The Three Bid Myth

January 21, 2023 | Kathy Shertzer, DuKate Fine Remodeling

Beware - competitive bidding puts homeowners at risk. This very common practice is dangerous. Once you decide to remodel, granted, it is a frightening prospect to hand over your home to strangers. And you should be nervous. You are preparing to spend thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of dollars on your largest asset. You are getting ready to invite strangers into your home. Deconstruction will occur when walls and flooring are torn away. Then comes reconstruction where a parade of strangers will enter your home to do a variety of things. The process is invasive, messy and disruptive.

If you have never been through a major remodel you can eliminate much stress for yourself by connecting with the right remodeler. Seek references from friends and business associates, investigate companies online, visit company websites and always check out a potential company’s standing at the Better Business Bureau. Why do you really need three bids? Isn’t it because you need to be comfortable with the contractor? Why not take time instead to get to know the company your satisfied friends recommend?

Remodelers do not sell a commodity. Remodelers sell a service. For instance, one company may use quality subcontractors who have a great reputation in the community. Another may be using his Uncle Joe who just got out of rehab. Competitive bidding only encourages cost-shaving and cutting corners. It is not uncommon for the lowest bidder to be awarded the project only to have the homeowner slammed with multiple change orders, adjusting the low-bid price to a more realistic one. This is awful but it does occur. Take time to build relationships with a trusted company that has been around and has great reviews. It will save you money.

There is no such thing as a price per square foot. There are too many variables in remodeling. Overhead always varies from company to company. Remodeling is like mustard. When you go to the store to buy mustard you are bombarded with choices. Do I choose yellow, brown, imported, large, small, individually packaged? And, that’s just mustard. When it comes to filling square footage with products you can imagine how costs can vary. The bottom line is you need a company you can trust that will work within your budget and produce a high-quality, finished project.

Several homeowners that were very happy with their remodeling projects were asked to describe some personal characteristics of the remodelers they used. Here’s what they said:

  • Honesty and integrity
  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to empathize
  • Long-term relationship-oriented

In the same survey, satisfied homeowners listed qualities present in order of importance:

  1. Quality construction
  2. Clear builder specifications
  3. Good company organization
  4. Ability to provide price checks
  5. Value engineering
  6. Response time
  7. On-time performance
  8. Fair price

As you can see – the price was listed at the very bottom. Why? Because if you need heart surgery you are not going to shop price. It’s the same with your home. Remodeling is a relationship business, it’s not a numbers game.

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