Posted August 19, 2015 by & filed under Tips & How-To's.

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.Two contractors shake hands with blue sky background

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 first two essential questions to ask to give you a good start on making the right decision.

Qualify the Contractor. First, you will want to qualify the contractor. Who are they? What do they value? What qualifications do they have? What do others think of them? Here are a few good qualifying factors to consider:

What is their safety record? You want to know that the contractor has a written safety program which is consistent, thorough, and enforced. Ask them to provide safety statistics and compare the bidders. Also, ask about safety awards, committee membership, and personnel certifications.

What is your bonding limit? A performance bond is a guarantee to the Owner that the Contractor will perform the project. A company’s bonding limit will tell you a lot about the Company’s reputation. It is a good idea to compare bonding limits and available bonding capacity. It is very common during the busy-season for smaller contractor’s to be near capacity. You should request a letter from their bonding company which states their current available bonding capacity.

Insurance? It is a good idea to review and compare the insurance policies of the contractors. Verify that they have ample coverage and ask to be named as an additional insured. Be sure that they can provide proof of worker’s compensation insurance payment.

What are their facilities and equipment? Find out their physical size and capability. Do they have an office or are they working out of a garage? Do they have office staff to perform things like engineering, design, accounting, HR, and safety control? How big is their warehouse? How many trucks do they have? How do they typically move on and move off of a project? The intent is not to pick the biggest contractor, but rather to get to know them personally.

What trade associations are they involved with? Trade associations provide continuing education, training, and knowledge-sharing. In building restoration, depending on your project, you will want to make sure that the contractor is a member of the following: Sealant, Waterproofing, and Restoration Institute (SWRI), International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI), EIFS Industry Members Association (EIMA), Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), and others. They should also be members of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and their local Chamber of Commerce. Different projects may require other affiliations, such as product specific certifications. However, those listed above are a good starting point.

Project references? Every contractor will say they do quality work, but if it’s true – so will their past customers. Do not be afraid to ask for 5-10 reference from past projects. Be sure to get a good mix of customers, project types, project locations, and project sizes.

Review the Scope of Work. It is very common for more experienced and more knowledgeable contractors to have a more thorough scope, and thus a potentially higher price. For example, if you ask for a brick wall to be sealed, you need to be sure the contractor is also doing all of the required preparation work such as cleaning and required masonry or mortar joint repairs.

Below are a few good questions to ask your contractors. It is smart to ask for written responses so that you can compare and follow up with each bidder.

What is their intent for this project? Does it align with yours?
What are they proposing?
Why is the scope what it is? What are they doing above and beyond what you solicitied?
What products are they using?
What is the warranty on their workmanship.
What should you be cautious of during your bid review process?
Do they self-perform their work with their own people? What is their average tenure?
Did they visit the site prior to pricing the project?

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