I’m sure you have heard the old saying regarding comparing apples to apples.  This rings especially true when it comes to interviewing contractors for you kitchen and bathroom remodel.  Here are some useful tips for gathering bids.

Know What’s Important to You.

Do your homework and know what you want.  Study your habits and establish priorities.  Utilize all of the design sites and social media sites to determine your style.  This will enable you to visualize what you are looking for in your finished space.  It’s always great to know what is most important to you during this phase so that you can put your money into the areas that will give you the greatest long term satisfaction.  It will also help you when completing the next step and starting to communicate with bidding contractors.  Be sure to check out our blogs Function or Style? and It’s Your Home; Make It Yours for additional information regarding this stage.

Have a Plan.

Next, have a design plan. This is a take away from my previous blog regarding the importance of the initial design.  It is impossible to get accurate bids from general contractors without having a design plan in place.  Each contractor has their own way of visualizing a completed project. This is great for variety, but not so much if you’re trying to compare pricing for your kitchen or bathroom remodel.  This plan gives the needed direction and goal for the contractors to base their estimate on.  It also ensures that contractors are viewed fairly when comparing pricing.

Have a Selections Sheet.

Equally as important is the selections sheet.  This is where you will specify in great detail the materials to be used.  Countertop selections, tile materials, flooring finish, fixtures, special installation patterns, etc. should all be included.  Keep in mind that even within each line item the options are limitless and need to be listed.  For example, not all granite is created equal.  There are three levels to granite and the levels vary greatly in price depending on coloring, veining, and density.  If one contractor is pricing a level 1 which is less expensive, and the other is allowing for a level 3 then that alone can make the final cost vary by thousands of dollars.  The same is true for tile selections.  The tile material, thickness, and pattern can all alter the tile price for materials and the labor to install. We all love the Herringbone pattern, but it is a great example of hundreds of dollars extra in labor.  Know your price points in these areas in advance and it will save you a lot of frustration and sticker shock.

Ask for References.

While this goes without saying, it is important to ask for references.  This should include clients from recently completed projects.  Our goal is to create long term working relationships with our clients.  What they think at the end of the project is more important to us than the final check.  You can read more about our thoughts on this here.  Don’t be afraid to ask for the contact information for several clients.  Especially one that was similar to the project that you are looking to have completed.  This can go a long way with your piece of mind when making your final selection.

So don’t be hesitant to get estimates from several contractors.  If you have all of the above in place, you should be able to collect accurate, fair bids and feel secure when moving forward with your kitchen and bathroom remodel.