Construction bids-how do you make sense out of them?


  #1  
Old 09-24-06, 03:17 PM
passthebengay's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 68
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Question Construction bids-how do you make sense out of them?

Hi-

I have a couple of constructin bids for a bathroom. One guy says that the tiled walls would have to go to make room for a vanity and heater b/c they don't make the size. Also says the tub has to go because it would look old if everything else is new. Big bucks. Another contractor gave me the same labor charge, but without the "full meal deal" the other guy did.

This just gets confusing. Is that the point? I also need to recarpet the place, paint it, put new windows in, and this will really cost. It is a rental, so I want it to look nice when we get someone who can rent it. It is circa 1972 inside.

Thanks for your help!
 
  #2  
Old 09-24-06, 08:11 PM
steve_gro's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 967
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
You should probably get some more bids. You shouldn't be left standing there not clear on what's what. Do you think that the tub looks ok, or is it scratched & rusty, or generally dingy? Maybe it needs to be scrubbed with Comet. What size vanity is in there now? Measure it & take a trip to the store to see what sizes & styles are available.

Don't rush into it - be clear on what you need & want, and how much it'll cost.
 
  #3  
Old 09-24-06, 09:44 PM
Niadh's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 204
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I agree. Get more then two bids. Hear what each person says and you'll get a feel for what really needs done. Tell them what the others wanted to do so they can explain their reasoning.
 
  #4  
Old 09-25-06, 04:18 PM
passthebengay's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 68
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Question Contractors, insurance, licensing and oh my!

Thank you for the messages! I had a few more contractors come by today. Major bucks difference for the same work. One guy seemed not to be in the game, so to speak, so he is REALLY questionable.

BUT, I have another question!! (I don't think I will leave anything hanging Niadah!)

Also, the tub looks OK. I heard that oven cleaner really makes them sparkle because it cleans porcelian and (sort of gross here...)grease. I will try that.

I have another question. I have had 4 contractors give me bids. WOW! There is a $3500 difference! One guy will do the same work as the high priced guy for a lot less. He is really booked. (Or am I green?) He is insured and can provide proof, but is not licensed. BIG QUESTION: what is the difference? This includes plumbing and electricity. Wouldnít that be like me doing this? (I am not licensed and really clueless as you might be able to tell!) This guy meets my budget. He is with the BBB and I looked him up, and this is what it says:

ďBased on BBB files, this company has a satisfactory record with the Bureau. The Bureau has processed no customer complaints on this company in the last 3 years.

A "Satisfactory Record" means the company has been in business for at least 12 months, and properly addressed matters referred by the Bureau. The company does not have an unusual volume or pattern of complaints, or any government actions involving its marketplace conduct. The Bureau understands and has no concerns about the company's products services and type of business.

When evaluating complaint information, please consider the company's size and volume of business. The number of complaints filed against the company may not be as important as the type of complaints and how the company handled them.

The Bureau processed no complaints about this company since the firm's BBB file was opened. ď

I looked at other contractors, and they also had a satisfactory rating. This guy is not the cheapest one.

Could you all help a gal out? Thank you!
 
  #5  
Old 09-25-06, 07:06 PM
Niadh's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 204
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thatís a huge difference between prices. Not being able to see the bathroom makes it that much harder for me to judge which estimates are off. By licensed he probably means a licensed contractor by the state. Ask him if heíd pull any permits for the job or not. Donít trust a contractor that doesnít pull permits for a job that requires electrical and/or plumbing. Permits can be a big cost depending on where you live but keep the home owners safe from frauds.

What electrical and plumbing needs done? Are you talking switching out a toilet/sink or moving the toilet/sink to another wall? Electrically are you moving an outlet or something a bit bigger? I saw where you mentioned a heater.
 
  #6  
Old 09-25-06, 08:16 PM
passthebengay's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 68
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Post Contractors

The bathroom is a regular 6x11 room sith a tub/shower, vanity and toilet. Nothing spiffy, just functional. It has tile on the walls (no kidding) and they peopel who built the place did the floor vinyl, then tile. The tile is cut out for the vanity and baseboard heater. (Trying to save stemps in 1972, i guess!)

The bathroom is a regular 6x11 room with a tub/shower, vanity and toilet. Nothing spiffy, just functional. It has tile on the walls (no kidding) and they people who built the place did the floor vinyl, then tile. The tile is cut out for the vanity and baseboard heater. (Trying to save steps in 1972, I guess!)

The only electrical is the baseboard heating unit that would need to be taken off and replaced with a new one (or at least painted), and updating the light fixture to a light bar. The plumbing would be removing the vanity (so that would be the faucets/plumbing on the vanity, then maybe replacing the tub faucets. Basically nothing is being moved; just changed.

Pulling permits is a new one. Is that for all electrical and plumbing? Is that protection for the homeowner that the contractor will do it, and if there is a malfunction he can be tracked down? So far nobody has mentioned that! Even the guy who charged $3500 more!

Niadh, you have a lot of info, and I appreciate all of the help/advice!




Originally Posted by Niadh
Thatís a huge difference between prices. Not being able to see the bathroom makes it that much harder for me to judge which estimates are off. By licensed he probably means a licensed contractor by the state. Ask him if heíd pull any permits for the job or not. Donít trust a contractor that doesnít pull permits for a job that requires electrical and/or plumbing. Permits can be a big cost depending on where you live but keep the home owners safe from frauds.

What electrical and plumbing needs done? Are you talking switching out a toilet/sink or moving the toilet/sink to another wall? Electrically are you moving an outlet or something a bit bigger? I saw where you mentioned a heater.
 
