Comparing Contractors’ Estimates

                                                              Making the Wisest Choice

girl with papers resizedWe frequently get calls from consumers wanting estimates over the phone.  They believe the myth — since I know the square footage of the space I want painted, a painter should be able to give me a price to paint it over the phone. 

The fact, however, is that there are numerous variables when it comes to painting. Every space, like every person, is unique. Will the wall you’re planning to paint need one, two or three coats? Are there imperfections such as nail pops, water stains or dents that will need to be repaired prior to painting? What other details should be taken into account (such as quantity and size of rooms, type of windows and doors, number and intensity of paint colors, amount of protection needed for plants and furniture, and the extent of needed paint surface preparation)?  

Remodeling is even more job-specific and has many variables.  A reliable contractor must meet with you to determine the full scope of your project, the materials, and specifications to make your dream a reality.

All these questions and aspects of your projects help add accuracy to your estimate. As a contractor, we don’t want to give you a price that’s completely inaccurate and overpriced. You, as the consumer, probably wouldn’t appreciate that too much. Likewise, we don’t want to take a loss because of something that should have been noted on a typical estimate.

Here are some things to think about when getting estimates:

1. Products – Ask what products the contractor will recommend and what products your quote will include. The quality of the paint, stain or other products can make a huge impact on the price – and the end product!

2. Scope – Is every contractor you’re talking to quoting the same scope? In other words, does one contractor’s quote include painting the ceiling, where another contractor’s doesn’t?  Determine if all the estimates you are looking at are “apples-to-apples” comparisons.

3. Deadlines – How long will it take to complete the project? If your project is larger, and there’s only one person working on it, it could take forever to complete. That means your home or space will be in disarray for a longer period of time than if there would be a four-person crew to tackle it. This could also affect the cost of the job

4. Reliability – How reliable is the company? Are their employees given background checks before they’re hired? Does your contractor have proof of insurance?   Your home is your sanctuary and safe haven – it matters who has access to it.

5. Training – What kind of training do they provide their crew or workers? Up-to-date training helps ensure the best products, techniques and safety measures will be used.

6. Payment – How much do you have to pay upfront? If the contractor requires you to pay the full contract amount upfront, beware!

7. References – Ask for a list of references. If they provide you with a list of names and numbers of previous customers, do your homework and give them a call. Those people will tell you if the company is worth hiring.

8. Budget – Do a bit of research so you can know what your budget is, and if it’s realistic. The last thing anyone wants (including us, the remodeling contractors) is to be blindsided with a price that’s substantially more than what was expected.

So, when choosing your contractor, look over the estimates carefully and compare apples to apples.  You don’t want to end up with a lemon!