A Management Professional

Competitive Bidding: Choosing the Right Contractor

Imagine you are sitting at your computer desk building your ideabooks in houzz with all your wish list items for your new custom home. By now, the vision is clear, and you can see yourself settled into your new house. The kids are hanging their backpacks and coats on the hooks in the mudroom entryway cabinets (keeping the rest of the house uncluttered), and that second-floor laundry room is saving your (already) aching back from carrying heavy laundry baskets along flights of stairs. But, before the mudroom and laundry room come to fruition, you must go through the daunting and time-consuming construction process. The first step and the most important decision a homeowner needs to make is selecting a contractor.

Referrals, experience, and value for money are all elements to think about when you’re selecting a contractor to take your project from design to reality. Contacting references and, furthermore, scheduling a home walkthrough with the referred homeowner could be a more realistic approach. Scheduling a home walk-though would allow you first-hand to see the finished product. When you’re at the house, you should pay attention to squeaks in flooring, open trim joints, cracks in sheetrock, and any water damage or major repair areas if the house is less than five years old. Also, during this process, you should ask but not limited to the following questions:

1.) Did the project run smoothly?

2.) Did they help you with product selection and product sourcing?

3.) Were the employees responsive and helpful to your questions and concerns?

4.) Were there any surprises?

5.) Did you truly enjoy your experience?

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking” – Henry Ford

A bid is not the whole picture. On paper competitive bidding seems to be a foolproof method to build your house at the lowest price. However, there are disputes with that approach. If contractors were bidding on a set of drawings they completely understood and there were no differences on how they delivered the finished product, then competitive bidding could be a good solution. But choosing a contractor solely on price is like making a bad investment and the homeowner almost always ends-up paying more in the long term. The lowest price may not include the necessary add-ons (i.e., finished basement, interior millwork, plumbing fixtures, or electrical fixtures) to complete the project. So, you shouldn’t assume the same scope of work exists when comparing bids and you should never sign a contract without taking the time to analyze it (exercise caution and perform due diligence).

At CRAIG design build, Craig Frasco believes, the contractor and the homeowner must move beyond focusing solely on price and consider value for money. Value for money is achieved by incorporating price, quality, service and reputation. As a homeowner, you should hire a company that has expert knowledge and understanding about the products, services and marketplace, and go beyond the obvious, employs people with similar passions, interests, and pleasures. Keep in mind, building a house is both an emotional and financial investment and the construction process should always be an enjoyable learning experience.

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