Just like anything else in life, unless you are educated and knowledgeable in specific areas, you truly don’t know everything. And subsequently, sometimes you don’t really know the true cost of things. For example getting your car’s brakes done. Do you know how much the mark-up on pads and rotors is. Or when ordering wine at a restaurant, do you know it’s a 200-300% mark up on your favorite wines and spirits. It’s the cost of doing business. Everyone does it. Now, imagine the big picture. Big dollars…maybe you need new drywall in your living room because a pipe burst or your roof is leaking. Your electricity goes haywire. Until you get a few different estimates, you truly don’t know how much it’s going to cost you and how much different each bid can be.
For example. Getting a concrete bid. Sure, each company will probably tell you a set amount that is very similar to the next guy’s as far as how much the concrete itself will be but the contractor will then add in delivery fees, labor, mileage, etc. And each estimate you get can vary by hundreds of dollars. It’s always a wise idea to get 3 to 5 bids whenever doing any kind of home repair job. Don’t feel bad for having them come out and give you an estimate either. It’s their way of marketing themselves as well and keeping prices down for the public. Besides if they really want your business, they will work for it. It’s not a monopoly by any means. Getting estimates is also a good way to get comfortable with someone being in your space with your family and your belongings.
Now, you’ve got your estimates and you are comparing costs, labor, timing, etc. You can go even further and use the internet for reviews, Better Business Bureau ratings and anything else you might need to know. When you pick the right contractor, the real work begins.
Make sure you are prepared for the unexpected. We all joke about the famous, “two weeks” Sure, it could take two weeks, but more times than not, something will come up and it will take a bit longer. Is the contractor you hired going to bump up your bill, inflate it for the extra time they are putting in? What if something happens beyond their control? Who pays for mistakes or do-overs? Do they offer a warranty on their product and services? These are important things to think of as well.
Of course, there’s always your network of friends and family who can give great reviews and referrals, so don’t just pick up the phone and hire the first company you talk to. You’ll save money and headaches down the road by doing it right and getting a few different estimates first!