Before a construction job begins, whether it is a small job on a residence or a very large job on a commercial building, it goes out to bid. This means that contractors have the opportunity to review the job and give an estimate of what they would charge to complete the work. This is called a contractor bid. In most cases, individuals or companies interested in hiring a contractor for a job will review multiple bids before hiring anyone.
A contractor bid is based on many factors. The first and most basic factor is the kind of work that is out for bid. Repair work on a residence with two floors and a small attic is much different than the new construction of an office building with fifteen floors. This basic factor will define many others such as the type of equipment that will be necessary to complete the job, how many people will need to be hired to do all of the work, and how many working hours the project will take to complete. If the job is unusually complex, a contractor might have to rent or purchase equipment that the company does not already own. All of these factors must be considered when a contractor is developing a bid.
Furthermore, a contractor must consider the materials that will be required from the beginning of the job until the end. In most cases, it is the job of the contractor to purchase those materials. It is important, when requesting a contractor bid, to be specific about the required materials as their price must be factored into the bid.
It is important to note that it is not always best to go with the lowest contractor bid. In fact, sometimes the lowest of the bids can be a risky choice. For example, it might be low because the contractor has underestimated the number of workers he will need on his construction crew. Also, a slightly more expensive bid might come from a contractor who insists on meticulous workmanship and therefore plans for a higher than average number of working hours.
In some cases, contractors will use materials other than those that are specified in the bid in order to reduce costs. This can leave the consumer with a product that is of lower quality than anticipated. This is not to say that all contractors are untrustworthy. However, it is very important, when considering bids, to look into the reputation and record of the people behind each contractor bid.