Estimates for Work
Estimates or quotes for getting work done in your home can be a frustrating process, you need to first find the contractors to reach out to to schedule them to come out and do the estimates or have them virtually send you an estimate. Many contractors will not answer their phones, emails or text messages. Many contractors will say their coming out for an estimate and either not show up or show up extremely late. Lastly, if you have a contractor come out to give an estimate, walk through the project with you and say their going to send an estimate and then you never end up hearing from them. This unfortunately is the process that so many customers deal with on a daily basis and it can be extremely frustrating.
Here is what I suggest for getting work done on your home. Let’s assume for the sake of this post that you’re looking to have overhead lighting installed in a room in your home where you current do not have any, you’re looking for recessed lights to be installed in a family room.
The first step is compiling a list of potential contractors in your area that would be the right company to do the work. This involves electrical work, it’s always best to use a licensed electrician for this type of work. You will see a lot of handyman companies who will be able to do this work, some larger companies may have licensed electricians on their team but most have people who think they understand how to do things properly and to code but most do not. Using an electrician is going to cost more, however electric is not something to mess around with. Now, you need to compile a list of probably 5-8 companies locally to do this work to end up with getting 3 estimates when all is said and done. If you use just an electrician and not a company that offers more than one service you’re also going to be left with holes in your ceiling from running the wires, we call it swiss cheese ceiling.
Scheduling these estimates, especially if you’re someone who works each day can be a tough process. Once you get the estimates scheduled you will meet with each company at your home and walk them through the process. They will check things out, take pictures and most likely walk you through what they’re going to send to you. You now have done this with 3-5 companies at your home. You’re now hopefully going to start to receive the estimates, typically via email or hopefully as I cannot imagine an estimate via text or phone call. You want to look at a few things in these estimates,
- How is it written? The first thing we all do is go to the bottom right corner to see the price but it’s important what it says from the top down to that price. Do you see details of what exactly is included or is it relatively vague in what you’re getting for this price.
- Are you comparing apples to apples? Did each person who sent you estimates explain what they were going to send?
- Is there a contract or any type of details to ensure you’re protected as a client?
- What’s the next step in the process? When can it be done?
Now is the time, if you have not already to check reviews online to ensure these companies are well run and have positive reviews (google, angies list, home advisor, yelp, etc to find reviews). Did you have a favorite out of the people you met? Where did their price come in vs the others. Our advice, if all estimates came in around the same amount, meaning all within for work like this within a few hundred dollars in either direction then you should make your decision based on your gut of the person or company you felt most comfortable with. When you play the “cheaper estimate” game and accept the cheapest option you’re typically gong to find out the hard way why they’re the cheapest option.
Next once you make a decision, accept the estimate and start to go through their process to get scheduled and take deposits. Remember at any point during this process, if you get the “feeling something is not right” then walk away then, do not wait until you have someone you do not want in your home at your house as it’s much harder at this point.
Remember you have rights as a homeowner, HICPA (home improvement consumer protection act) is in your favor. Do not let contractors threaten you and make sure you know your rights.