Going with a low price saves you money!”
Think about this for a minute. If you have solicited several bids and go with the contractor that has the lowest bid, you’ve just awarded your job to the guy that just figured out the CHEAPEST way to get your project done!
Is this what you really want?
One of the most common signs of trouble ahead is someone offering to do work for a low price. A vast majority of the horror stories you hear about on TV shows like Dateline and ABC’s 20/20 about people having nightmare experiences with contractors stem from people buying a job from a lower-priced contractor.
Like the age old sayings go: “You get what you pay for!” and “You can’t get something for nothing!” Be extremely careful in choosing your contractor based upon the lowest price. Better yet… just don’t do it at all!
But you may be thinking: “well, if all things are equal, going with the lowest price is smart buying!
Absolutely, 100% yes!
But things are almost NEVER, EVER equal in the remodeling business!
Even if you have the most complete set of professional drawings and a twenty-five page written set of specifications describing every little detail, things can still be very, very different from one contractor to the next.
What is true, though, is the more detail the better. As you’ll soon discover, I am a huge fan of “details”. They are critical in order to help establish expectations. But again, even the most detailed plans leave a lot, and I mean a lot to be “discovered.”
I say “discovered” because you won’t know this until after your job has begun in which case this strategy will cause more frustration than you could ever imagine and cost much more money in the long run.
Most of the time, the low priced contractor has left something out while the higher priced contractor has probably figured the job correctly. He will probably never feel any stress about underestimating your particular job, which could cause him to be inclined to start cutting corners. The last thing you want is a contractor that starts cutting corners.
Another important point to make here is that running out of money may also cause a contractor to feel inclined to go get another job started in order to collect some new money so he can stay “afloat” long enough to get your job finished. And, as you may have guessed, this is one of the reasons some contractors have earned the reputation of leaving a project before it’s finished.
Wouldn’t you rather avoid having to fight with the contractor tooth and nail to get him to stay on your project until it’s finished?
The bottom line: NEVER use price alone as the determining factor. Many other things should be taken into consideration as well. Whenever you encounter a low price offer, some questions should immediately come to mind. Questions like: “Why is the price so low?” “What’s missing here?” and “Has the contractor figured enough into the cost to provide me with the level of service I expect?”
On the other hand, if you have found a contractor that you really feel good about, but their price is more than you can afford or you simply do not want to invest as much as has been quoted, just explain this to the contractor. A professional contractor will welcome the opportunity to help you redesign your project or make whatever changes are necessary in order to better fit your budget. As long as you are open to scaling back the project, re-examining your priorities or making other changes, this approach can be very helpful.