Part 6: Apples Versus Oranges

In your hunt for a contractor, you may want to get a couple of bids on the same project to make sure you are getting a fair price. What’s even likelier is that you will take two different contractors through your house, show them the exact same spaces involving the exact same work, and get two very different prices. They may be close in price range or they could be tens of thousands of dollars apart. How do you tell the two apart? What’s included in the bid that’s $125,000 that’s not included in the $100,000 bid?

To begin comparison, it’s important to make sure that both contractors have a detailed scope of work. By detailed, I don’t mean “demolish kitchen”. I mean detailed as in “demolish countertops, cabinetry, tile backsplash, existing plumbing fixtures, existing light fixtures and appliances. Save ovens for reuse.” Once you’ve ensured that both contractors have a detailed set of specifications, it should be easy to tell if something is missing from one that was included in the other. But, say you’ve gone through the scope of work and compared both bids and can’t for the life of you tell where the discrepancy is. What do you do? Go with the cheaper option, obviously! Or is it such an obvious decision?

Here a few questions that can help you get to the bottom of the price difference:

  • What level of job supervision is factored into the price?
  • Does the price cover the cost of permitting the job with your city?
  • Did a contractor include more generous numbers for allowances?
  • What type of cabinets are you receiving for your money? Home Depot stock cabinets or custom made pieces? (This logic can apply to all areas of your remodel project)
  • Is one bid fixed-price, while the other is cost-plus? (See Part 1 for more information on this)
  • Did they add up their totals correctly? (Hey! It could happen…)

Normally, the more expensive bid that seems identical to the cheaper bid includes more customer service and satisfaction. That means that you will spend less time stressing about the ins and outs of your remodel, and more time enjoying the finished product. Your contractor (for a small fee) will take the weight off of your shoulders and onto theirs.

What’s next?  Here is Part 7: The Who, What, When, Where & Why of Permits

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