As with other consumer products, it was inevitable that even building materials would be going up in price this year. I received notice of a drywall increase back in December. It was a pretty significant increase. As gas prices rise this year, transportation and shipping costs will also go up, and those costs will be passed along through price increases in building supplies.
When this happens, it is extremely important for homeowners who shop contractors by attaining bids, to do some additional homework. Don’t always go with a contractor who gives you the lowest bid. Some contracts are vague, and leave loopholes for unexpected surprises (cost of goods go up, changes to the plan, more needs to be done than meets the eye). Many contractors bid low, then when the work is done you either get what you paid for, or there are surprise costs added to the bill. Don’t let this happen to you! Do some homework!
There are a couple of things a homeowner can do to ensure they don’t get taken to the bank.
1. Check that the contractor is licensed and insured. Don’t use a non-licensed or uninsured contractor EVER!
2. Make sure your contractor includes all permits, and costs of the permits in the bid. Most cities require building permits for remodels. Heavy fines are imposed on homeowners who do not get the permits. You may be talked into believing you don’t need a permit; however, one of your neighbors may turn you in, and if you are working on a budget, this would not only put you over budget, but put a halt on the work until permits are acquired.
3. Check references! This is critical. Ask for references and call them. Ask if the job came in at or below the bid. If it was over, ask why. Many contractor’s will bid the job low, then do a bait and switch. Ask if the person is satisfied with the job the contractor provided. Ask them to rate on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the best. Then ask why they rated them at the number they gave you. Many contractor’s find a problem, and rack up extra costs trying to fix it. Usually, the final bill is much higher than original bid, and the work is unsatisfactory or sub-par. Very often people will call JDH Construction to fix what other contractors have done, which adds even more to the cost of the original job.
4. Ask questions. Ask how long the job will take. Ask if they clean up their mess daily. Ask if they have suggestions to make the finished project better, or if it can be done with cheaper materials and not affect the quality, or results.
5. A good contractor will be able to schedule the work to be done around you. They will stick to a schedule and finish the job on time. If you solicit multiple bids, ask each contractor about the schedule. A contractor who hesitates, or cannot pin down a reasonable finish date should be avoided.
6. If you find a contractor that you really like, and that works well with you, keep them! Refer them to friends, co-workers, etc.
As a homeowner you cannot know the difference between inferior and superior construction. That is why it’s important to use a licensed, insured contractor. Most will insure their work for one year to several years. Be wary of a contractor who will not insure and stand behind their finished work for several years.
JDH Construction is a licensed and insured company. JDH Construction stands behind their work. JDH construction will bid as accurately as possible. They will discuss all the work that needs to be completed to ensure you get the finished job you want, and envision. JDH Construction will also give you input on how to make what you want even better, most often the project ends up better than the homeowner had envisioned.
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