The lowest bid is tempting, isn’t it? Maybe you can actually save some money on your project? “Construction firms often make unrealistically low bids to get jobs… but they can count on finding plenty of reasons later to jack the price up enough to allow for a profit. When the building is underway, it becomes prohibitively expensive to fire the contractor and start anew. The owner has become a hostage.” – Wall Street Journal, December 5th, 2007 When it comes to your commercial or residential renovation project, it is of course extremely tempting to go with the lowest bidder. It is especially attractive if their price is the only one within your budget, but one thing you must remember is that just because it is the “best” bid does not mean it is the best value. Ridgewater does not promise to be the cheapest quote you will receive, but spending that extra dollar of your hard earned money could never be more worth it to have the peace of mind that it was done right. Quality of workmanship is important knowing that it won’t fall apart in a year. We have lost jobs to the lowest bidder and what is even scarier a year later we get a call that things aren’t working or are falling apart. This now ends up costing the homeowner a lot more and as well as huge headaches. But saying that, don’t be confused by Contractors low bids and Clients who keep adding to the project. Clients get into the reno and choose more expensive tiles from $2 sqft to $30 sqft, go with frame-less glass instead of framed glass. Changing the scope of work, all this will change the cost of the project. With Renovations we don’t know what is behind those walls. We have found rot, carpenter ants, mold, junction boxes, burnt studs, bad framing and so on. We have seen it all! As you begin your search for a Commercial or Residential Contractor, keep in mind: 4 Reasons to Be Wary of Low General Contractor Bids 1. Some contractors will only throw out a low bid as a negotiating strategy. Contractors with integrity will meet with you at your project and go over everything with you. They will find out what your wants and needs are. They will listen to you, then give you a thoroughly thought out estimate and include all materials and work needed. If you are issued a bid without an explanation or on-site consultation, you should not only question it but the skill and professionalism of your contractor as well. 2. Every contractor is in business to make money. If you receive a contractor bid that is 20% or more below another bid – it simply isn’t the same job. Experienced contractors will, for the most part, agree on the best way to complete a job. If their prediction varies considerably, they may be cutting corners or neglecting important facts. Ridgewater doesn’t cut corners 3. If a bid seems to be good to be true, it is. As noted in the quote from the Wall Street Journal above, it is easy to be fooled by the low quote and a “nice person”, but this isn’t usually the case. Call at least 2-3 references. Review their website and testimonials. See if you can see a job that they are working on. These are all things we do at Ridgewater. 4. Many contractors hide behind low prices. Often, a low-bidder isn’t licensed, isn’t carrying Insurance, or WCB. Also look for a member of an association like NKBA, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association or RenoMark. This isn’t a must, but nice to see. Low Bid or sketchy contractors are hoping if they offer a low price, you will overlook other shortcomings. A contractor that doesn’t carry WCB and Insurance means you will be held responsible if something happens. If they cheat WCB and Permits than they will be just as likely cheat you. Avoiding them is a smart move. If your renovating – see if they are licenced, the province of BC doesn’t require renovators to have a licence. Ridgewater is Licenced builder and renovator. Key Takeaways There have been countless local and national news stories about unscrupulous contractors disappearing with homeowner deposits, operating without a license, or never completing their work and in most situations, the victims were blinded by a low-bid. These kinds of details show that the contractor doesn’t have a good grasp of the scope of the project. But, don’t don’t get this mixed up with homeowners who have eyes are bigger than their wallets and keep adding to the project. This can add up fast and can get out of control. This is not the contractors’ fault. If you are seriously considering hiring any contractor with a very attractive bid to complete your commercial or residential renovation project, make sure to do your research beforehand. Ask questions and get all of the answers in writing. If you see a negative review, get the story. It might not be as bad as the review – remember there are always two sides to the story. A little legwork before you sign the contract could save you a great deal of time and effort down the line. There are a lot of fake review but contractors and bad clients trying to make them look bad. Signing a contract with the wrong builder is a little like getting married to the wrong person. Separating can get messy! We have gone into a job where the previous contractor had no clue what they were doing. We had to rip it out and start the correct way. This ends up costing the client more money because the person was cheaper or didn’t have the knowledge. Leave it to an award winning contractor like Ridgewater Homes who is licensed and knows what they are doing. It’s not about winning or how many awards a contractor has it’s about the Quality of work that they do. Sure the awards are a great way to reward creative excellence, but that is not why we do it. And is an award a true measure of success? In every industry, there are amazing people who do amazing work that never gets the recognition that they deserve. The awards are not what we measure our work by. For us, we care about our clients and the work we do no matter how big or small the project is, that is the most important thing. Ridgewater Homes is a highly respected general contractor in the Vancouver and Lower Mainland area. We are proud of the trusting relationships we build with each of our clients. Click the button below to request your free initial consultation with one of our experts.