When it comes to selecting a contractor for your project, several factors may come in to play, such as price or ability to meet a schedule. However, if the end result is a quality repair that will extend the service life of your structure, then you should choose a quality contractor. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean the contractor with the lowest price. There is usually a very good reason for price variation.
We have identified four main points to verify during a bid review:
1. Qualify the Contractor
2. Review the Scope of Work
3. Figure Out the Schedule
4. Review the Price
We have separated these into 2 separate articles. Below is a brief guide of the last two essential questions to ask to give you a good start on making the right decision.
Figure Out the Schedule. Many people will use schedule as a determining factor in selecting a contractor. However, the bidder who can get there first and do the work the fastest may not always be the right choice. For example, is the contractor going to pause during another project to come do yours? How would you feel if they left your project to tend to another “more important” project? Many people have the impression that contractors are like firefighters at the firehouse waiting for the alarm to sound. However, a quality company is meticulous about their schedule and backlog to ensure a consistent workload and to ensure full attention is given to each project.
Below are a few good questions to ask when discussing schedule:
• How early can they start? Ask them why their response is what it is.
• What is their current workload?
• What will be the duration of the project?
• Will they leave during the project or stay until completion?
• Have they included overtime or weekends?
• If they can’t complete the project before winter weather, is there a charge to come back next year?
• What is their approach to scheduling?
• What is their preferred time frame for this project? Is it acceptable to you?
Keep in mind that there are controlling factors that constrict the contractor, such as weather, event schedules, and budget completion dates. For example, a contractor who does a lot of school projects which must be completed by August 30th will likely be unable to start your project August 1st, but they likely need a place to send their crew on September 1st. The intent of the schedule discussion is to figure out a way to make the project work for both of you.
Review the Price. The low price isn’t always the “most competitive” price. Depending on the factors above, it is very uncommon to get a set of bids which are “apples-to-apples”. In the bid review process, if the responses to the above factors are not consistent or satisfactory, ask for a price revision.
The questions below can help you understand the contractor’s approach to pricing your project. It is important to understand that a high price doesn’t mean a large profit.
• What factors contribute to their pricing structure?
• What will you get with the project? (i.e.: a project manager, a superintendent, a foreman, etc.)
• Do they use union/non-union workers?
• How do they estimate their projects?
• Should you use allowances or unit prices for any operations?
• Where have they had to make assumptions in their proposal?
• Do they have any ideas for reducing the project size (also known as “value-engineering”)?
The bid review process is the most crucial factor in selecting a contractor for your project. Be sure to set aside time and resources to thoroughly vet each bidder and allow them to make revisions as necessary for a fair comparison. Generally, you will find that this simple process exposes the best company in the group.
If you need help reviewing bids or if you should have more questions regarding this article, please contact Trisco Systems, Inc. by calling 419-339-3906 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.