The 3-Bid Myth and Why It’s a Bad Idea

The more bids the better, right? Well, maybe not.

If you’re in the market for a remodeling contractor, chances are someone’s offered you this piece of advice before: shop around and get a few bids before making your decision. In fact, they might even encourage you to tell contractors that you’re inviting them to bid on your project along with other contractors. This gives you an edge and incentivizes contractors to put their best foot forward, right? Well, maybe not.

The idea of seeing what multiple contractors have to offer isn’t a bad one, but the three bid practice has its drawbacks.

An Estimate Is Not a Bid

A bid is a fixed amount that the contractor will charge for the work on a particular project. Once it’s set, it can’t be changed. Most contractors are not going to offer a bid before signing with them. What they will offer is an estimate, a best guess as to the cost of the project. Mind you, an experienced contractor will be able to send a pretty close estimate based on past projects and their knowledge of the market and supplies. But they may not be able to predict market changes, change orders, or unexpected obstacles in your project that could lead to extra costs. You should never take the estimate as a fixed amount.

Cost Is Not Value

You may be tempted to go with the contractor who has the lowest estimate, but that may not be the best choice for your home. Sometimes cheap cost implies cheap quality. It’s important to take a look at the contractor’s body of work, whether by talking to references, reading reviews, or requesting to see examples of their work. In the end, it might be better to pay a little more for a contractor who has more experience or a history of excellent customer service. If you’re working with a tight budget, you might consider applying for financing to make the cost more manageable.

Competitive Bids Might Not Be Best For You

When you ask a few contractors to bid on a project, what you’re encouraging is for those contractors to make the lowest bid possible. While a good contractor should be honest about what your project will cost, some contractors might take this as cause to cut corners with your project. They might order cheaper supplies or take fewer precautions than they would normally simply to ensure the lowest cost. In the end, if you have to have your remodeling redone in a few years because the first job was shoddy, you haven’t really saved any money.All that said, a free estimate or consultation with an experienced contractor is a necessary step in knowing what’s possible for your project and how much you can expect to pay. Contact MBC Remodeling today to set up a free, in-home consultation for your next remodeling project.

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