I was talking to a successful owner-builder friend this weekend and asked him if he could give one piece of advice that I could share with new owner-builders. He said the one item that had the biggest impact on his project was getting (or not getting) a minimum of three bids for each activity. In his case, he didn’t get three bids for every activity…especially on those that were being handled by friends. After all, they wouldn’t try and take advantage of him…right? Well, they didn’t necessarily take advantage, they just weren’t the most efficient. For example, let’s say a friend wants to do your painting for you. Does he/she have the latest equipment to make the job go as efficiently as possible? What if he doesn’t have the latest sprayer that can hit all the trim in an hour and instead he will be painting by hand? Or what if she doesn’t have the ability to cut in the ceilings and instead tries to mask off the entire ceiling of each room? Efficiency plays a major role in the total cost of a project.
Whether you are finishing your basement or replacing your roof, you will save a great deal of money if you get a minimum of three bids per activity. In my last project, I had a difference of 50% between the highest and lowest bidder. At first, you question whether each trade bid out the same work. In my case, they did. It turns out, the company that won the job had another client cancel on them last minute so they needed work to keep the employees busy. I have also saved a bundle by finding suppliers that buy mass quantities of the material that I want.
I recently hired a supplier that was new to the area. After checking him out thoroughly, I decided to go with him because he was the lowest bidder. He was trying to get the business going so he was willing to lower his margins.
So, make sure you get a minimum of three bids for every activity…it will save you in the long run. For more information on saving money while bidding out your project go to our video…Bidding Out Work.