Our fence bit the dust. Yep! The wind kicks up pretty good here and one line of fence became a wavy mess, held up by crutches and sticks. It’s quite the scene, I’m sure! One section fell off completely which left our fluff ball, TeddiBear, access to the big big world or, at least, the neighborhood! We quickly put a dog gate over that area until we got a few bids and permission from the HOA to replace the fence.
Thankfully, the HOA got back to us in a timely manner with their vague approval. An approval that would cover them if a neighbor complained.
With bids in front of us, we contemplated the pros and cons of each one with a Construction Bid Comparison Chart.
Each contractor had something different they highlighted that we liked!
Which one was the right one?
Construction Bid Comparison Chart
The Construction Bid Comparison Chart provides space to compare the following:
Ask friends and family for recommendations.
Do a quick search to see what kind of reviews your contractor has.
As a matter of fact, you may want to check reviews BEFORE you have a contractor bid a job.
Ask for references. Can the contractor give you names of previous clients that are satisfied with a job well done?
Licensed, Bonded, and Insured
A contractor who is licensed, bonded, and insured demonstrates they are a dependable business with financial stability. They know the laws and are committed to following them and, if something goes wrong, you are protected.
You don’t want your homeowner’s insurance to have to pay out to a contractor that gets hurt on your property.
It protects YOU!
Remove and Discard
Will the contractor remove the old and discard it or does he expect to start with a clean slate?
What are the costs associated with removal of the old?
I’m all for using sweat equity to save money!
What part of the job are you willing to take on? How much would it save you?
Is your cost in time worth the amount you could save?
The tear out and disposal of our old fence would cost $75 from one of the contractors who bid our project.
The other contractor would charge $300.
The first contractor knows people who like to craft with old fence boards and those people will pick the old boards up, free!
The second contractor would allow us to remove and dispose of the old fence ourselves as a cost saving measure. He even mentioned we could list the old fence on a local Buy Nothing Facebook page, to avoid dump fees!
What would you do?
We decided if we went with the first contractor, we would not use sweat equity to save $75 but if we went with the second contractor, we would be willing to put our sweat equity in to save $300.
Who Will Do The Work?
So many times we talk to a salesperson who knows what he is talking about. You like what he has to say and his proposed course of action. You have confidence he will do the job right. Then, the big day arrives for your project to start and the guy you had so much confidence in is nowhere to be found. In fact, you never see him again.
This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Perhaps the person or people doing the job are skilled in the trade and will do a better job than the sales guy ever could.
It’s a good idea to know who will do the work so you aren’t surprised on project day.
Personally, I like to know who will be on the job. I tend to lean towards a small owner operated business where the stakes are high for the owner.
You may find the perfect contractor but he is also popular and can’t start work on your project until 6 months out.
Are you willing to wait?
When does your contractor expect to complete your project?
Does he work on multiple projects at once skipping around from one to the other?
Many contractors may not be set up to take credit and only accept cash or check.
Are you in a position to pay with check or cash?
When Is Payment Due?
What are the contractor’s terms?
Did they ask for half before the start date, with the balance to be paid upon completion of the project?
Beware if a contractor asks for the full amount up front.
It’s common to ask for half to start the project with the remainder to be paid upon completion.
The fence guy we ended up using asked for the cost of materials up front and the balance to be paid upon completion.
You will like contractors for different reasons.
One may be passionate about saving money, while the other may be excited about the materials he uses.
Take note of the pros for each estimate!
There may be cons to consider when you compare bids.
One may allow sweat equity and another may not. One might not seem as excited about the job opportunity as the other.
Take note of the cons.
You may never know if you hired the RIGHT contractor.
Do your homework, research, ask questions, and move forward with confidence!
Get everything in writing! You may have talked about it but is it on paper?
We chose the contractor that was excited to do the job. He was willing to put in extra effort to discard our old fence boards (free) and was passionate about building a good strong fence!