.  Pay careful attention to these items as they can add up very quickly for you San Diego remodeling project.


Comparing Bids – San Diego Remodeling – Tip #3


  • Carefully compare the details.  If a bid for your remodeling project lacks detail there's likely a reason.  Either the contractor doesn't know what they are doing or they are purposely leaving unknowns in place so that they can charge you for "not included" items after the project commences.  Bids should detail each aspect of the project including materials and allowances, as well as "included" and "not included" items.


Comparing Bids – San Diego Remodeling – Tip #4


  • Pay attention to what's not included.  In every contract there will be items not included such as surveys, unknown conditions or school fees.  Carefully review what's included and what's not included.  Ask questions to understand how much to expect for these items and whether or not the contractor will add profit and overhead to these costs.


Comparing Bids – San Diego Remodeling – Tip #5


  • Pay attention to allowances.  Sometimes contractors will make their bid look low by low balling allowance items.  Allowance items are typically finishes and fixtures that you'll choose for your home remodeling project.  They could include doors, windows, flooring, plumbing fixtures etc.  First you want to make sure the allowances reflect your preferences.  If you prefer granite counters but the allowance is for Formica, you have a problem.  Second, try to make sure allowances are even across the bids.  Keep in mind that if you change the allowances during the project you'll be creating a change order and that's how many contractors try to make extra money on San Diego remodeling projects.


Comparing Bids – San Diego Remodeling – Tip #6


  • Operating efficiencies do exist.  Another item most people don't consider when comparing bids for their San Diego remodeling project is operating efficiencies.  Professionally managed firms operate more efficiently and generally deliver better overall value in terms of quality and service.   Not only is their overhead less but they also receive greater discounts from subcontractors and material suppliers.  Be sure to review the education, background and experience of each contractor and choose a professionally managed firm for your San Diego remodeling project.


Comparing Bids – San Diego Remodeling – Tip #7


  • Trust your instincts.  If you are not comfortable with the contractor do not hire them for your San Diego remodeling project.  Once hired, you are stuck with that contractor until the project is complete.  For months the contractor will be in your house and will interact with you on a regular basis.  Their input will be critical in many decisions you’ll make.  Be sure you trust the contractor and are comfortable with their integrity and responsiveness.


While comparing bids is not easy, if you follow the points above you'll be much better prepared to compare “apples to apples” and make a wise choice for your San Diego remodeling project.


By Jason Salgado


For more advance tips and to talk with us about your project, call 858-794-6264.

Topics: San Diego Remodeling, General Contractor San Diego, Custom Home San Diego, San Diego Custom Home Builders, Room Additions San Diego, Kitchen Remodeling San Diego, Home Remodeling San Diego