Some of the homeowners don’t realize the importance of an estimate before they start building. This is one step you cannot afford to ignore. It could cost you time, material and most importantly money. You need to be aware and informed as you are making your terms with your general contractors. An estimate is a quote of the amount you will need to pay or spend after the contractors are done with their job, whether it is dealing with home repair or building a house or building from scratch.
GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING
Always get the quotes and the detailed estimates in writing. This writing will act as evidence and as a contract that can be viewed as valid anywhere. Do not accept anything verbal or trust a “verbal contract.” Some contractors will use this method, and you need to be alert. This is because the verbal contracts are worthless in court in case if something goes wrong. Insist on having estimates that are detailed so that even the gray areas of any scenario such as pricing are detailed. In some situations it is impossible to perfectly estimate the costs. Especially if the contractor can only determine the cost of the project after they’ve begun to work on it. However, it is not unreasonable to seek an overrun percentage. This should be in writing where the contractors state that incase the job will run over it will not be more than 15% of the estimate he had given you.
TRACKING IS EASIER
It is extremely helpful that during the quote stage of the game to make use of a spreadsheet so as to keep track of everything in case the job has a large number of items to keep track of. The different styles of quoting and the quote sheet can prove to be confusing, therefore you need to be organized so that you are able to keep track of how things are going. A simple spreadsheet will come in handy, especially if it has a list of parts, labor and time estimates. This will help you easily compare apples to apples instead of apples to oranges when you are reviewing your quotes.
DECIDING ON THE BEST CONTRACTOR TO SETTLE ON
The estimates the contractors give you will help you to determine which contractor you will work with. Do not be quick to run to the contractor who has the lowest quote. This is because he or she may not be doing a good job and that’s why the quotation is low. If everything adds up well then you will be able to know how organized the contractor is.
You should always have an estimate or quote when you are working with the contractors so you can budget. Be ready to be involved so that you are able to follow up with the project as it gets going. Do not be victim to a case of being financially taken advantage of, make the best decision for both you and your budget.
Written by Kent Murdock, owner of Randy Adams Construction in Columbia, MO. Randy Adams Construction is one of the premiere commercial construction companies and general contractors Columbia, MO has to offer.