How to Properly Compare Remodeling / Renovation Quotes
When it comes to having a part of your home renovated or remodeled, many people obtain multiple quotes to compare pricing. While this is not a bad idea, it often makes the process very confusing as the quotes can come in with wildly disparate numbers. Here’s how to make sure your quote comparison helps you make the most informed decision possible.
Ensure all line items are specific and exact matches
When comparing renovation quotes, the most important thing to do is make sure you are comparing apples to apples. A line item price means very little if it doesn’t give you specifics. We recommend going line item by line item to ensure each quote is comparing the exact same items. And, if you have a question, call to get clarification. Here’s an example:
Electric fireplace – $1,500
Labor – $750
Electric fireplace – $2,500
- Brand new 60” Linear Electric Fireplace by Modern Flames (Landscape Fullview Series) with one-year manufacturer’s warranty (extended two-year warranty available for +$99)
Labor – $1,200
- Includes demo of old fireplace and removal of all waste
- Includes widening if fireplace space
- Includes full installation of new fireplace
- Includes installation of new tile surround
What are you actually getting with Quote 1? What kind of fireplace is it? How large? Does it include removal of waste? Demo? You don’t know, so you better call and find out or you will likely get hit with additional charges at the end. In Quote 2, you know EXACTLY what you’re getting. It may appear to cost more, but it may not. You have no way of knowing what the first company will add on at the end. That’s why it’s very risky to just go with the lowest quote without being sure you’re comparing the same work.
Beware of the extremely low bid
If a quote comes in significantly less than others, it pays to dig deeper for a reason. There are really only two ways a master craftsman can win your business: by being the cheapest, or by offering the best value with quality. While it may be very tempting to just go with the lowest bid, that’s a decision you may live to regret as it comes with risk. When a bid is significantly lower than others, it can often mean the craftsman is struggling to create cash flow, doesn’t carry the proper insurance, or doesn’t have a central place of business. In this industry, when a bid comes in ridiculously low we call that “buying the job.” In essence, the other company is so desperate for work they will run on super low margins just to generate some kind of revenue (whether they earn a profit or not). That is NOT the kind of company you want doing work inside your home.
How to identify the best value
I think we can all agree that finding the best value is the right approach to choosing a renovation/remodeling/design company. The best value is going to be the quote from a proven master craftsman with a solid online presence and good references. This type of company will have a professional website, be active on Facebook and Instagram, and provide a very detailed quote so you know precisely what you’re getting. They should also be more than willing to answer any and all questions you have at any time. Also, when you hire a reputable craftsman offering the best value and quality, you will likely have to wait a bit before the work can be completed as they are typically very busy. Beware the company that can start the work tomorrow!
We truly hope this helps you make the most informed decision when comparing quotes.