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6 Common Myths for Selecting a Contractor

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6 Common Myths for Selecting a Contractor

The following post deals with the most common myths that I hear as a builder all the time. I hope to once and for all stop these myths from continuing. Whether you are doing a home remodel or a custom home these apply. In fact, these apply to almost any project that you could do on your home.

Myth: “I can buy the materials myself and save money”

This is not a professional way of doing business and for good reason. If you supply materials, you are risking not ordering enough for the job. Running short can hold up the job. Poor quality products will also affect the final product. Unfamiliar suppliers can hold up the schedule and cost more money. The costs of mistakes will be passed on to the homeowner and would cost more than if the contractor did the ordering in the first place.

Suppliers are often able to give discounts to contractors especially if they have a good working relationship. You may not necessarily qualify for those discounts.

If you do supply materials for something unique, or ordered online, etc. then I would recommend some precaution. Owner supplied items are usually not covered in a warranty. If there is an issue with a material flaw, or an item is late in arriving, then you become responsible for replacing the item, including the labor costs, as well as potentially holding up the job progress.
Allowing a contractor to supply the materials will ensure you a better warranty, smoother scheduling, and it takes the liability off you and puts it onto the Contractor when there are issues.

Myth: “If they don’t have any complaints against them at the BBB or CCB then they should be fine”

Although both the CCB and BBB are great place to check out a contractor, there are important things to know. The BBB is not a regulatory agency and does not keep a record on everyone. The CCB however has a record of every licensed contractor. If you can’t find them on the CCB website, they are not licensed. If there are any complaints against them at the CCB, take note what the problem was. Also, keep in mind that businesses change names and you can usually link back to past business names to see if they have complaints there as well. Even the CCB is not totally the answer though. Some clients never file a complaint, and some problems that clients have are not such that they are a viable CCB claim. For these reasons, it is very important to check references.

Myth: “Going with the low price will save me money”

If you have ever been the victim of a “low bid” contractor, you already know this is false. If there is a large difference in numbers and the low bid truly is low, there should be a red flag. This is not to say that every low bid comes from a shady contractor, rather it is a warning to look further than the bottom line. The list of potential and known problems with low bidders doesn’t end, but some of the most common problems are:

  • Unreasonable change orders for items that should have been included
  • Vague or no specifications, omitting items, and causing disagreements
  • Inexpensive and/or low quality products
  • Cheap labor, potentially uninsured, under-the-table, or illegal
  • Can’t finish the job without more money
  • Go out of business before completing the project
  • Bad attitude when the job becomes a loss
  • Poor subcontractor relationships
  • The final “bottom line” is more than your middle or high bid was
  • Poor management due to lack of time and funds to properly manage
  • Placing blame for problems on subcontractors or even you the owner

Myth: “Taking the middle bid is a safe bet”

The bidding process is one of the most misunderstood processes of the building industry. It is human nature to put a lot of emphasis on a proposed “bottom line” number, but many fail to realize all the gray area around that “bottom line”. We comfort ourselves by believing that the low bid is probably undercutting it but the middle bid would be credible. Keep in mind that undercutting is sadly very common in construction and often even “middle bids” are undercut. It is much more important to interview, check references and understand a contractors processes. This goes for high bids as well. The bottom line number means nothing until you weigh a lot more information.

Myth: “Getting three bids will help me make a selection”

The old standby procedure of construction is to draw a plan and send it out for three bids. As stated in the last two myths, too much weight, all too often is put on an empty number. Do your homework and select on reputation and integrity, and you will be happy with your results and pay the best price for a quality product, resulting in the best value.

Myth: “The Contractor has been in business for a few years, he must have enough experience to do a good job”

A few years are not always enough to weed out a bad contractor. In fact some less than stellar contractors have been around for years and still are hired. Low bids and good advertising go a long way. More years in business is a good indicator, but there is no substitute for references from satisfied clients.

Kaufman Homes would love to help you whether you would like to build a new home or remodel an existing.Please don’t hesitate to call 503-370-8390 to schedule an appointment.[/vc_column_text][dt_gap height=”10″][/vc_column][/vc_row]