  #7  
Old 09-25-06, 08:19 PM
steve_gro's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 967
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
It would be in your best interest to have the work done with permits. Around here, if you're caught working w/o a permit, it's 10 times the permit fee (and the inpectors are a little less friendly).

There can be a big differential in quality of workmanship (workpersonship?). A permit will generally result in a better job.
 
  #8  
Old 09-25-06, 08:26 PM
passthebengay's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 68
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Question Permit

Steve_Gro,

Does the permit fine come out of the homeowner's pocket or the contractor? Seems if it came out of their pocket they would get them....I live in Indiana, and am in the county if that makes a difference. Does the price of the permit depend on the job? I had one guy tell me he wouldn't be able to tell anyone he put back a 5 gal. toilet (instead of a low flusher)...I am guessing that is not something an inspector would see, and he might be without a permit.....Boy do I have questions to ask!!

Thank you very much!!
 
  #9  
Old 09-25-06, 09:10 PM
Niadh's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 204
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
There are various permits for what youíre doing. Youíd need at least a remodeling permit. Theyíre anywhere from $10.00 to hundreds. The price varies so much because the township/city/county where you live controls the price. A quick google search brought up this site (http://www.griffithindiana.com/building.htm) which is an Indianan townshipís pricing. They charge $30.00 base price and a percent of the total remodeling cost. As for fines for getting caught without permits; inevitably youíll be paying them. But youíll not have to worry about working without permits will you ;-).

Permits usually arenít discussed unless the homeowner brings it up because a licensed contractor will pull them to keep from loosing his license. Permit fees should be in an itemized estimate. I doubt youíll need an electrical or plumbing inspection for what youíre doing. Changing out fixtures isnít major by any stretch of the imagination.

Pick the estimate you like the most and if its itemized type up the 5 or 6 biggest costs so I can see. Include the labour and how many hours they plan it will take. I'd think $3500.00 by itself would remodel a bathroom as long as there are no major problems.

An inspector would require the high flow toilet to be changed if it was taking out for whatever reason. If the plumber didnít touch it then itís grandfathered. Toilets are $100.00 for a descent one and the newer lower volume toilets flush better then the old high-flows. It was just the first gen. low volume toilets that sucked.

Donít get me wrong, you donít need permits for everything. If a toilet is leaking and you call a plumber you donít need a permit, but for something major like renovations permits are good.
 
  #10  
Old 09-26-06, 07:10 PM
passthebengay's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 68
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Wink Permits and such

Niadh,

I called the coutny planning dept. and they said I wouldn't need a permit b.c. of the limited remodeling. (Improvements might be a better word.) They did say a licenesed person would be needed.

My budget is tight, and knowlege is limited...what a combination! The first bid was way more than I can afford, and is a $3000 difference!

Does being a member of the Better Business Bearuau help?

Again, Thank you for the knowledge! Sometimes I think there is too much information! :-D
 
  #11  
Old 09-26-06, 08:05 PM
Niadh's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 204
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thatís a good thing to know. When you need permits and when you donít varies so much. I remember reading about how in one state you needed a permit for any renovation over $500.

The BBB is a good resource for deciding which contractor to get. It sounds like all four of your bids are from reputable people. If you still canít decide you could always ask for references. I donít think there is anything more I can say to help. Good luck.
 
  #12  
Old 09-27-06, 09:27 AM
passthebengay's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 68
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Wink Thank you!

Thank you for all of your information. I am contacting for references now.... :-D. That will sort somethings out. Is it questionable for someone to ask for part up front?

Thank you again!
 
  #13  
Old 09-27-06, 10:33 AM
Niadh's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 204
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Itís not unheard of. Smaller contractors, especially one or two man crews, might ask for so much up front for materials/good will. They donít have bankrolls like the bigger boys. But it would make me double check the referances.
 
  #14  
Old 09-27-06, 11:40 AM
mattison's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Cinti, OH
Posts: 5,315
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Be carefull and double think what you spend on a rental re-hab. If it don't really need it you may want to let it go untill you see what kind of renter you have. Once you get a good renter then you can do some updates as a bonus for them paying the rent ontime and keeping the house up good.

I've learned through many years of rental properties is that renters will break your heart after you spent a ton of money and sweat equity to make it nice for them. I could post some pictures that would make you a believer.
 
  #15  
Old 09-27-06, 04:47 PM
passthebengay's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 68
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Cool Been there, done that!

You are reading me loud and clear. This will not be something I spend a lot of $$ on. I want to make it look nice for a potential renter. The place hasn't been remodeled for a long time, but it won't look like it came out of a catalog or anything!!

The next tenant will be new to the place, and not a sublet of a sublet....of a sublet.....!

Thank you all for your input!! I am 2X checking references. You all have been great help!!

Thank you so much!!
 
  #16  
Old 11-07-06, 02:48 PM
passthebengay's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 68
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Exclamation Making sense our of them after they have started working!

Help!

I had some contractors come, they bid, they sounded great, and they started. They had a contract and a bid that has been signed. Now there are problems with what needs to be done. They say the first row of wall tile at the floor must come up to lay glue less vinyl...I had been told that by other professionals, but they seemed to think it didn't. The guy called and I asked if he could just put plywood down over the old floor now that the tiles need to come up. He said it needed sealed and caulked. I am a bit confused and quite a bit miffed. (Whew, can you tell?) I will be talking to them in about an hour, and would LOVE some words of wisdom, or whatever you have to tell me.

Please keep in mind that they have already completed some of the job...................... Any words of wisdom would really be appreciated!!!!!

What do you do when that happens?
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: