If you own a home or a commercial building, it’s likely you’ve been approached by a general contractor offering a free estimate for work you need done on your property. Be very skeptical of the free estimate. It’s a sales tactic that often overpromises and underdelivers, leading to delays, unexpected costs, and a lot of frustration.
You may not realize it, but estimating is an unregulated part of the construction industry. This is partly what accounts for many free estimates drastically underbidding construction projects. They’re just a tactic to get property owners to sign on the dotted line, locking in a job with a low bid, just to jack up the price later.
Who’s Involved in Creating a Bid
An accurate bid requires real time and effort on behalf of the contractor. To build an accurate bid, a contractor needs to spend time with the property owner to understand the scope of work. Administrative staff must research vendors and subcontractors. The vendors and subcontractors need to put together their own bids for the project. And the estimator needs to put all of these items together to come up with an accurate bid and timeline for the prospective customer. Then, the contractor needs to spend even more time with the property owner to review the quote.
If the estimate is accepted, it is possible for a contractor to recoup these costs. But if it’s not, then the contractor is out the expense of putting together a bid—often because a free estimate underbid the project and won the job. Adding a small fee for an estimate actually protects the prospective customer, as it indicates that the contractor is putting in the effort needed to give them a clear idea of what their project will actually cost.
What You Can Expect from Scott
Scott Build has built its reputation as the Master Builder by offering comprehensive, accurate estimates for the projects we bid on. Other builders tell you what it will cost to start your project. We tell you what it will cost to finish it, including an estimate of what your project will cost over its lifetime. We offer a guaranteed maximum price on most projects. It’s our promise to you that what we quote you is what you’ll pay. You can learn more about our bidding process on our website. Ready to get an accurate idea of what your commercial building project will cost? Contact the Scott Build team today.