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Estimate bids vs. Time and Material bids for bathoom remodel

Estimate bids vs. Time and Material bids for bathoom remodel


Old 11-10-09, 11:43 AM
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Estimate bids vs. Time and Material bids for bathoom remodel

Hi all,
I made a similar post a while back referring to just the tile portion of this job so I will try to be brief.

My wife and I are going to be doing a remodel of a master bathroom. No moving of walls but replacing large soaking tub,turning shower surround shower into a tiled shower surround,tiling floor,raising a vanity and installing new sink bowls and faucets etc..

In short my question is this: Are we as the client, better off in getting a Estimate bid or a Time and Materials bid? So far we have talked to two contractors. We have the bid back from one and are waiting on the other one. The one that we have the bid from is a guy my father in law has used and comes highly recommended by him and a few others in my father in laws town. They live 75 minutes south of us. He remodeled my father in laws whole home 20 or so years ago
and came with 6-7K on a job he thought might cost 120K and was billed in the end,time and materials.

In general I guess I'm more comfortable proceeding with a Estimate bid as I feel there is in theory a cap on the price. I understand maybe the necessity to do a time and materials bid if there are a lot of unknowns,older house etc. but this is a pretty small job in a home built in the early eighties. The first guy that has given us a bid ($14,000) has attached that price but at the same time indicated that in the end it will be time and materials.

When does it make sense for the client or builder to offer or accept one type of bid over another?

Thanks so much for any thoughts regarding this issue.

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Old 11-10-09, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
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Hi wvd3. T&M and they are in no hurry to finish the job. Fixed bid and they can be in too much of a hurry. Contractors who can watch over a job and know when someone is going slow can risk a T&M bid, but will usually go with a fixed price as they must add up everything to submit their overall bid. But again, they know the work so can judge the bid.

It boils down to knowing your contractor and trusting that he/she will do a good job at a fair price. Have everything in writing in case problems arise, but a good contractor will be able to explain his options and help you choose.

By getting several bids, you can compare prices. Avoid the highs and lows and get details from each to understand any differences.

Ask them for a certificate of insurance, it comes directly from their insurance company and be sure they are responsible for all workers on the job. Your home owners insurance people can help here.

That should get you started. Others will comment as well.

Old 11-10-09, 01:08 PM
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I'm a painter and not a tile guy but IMO a fixed price bid is almost always best. A pro should know approximately what it will take [both labor and material] to do most any given job. I don't want any hassles when it comes time to get paid, if the price is agreed upon first - we both know what the price is and there is no explaining why it took x to finish the job. T&M jobs are often when there is no fixed plan as to what work is to be done.

As noted above, get several estimates and check references!
Old 11-11-09, 04:49 AM
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I agree with the others, a fixed price is the best option.
Also, in order to compare the different prices and avoid unpleasant surprises, ask for a detailed bid, with a breakdown of all the items, including material specs, number of people working, etc
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