Home>Discussions>BATHROOMS>Project Quote Question
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A. Spruce
Re: Project Quote Question
MLB Construction wrote:

well said spruce

I do try. :):cool:

One thing I forgot to mention is that "cheap" tends to look just like that, while it's nice and new, it's still got that cheap look and feel. When you use quality products and workmanship, the look and feel is much deeper and richer. There is a huge difference in the two, unfortunately, the likes of Home Depot and Walmart have misled the masses to think otherwise.

Fencepost
Re: Project Quote Question
A. Spruce wrote:

I don't think I'd go as far as line iteming all the extra parts, but yes, we do think things through pretty thoroughly due to our knowledge of the process that most others don't have.

My mechanic doesn't line-item every single item that is used when he repairs my car, but there is a standard 10% surcharge for "incidentals" -- sealants, cleaners, disposable gloves, etc. -- that would be too time consuming to track and list.

A. Spruce
Re: Project Quote Question
Fencepost wrote:

My mechanic doesn't line-item every single item that is used when he repairs my car, but there is a standard 10% surcharge for "incidentals" -- sealants, cleaners, disposable gloves, etc. -- that would be too time consuming to track and list.

Do you ask your car dealer for an itemized labor and parts list when you buy a new car? Do you ask your grocer to account for his pricing? Do you ask the post office to account for the 45 cent postage stamp? Do you ask restaurants for an itemized labor/parts bill for your dinner?

On a similar note, do you question how much your doctor charges you? How about your mechanic, or lawyer, or any other service person?

Why is it that contractors have to justify where every penny is going? Why are we expected to hold to a quote when the parameters of the work change? Conscientious tradesmen are going to give you their best effort and value. Granted, there are a lot of crooks out there, but demanding this level of minutia isn't going to protect you in the slightest.

What matters is that you get a comprehensive scope of work outlined in the bid with a price at the bottom, this way, when you are shopping bids, you can be sure that ALL contractors are providing the same level of work for the price quoted. Breaking pricing down into minutia just isn't necessary. The contractor should take the time to go through the bid, not only to make sure that everything is covered, but that the client understands both the scope of work and how disruptive it may be. This is the time for the client to be asking questions.

Another topic that this subject brings up is trust. You have to trust the people you hire, and they have to trust you. This is a bond that should not be taken lightly by either party. When I am walking a jobsite, I'm not just looking at the work, I'm also getting to know the potential client, getting a feel of whether or not we are compatible. I have turned many of these potential clients away because of an incompatibility.

A. Spruce
Re: Project Quote Question

I once had a potential client insist that I needed a wholesale license so that I could purchase materials exempt from sales tax and pass that savings on to her. That is NOT the way it works, states that charge sales tax are very good at getting it, one way or another. In this neck of the woods, if you do not pay tax on the materials leaving the store, then the final product is taxable. Which would you rather do, pay 8% sales tax on $1000 of material or 8% tax on a $3500 upgrade? On top of that, you would be paying higher operating costs of the contractor who now has considerable more paperwork and accounting hassles to deal with. It is far simpler and cheaper to just pay the tax at the door and be done with the whole ordeal.

Fencepost
Re: Project Quote Question
A. Spruce wrote:

Do you ask your car dealer for an itemized labor and parts list when you buy a new car? Do you ask your grocer to account for his pricing? Do you ask the post office to account for the 45 cent postage stamp? Do you ask restaurants for an itemized labor/parts bill for your dinner?

On a similar note, do you question how much your doctor charges you? How about your mechanic, or lawyer, or any other service person?

Barking up the same tree, here. When I take my car to the mechanic, I want to know how much it's going to cost to replace the fildango. I don't need to know that a 17mm volt washer is needed to effect the replacement or that it costs $1.27. I trust that he's factored in those necessary parts and supplies for the project when he gives me the estimate, and I'm also going to give him the benefit of the doubt and not whine when unforeseen circumstances push the bill thirteen bucks higher than the estimate.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Project Quote Question

I'll do labor only quotes sometimes, but it's based on the work being quoted- in other words if it's too complex or too small or too many variables rest on other customer decisions then I won't go there. I always throw in some "incidentals" in the work as there usually seems to be some small item(s) that get overlooked like a few screws or a couple drywall hanger inserts etc. But sometimes the variables are just too much- paint grade vs stain grade, wallpaper vs paint, type of flooring material, and even plumbing fixtures and countertops. If I have to give a labor-only bid in those areas then I have to allow for a 'worst-case' situation, ie drilling a granite countertop for faucets, pickling cabinets instead of prime-and-paint and so on. I think we've all learned our lessons at trying to cut too fine a line in our estimating.

My usual approach with these customers is to hear their thoughts, then show them where I can't be expected to know what their choices will be and how that can affect the job and my pricing. Then I'll explain that they will be far better off finalizing their plans now and not making changes later so thaty I (and everyone else) can give them the best solid bid on the work. I get pretty specific in my quotes for the bigger and more complex jobs so that neither I or the customer misses anything. When I hand you my quote I have already planned the whole job from start to finish, and things go wrong for my pocket when those plans aren't followed so I'm either going to lock in all your choices ahead of time or charge you for my loss of efficiency when you want things changed later on. What you may see as something simple to change can be far more complex than you realize but I know it and that's why I'm going into such detail with you!

Always remember the old adage that "A failure to plan is a plan to fail" so make your final choices ahead of time so that I can plan to give you the best deal and follow through with that!

Phil

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