How Do I Hire A General, Subcontractor Or An Independent Tradesman?

Charles E Hughes, LLC suggests getting only 3 bids on your home improvement project

Bid Stage:
Plan on getting no more than 3 bids from similar types of companies. In other words compare apples to apples. If you are going to hire a general contractor, get a bid each from 3 general contractors. If you are going to hire a subcontractor or an independent tradesman to do 1 specific task, make sure you get a bid from 3 subcontractors and/or independent tradesmen who have expertise in that task.

Base your hiring final decision on the following:
1) Make sure the basic elements are the same between bidders. Compare apples to apples. If you are not sure ask them.

Beware of this common issue: Unless an architect is designing your project, typically you and your bidders will go through what is called “design-build”. In otherwords you will be designing as you go through each step of the process, even in the bid stage. So, the first bidder may have totally different elements in his/her bid than the 3rd bidder will have. Make sure that before any selections are made that all 3 bidders are pricing the same design.

2) Ask for a timetable. How long do they anticipate that it will take for completion? See notes.

3) Ask them if they will be able to provide you with proof of liability insurance upon acceptance of contract. Make this a condition of acceptance.

If they refer to having employees, ask them to provide you with certificates of workers compensation. Make this a condition of acceptance.

4) Finally, review this report:

2018 Cost VS Value Report.

To get an accurate, unbiased, birds eye view of what similar projects may cost in the Denver metro area. Use this information wisely. In other words, don’t just see what you want to see. Make sure you add/subtract the elements that are different about your project before you hold a contractor’s bid up for comparison.

5) Finally, if the amount of money you have to spend on this project is less than what is quoted in #4 or from the 3 bidders, STOP.

Take some time to save or borrow more. Postpone your project. But, DO NOT keep shopping until you find the person who will do it for your price. If you do it this way, I guarantee you will find that person. And you will also be on your way to creating a “bad contractor” story.