Should I Ask A Contractor For An Estimate?

You breathe a sigh of relief. You finally found a contractor willing to complete your kitchen remodel within your budget. After the sticker shock from the last two contractors, you were starting to think a total overhaul was out of reach. You talk to your lender and get your finances ready. You sit down with your contractor to dig into design and pick your materials. Surprise! The price tag looks a lot like the earlier quotes that stomped on your blood pressure. Avoid the unpleasant or life-alternating expensive surprise of your contractor going way overestimate by understanding more about estimates.

Should I Ask A Contractor For An Estimate?

Peacock & Company creates beautiful remodels and additions in the South Bend Area. Our decades of experience have given us plenty of time to witness the good, the bad, and the malicious practices contractors undertake when you enquire about an estimate. We’re happy to use our observations and expertise to walk you through the pros and cons of asking your contractor for an estimate. You can use the estimate process to find a reputable partner for your home improvement and weed out potential bad actors or poor fits.

 

What is the difference between an estimate and a quote?

Estimates

An estimate comes much earlier in the project than a quote. An estimate is a contractor’s best guess about the total cost of a project, usually made before any work has been completed. Many contractors give free estimates as part of their remodeling process. Cost estimation in project management is notoriously tricky. There are many unseen elements and unpredictable future circumstances at play. Sometimes estimates and costs are much further apart than anyone would like.

For example, a contractor might allow a certain dollar amount for your floors or cabinet selection. Because everyone uses a different formula and you haven’t selected your materials yet, these allowances contribute to much of the variety you find when you collect multiple estimates.

Quotes

Quotes are more than educated guesses. Some contractors use the terms quote, bid, and proposal interchangeably. Quotes are detailed proposals that include materials and labor. Many quotes are time-sensitive, for example, only good for a month, because materials and other services vary in price over time.

A quote comprises a more legally binding contract. You can expect your project to be completed at the quoted price and signing a quote commits you to pay. Be sure to read your contract carefully so you know how your project is priced and how unexpected expenses will be communicated and addressed. Depending on your signed contract, your contractor may not be able to ask for more money if your project comes in over budget.

Should I Ask A Contractor For An Estimate?

Pros of asking a contractor for an estimate

  • Gathering estimates for your project allows you to meet a few contractors and assess their fit for your project. Find out if you feel comfortable communicating and planning with the team you meet before you commit to working together.

  • Gathering estimates helps you to get a real idea of the price of your job in your local market.

  • Many people feel better when they know what to expect. An expert’s perspective while conducting your estimate can help you better understand your project earlier in the process.

Cons of asking a contractor for an estimate

  • Many homeowners are seduced by the lowest estimate. Beware! Underestimates are a common problem. At best, the lowest price often reflects the quality of work planned, at worst, this low bid is a bait-and-switch that won’t stay low once your project is underway. 

  • Estimates are general. You run the risk of setting your budget around a general estimate and then having your heart broken once the actual quote arrives. Some projects are difficult to price out until we know more about them and end up costing more than meets the eye.

 

Should I tell my contractor about my budget?

Ignoring the budget early in the process is a common remodeling mistake. Discussing money can be uncomfortable. Your contractor should absolutely know about your budget, especially once you have committed to working together. Early conversations about your budget and financing ensure that your contractor keeps the scope of your project appropriate. Your contractor can help you make choices that highlight your priorities and help you allocate your resources wisely.

 

How Do I Find a Reputable Contractor?

A reputable contractor draws from a wealth of experience when estimating the cost of a job. Completing similar, previous projects allows for more precise estimation for future jobs, so estimates are accurate. An excellent contractor takes time to answer your questions to be sure you understand the technical parts of the project and asks questions to be sure they understand your vision. Ask prospective contractors for information about their licensure and warranties and carefully inspect all documents. 

Reputable contractors are established in their area and have happy customers who leave reviews. Take to the internet and do thorough research about any contractor you’re considering.

How Do I Find a Reputable Contractor?

Get the Best Remodel in South Bend

So many of the dangers of estimates are alleviated by working with an experienced and established contractor. Peacock & Company takes pride in our place in the Michiana community and we know our work speaks for itself. We are confident we will win your business and we cannot wait to meet you. Reach out today to get started. 

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