Why don't contractors give estimates faster?! I was remodeling my
bathroom in my basement and I didn't get a call back sooner than a week
and half. I ended up having to block it off for my Thanksgiving party. Has
this happened to anyone else?!
On Fri, 11 Dec 2009 21:20:38 +0000,
Che1s4short_at_gmail_dot email@example.com (cao1987) wrote:
It's usually caused by not planning ahead far enough. Fast estimates
are not likely, you should have called earlier.
Problem is that people call for estimates, then ever do the right
thing which is to hire the person giving the estimate! Instead they
try to use the estimate as a negoiating tool against a different
contractor ("Hey Bob said he'd do it for $xxx, can you underbid him?")
and so many contractors do estimates when they have the time.
Estimating is a very interestring process......
It takes on many aspects......
Many estimates are to "compare" other estimates already given.
Some estimates are wanted only as a whim......The client usually has no clue
or even finances to support any such building.
Insurance estimates are even better.....
Many take the insurance estimate along with the others to present it to the
insurance company only to take the monies and never call the contractor.
One such job a fence was hit on a major roadway. I explained to the client
I would give them an estimate (for 100.00) since they were planning to do
the work themselves......I did a detailed estimate.....never heard back from
the client and the fence was repaired..........never recieved any monies....
About 6 months later a call came....."We have a fence to repair and is an
insurance bid" Oh, that address sounds familiar......I went there and it
was the husband this time with a knocked down fence....wanting a bid.
I explained to him that I did give a bid for the last accident and never got
paid! Showed him the "old estimate"
Well, I made another estimate, and he paid me for the latter.....
Some folks are just fishing.......
I do T and M jobs with a rough estimate......I feel best that way, and so
does the owner most of the times....
Plans change, ideas change, color, tile, bath fixtures......
Bathrooms in particular can be a long process with plumbing, drywall, paint
drying, tile........wiring......with not much money...for a contractor for
the time involved.
I guess in the long run it really depends on how hungry the contractor is,
and how honest the client is with the job description and accessibility.
Good to hear you got both... I wasn't clear on that part. I've found
that honesty works in about 99% of the cases, especially if the other
guy is basically honest, but I rarely bill/give credit for small jobs.
(Unless it's my grandkids, then it is sometimes a writeoff!)
They take a long time to do and require meeting subs at the job and
having to accomodate their schedules. Plus in most times we are all
working and have to do them at nite or on weekends. Some of us have
families and obligations. Some of us can't use our minds well after a
long day at work. Some of us just don't want to do it as it is often a
waste of time. I often don't do them if I think I am bidding against
someone else in my small town.
On the other hand if some told me that they were not going to use me or
wanted it for a comparison or bargaining tool and gave me a fist full of
dollars I would do the work for them in appreciation of rare honesty and
The reality is that people take our detailed scopes of work to the Home
Depot and shop it around to all the yard rats. That's why I give one flat
figure for all the work. They tell me what they want and then I generate one
number. I always walk away on the bids where the homeowner wants a highly
detailed scope of work and why I am going to do it a certain way. That's
when I know the homeowner is either shopping or is wanting me to give him a
detailed "how-to" so he can do it himself.
True story: I got a call from some old guy's daughter who had been given my
name in a referral. She wanted me / no, she NEEDED me to give an estimate on
a job in her father's house. Oh, he needs this, we're acting immediately,
the whole story. I got the telephone number for the old man and called him
to setup an appointment. But rather than just set up the appointment and go,
I felt him out. Different answers. If I wanted to come out and give him a
free estimate, that'd be great. He was gathering estimates now. Oh, how
many? Well, he had 25 or so and his daughter had at least that many on her
own. Well, at least he was honest.
For me, if they aren't willing to pay $50-$100 for an estimate, they aren't
serious. Among my friends, the days of free estimates are gone. If you
don't prequalify and explain there will be a charge, but that it will be
refunded if you choose us to the do the work, you will take up your entire
40 hour week giving estimates for jobs you will never do. Screw that...
I got a referral to a job about 50 miles from my house.
Lesson learned: Prequalify before you bid.
That is the danger with "I was remodeling..."
I hate getting a call when someone else started the work or jumped ship in
mid-stream or whatever it was and I get the call to come and bail it out.
Usually that happens when someone sees my bid and thinks "$13 grand for a
bathroom? Heck, I can do it for three grand." They usually have a neighbor
or a relative who watched Bob Vila a few times and in their mind, became an
So they begin and start running into dry rot behind a shower, or mold, and
they blindly replace visible things and forget the hidden ones because they
are hard to get to, and before you know it, they are ready to tile the
shower. So they attach backer board and mastic the tile to the shower, grout
it and they are done. That wax ring on the toilet flange still looks pretty
good, so we can reuse that, and the blacksplash on the sink still looks
pretty good. The caulk has hardened up but that's OK, we'll just reuse that,
too. In a couple of weeks, when the toilet is leaking on the floor and the
tiles are falling off, I get a call to come fix a couple of things.
Everybody thinks construction is easy. I carry a one million dollar
liability insurance policy because it isn't.
Has anyone had to block off your bathroom...? Probably not. :)
It sounds like you started the project before you had your ducks in a
row. That's always a risk in anything you do.
Yeah, I love the weekend warriors........
After having a nailbag on my back for 30 years and dealing with everything
from way down under to up on top.....I figure.....let them have it.....
They'll come back with the tail between their legs if not to me, someone
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