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  • Writer's pictureDuncan Farrow

Should You Always Choose the Cheapest Bid for Construction Projects?

In our culture, we're often guided to seek the best deals and save money where we can. This approach works well for many purchases, like buying a car. For instance, if you're comparing identical Ford F-350 trucks at different dealerships, it often makes sense to choose the cheaper option since the product is the same.

However, when it comes to choosing a contractor for a construction project, this rule doesn't always apply. The reason is simple: the end products from different contractors are not necessarily identical, even if the specifications sound the same.

an entryway deck on a house

Understanding the Pitfalls of the Lowest Bid

Imagine you want to build a new deck. You ask two contractors for a quote on a 10'x12' deck with a roof. One quotes $25,000 and the other $50,000. It might be tempting to go for the cheaper option, but this is where caution is needed.

A lower bid doesn't always mean a better deal. In some cases this can lead to trouble mid-project. The contractor might run out of funds or start cutting corners to stay within the budget, leading to a subpar result.

Why the Highest Bid Isn't Always the Best Either

Conversely, the most expensive bid isn't automatically the best choice. A high price doesn't guarantee superior quality. The key is to understand why the contractor is charging more. Are they providing premium materials, superior craftsmanship, or additional services?

AI generated image of a contractor talking to a homeowner

Finding the Right Contractor: Steps to Consider

  1. Conversations Matter: Talk to potential contractors. Understand their approach and see if they grasp your vision.

  2. Personal Meetings: Nothing replaces face-to-face interactions. A handshake and a meeting can give you a good sense of a person's reliability.

  3. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off, trust your gut feeling.

  4. Check Referrals and References: Talk to previous clients to understand their experiences with the contractor.

  5. Online Presence: A good website and active social media can be indicators of professionalism. Check for updates, project showcases, and customer interactions.

  6. Online Reviews: Look at Google and Facebook reviews. They often provide honest insights into a contractor's reliability and quality of work.

  7. Community Reputation: Ask around in your community. Personal experiences and word-of-mouth recommendations are invaluable.

  8. Accessibility: A contractor who is readily available for communication, either personally or through an office contact, is often more reliable.

30'x50' black shop for storing tools and tinkering on trucks and equipment

The best contractor for your project might be the one with the lowest bid, the highest bid, or somewhere in between. The key is to conduct thorough research and choose someone who ticks all the boxes. Remember, once you find a great contractor, stick with them – good ones are hard to come by in this industry.

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