Why do we get bids as consumers? How many bids should we get when evaluating a Service? What are the most important things to look for in my Bid? How should I find my Contractors? & How do I make sense of all it once I get the Bids especially if there are big gaps between prices? These are all important questions that we all face when trying to decide on a Contractor for a particular service. One thing is for sure for all of us, the low bid is always alluring and tempting us. Why is that?
First of all, for most of us, we have budgets and want to spend what we have allotted in our minds or bank account as it were for the project. However, if you are not familiar with the Industry to which you have a need, it is difficult for most consumers to really know what the market valued price is for the service requested. THAT IS THE KEY. What is the Fair and RIGHT price based on what the scope of work is you are requesting?
Let’s try and pick this whole Bidding thing apart a bit here. You really need to sort out a way to have a quality and smart contractor bidding for your Project. What is their history with the BBB? Are they a member of a professional organization in their own Industry such as the PDCA (Painter Decorator Contractors of America). Do they have a proven track record of consistent quality & success? You must know, however, even once you have found what you believe to be a Quality mix of Painting or Remodeling Contractors to bid for your work, no two are the same and there are other things to look for in your bid.
What is the attention to detail in the bid? The attention to detail in the scope of the work is a strong indication as to how much that contractor really cares about making sure things are done correctly, about you the client in general, and that you are getting what you pay for. It is an indication of one’s priorities. It gives you valuable insight into motive. Is the bid sloppy? Is it a Widget type of proposal, even if it is typed? Are products and methods of an application being indicated clearly?
Can your Contractor explain to you how he or she ascertained a bid price high or Low? Did they use a time standard and can they detail the man-hours for the project? Can they break out the time for each component of the Project? Ceilings, Walls, Windows, Base, Casings, Door, Sills, etc. Putting together a CORRECT bid is like putting a puzzle together where all pieces fit to become one final end result. If they used an Sq. Ft. price, what is it, and does it make sense TO YOU? How much time did they spend at your home or business really looking at the different elements of the project? Most really good Painting Contractors in Denver know what the Market is bearing based on time of year, market, and the current climate of the buying consumer base. Here is the thing to take away from this segment, GOOD CONTRACTORS ARE ALWAYS MORE RIGHT THAN WRONG. So, even if you get bids from painting contractors in Denver or surrounding communities that you feel comfortable with or are referred to you if there is a large gap between one or two vs. the rest, something is very wrong and do not be fooled to believe that this is the good choice for you. It is a definite gamble! Gosh knows, we all work hard for what we have. Ultimately, like most of us you want ROI (Return on Investment) and peace of mind. Why the heck do these large disparaging amounts with bids happen? It’s so confusing and frustrating!
Let’s look at a couple, three reasons why.
Panic & Fear– Winter months bring panic & fear to some Painting Contractors in Denver and surrounding communities. They feel like they have no choice but to provide their services at a price well below what makes common sense. That is oftentimes fine for the Estimator or Owner, but the worker bees and crew leaders who will show up to do the work WILL pay the price, as you will, with potential onsite unrest and unhappiness for such a philosophy. It is Human Nature to desire to be compensated for what you deserve for your skills. Believe it or not, painting is difficult and requires hard work, lots of protection, and skill to do things right the first time. Meeting expectations is the ultimate goal here. A guy doesn’t like to work for wages significantly below what they are worth and THEY ARE MOST OFTEN UNHAPPY on YOUR Job. This will affect very often the end result and the experience along the way. Again, a gamble.
Abuse of a Labor Market– Some contractors, no matter what the time of year, will pre-determine what they will pay someone to do the work for YOU, underpay them, take more than what is rightfully theirs, and take advantage of the fear that these painters will feel that they have nowhere else to go. I am in a rut. Here is where I have always been. I am Family, how can I leave? I have a Family, how can I leave? Who else will hire me? I feel really insecure about going somewhere else. This type of Contractor behavior almost always lends itself to the Low Bid. This can be true for even those that will present themselves very professionally, have great testimonials or a great website. Very often, all this is a front or an illusion. Be Careful, another gamble! Other than the significant gap in pricing, you will not be able to flush this one out.
Poor Estimating Skills– companies with many estimators trying to keep up with Volume, New Franchise Owners, and Contractors who just Guestimate their Proposals are where this can happen to you. A Painting Contractor has TO CARE about being right and offering a great service to people. It is easy to be wrong, to be the lower price, and to sell more of that type of product. Take the time to MEET with the people you are going to give your money to. What is your sense of what their mission is and do they know what they are talking about in regard to your particular needs? ARE THEY IN A HURRY? This is a huge problem in today’s contractor market. Is someone trying to be the biggest and the coolest or just simply the Best and Care the most? Low bids are usually the Former and not the Ladder.
Insurance– Always verify an active Worker Comp. and Liability Policy. Workers comp. that is compromised or not in place will always be a lower a bid. Especially with OWNER OPERATORS( Someone who is the owner and will be painting with his crew) who will almost always OPT-OUT of their Workers Comp. and can do so legally.
One more thing, HOW MANY BIDS SHOUD I GET? Com’on Folks, you don’t need 5-8 bids to make a good buying decision. Collecting too many bids will create great confusion for you and can very often result in a bad decision. Have 3, no more than 4 Quality Contractors give you a bid, spend some time with each one of them and follow some of these tips noted here to make a solid decision that you will not regret. INCREASE the odds of a good experience and choice in Industries that can be legendarily unscrupulous.
The best advice I can give consumers looking for a quality painting or remodeling contractor is not to focus too much on what your budget is or what YOU think something is worth as that Contractor will surely come along and give you that price. Focus on WHO DO YOU THINK IS MOST RIGHT, indicates they know what they are doing, and IS FAIR. If you do that you will always get the most for your dollar and have worked with a contractor who will work hard to take care of all your needs and ensure your happiness to the end. Good Luck!