If you’ve ever solicited bids from contractors for a home improvement project, you may have received significantly different estimates. The difference in pricing is typically not that the lowest is desperate or the highest greedy. The difference is usually that each contractor is bidding on a different scope of work.
Why does this happen? If contractors do not have a specific, detailed project to bid on, then they will all bid based on their perception of what the client wants. A contractor that specializes in high quality projects will bid so that clients will happy, appreciate the quality and will refer more business. Others will bid low to get the project, will cut corners to save on labor and material and don’t know the value of a happy client. Maybe the low end bid perceives that the client wants a cheap price.
The solution for the home owner is to provide a bid sheet specifically outlining what they want. Many contractors will balk at this type of bid sheet, but it’s the only way to determine true pricing. Later, after the bids are in, the scope of project and materials can be changed after you select your contractor. However this process is the only way to get accurate pricing. All too frequently the lowest price gets the job. The only way to get low with pricing is to sacrifice on labor and material. We see this all the time. Clients go with the low price and a year later (or sooner) the project is deteriorating and needs to be redone.
Here’s an example of a House Painting Project we bid on recently.
1. Sample Bid From XYZ Company – Price $3,100.00
- Pressure Wash House
- Paint Siding and Trim
- Apply Clear To Front Door
2. Sample Bid From Smith and Company – $4,735.00
- Apply algae and mildew cleaner where needed and pressure wash house
- scrape all loose paint and prime all bare wood
- remove and replace all bad caulking
- mask off windows and protect anything not getting painted
- apply 2 coats of Sherwin Williams Paint Satin to house
- Apply 2 coats of Sherwin Williams satin to trim
- scuff sand, clean and apply 2 good coats of clear to the wood front door.
As you can see, these are 2 completely different estimates with $1,600.00 spread between the two. If price for today was the most important, you might choose the lowest. In fact you might think our price was out of line. Others may think the low price is out of line. If you tell a contractor to just give a price to paint the house, you don’t know what you will get.
However if you specify exactly what you want, you will be able to get accurate pricing. The solution is to provide each contractor with a bid sheet that specifies the exact scope of the project. This way each contractor will be bidding on the same project.
In many cases we have helped out clients put together an exact bid sheet that they submit to 3 contractors. By following this process you get exactly what you paid for.
We specialize in commercial and home painting and concrete coatings for all property types in the area of Portland to McMinnville Oregon. Need help putting together a bid sheet for your next project? Give us a call.
Smith and Company Painting
570 S. Davis Street
McMinnville, Or 97128