Bryn asks: On a cost-plus bid, what be an average to high-average markup to expect from a contractor with a strong reputation for doing good work? What is the highest percentage one might expect? Are there other factors in comparing bids? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: There is no industry standard for markup percentage and the numbers vary a lot depending on … [Read more...] about Cost-Plus: How Much Markup?
Estimating & Bidding
Brad asks: On remodels, are supervision costs typically included in contractor's percentage fee or are these billable? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: There is no definitive answer to your question as different contractors handle this issue differently. Some bill for all supervisory time, some bill for only specific types of supervisory time, and some bill for … [Read more...] about Cost-Plus: Are Supervision Costs Billable?
Louise writes: We submitted detailed plans and specs for a substantial remodel of a beach house to five builders: two "big name" builders, two midrange, and one "mom and pop," but very highly regarded, small builder. This is our first time going through this process and we (naively) assumed that we would get back five proposals that we could compare easily. Wrong! Some are … [Read more...] about Comparing Bids: Is the Low Bid the Best?
Peter writes: I received a quote from a building company for a new customized, pre-fabricated home. The quote and specifications are quite complex. How can I tell if the price is reasonable and competitive with a site-built home? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: To find out if the bid is in the ballpark, you can compare it to similar new homes for sale in your … [Read more...] about Will Modular Homes Save You Money?
Cristal writes: If the Contractor Bid $300,000 to build my house and then it ends up costing less to build the house do I still pay the $300,000 that I signed the contract for? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com responds: The simple answer is yes -- you'll pay the full contract amount assuming this was a standard fixed-price competitive bid. There are some situations … [Read more...] about Final Cost Is Less Than Bid
Rich writes: On 75 townhouse units, is it better to get bids or pay for time and materials on new siding and repair of dry rot? You can't tell the extent of the dry rot until the siding is removed. I think the job will cost $300,000 to $400,000 to complete. The association members have many views. What do you advise? Steve Bliss of BuildingAdvisor.com responds: It sounds … [Read more...] about Getting Bids for Rot Repair
Thom asks: Should I pay for a cost estimate? This is a remodel project of a kitchen and three baths. Steve Bliss of BuildingAdvisor.com responds: While most contractors advertise "Free Estimates," some contractors charge a fee for estimates – especially higher-end contractors who often spend a lot of time preparing detailed estimates, plans, and specifications for jobs they … [Read more...] about Should I Pay for a Remodeling Estimate?
Robert writes: I am planning to build a second home. The builder who I hired has refused to provide copies of his bids for the various parts of the building process. He claims it’s not normal business practice and he’s never done it before. However, he did provide a document titled “Scope of Work” in which he identified the costs for the various parts of the project. The … [Read more...] about Estimate Seems Vague on Details