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Why the Cheapest Contractor Isn’t Always the Best Choice for the Job

You’ve heard that old adage, right, that you can’t have everything, but you can have two of these three things: you can get it done cheap, you can get it done fast, or you can get it done right?

While absolutes are rarely the rule, there is truth to the notion that hiring the cheapest contractor isn’t always the best choice. Sure, it might be easier on the bottom line; but hiring a contractor only because they underbid everyone else can also lead to bigger problems down the road.

A “typical” general contractor will usually get paid a percentage of the overall cost of a project. HomeAdvisor estimates this percentage at 10-20% of the total construction project cost, also known in the industry as “cost plus.”If you work with a contractor who is also a designer, that cost will vary (and there are very good reasons why). But, generally speaking, you can expect to pay a contractor a percentage of what you spend to do the actual work. So, a huge project like remodeling an entire house will cost more--and a contractor will be paid more--than a smaller project, like remodeling a master bath only.

These rates can also vary depending what area of the county you live in, if your project is commercial vs. residential, and other considerations that might be unique to your project. The contractor has to include expenses like insurance, overhead, taxes, and contractors fees in the estimate in order to charge enough to make a profit.

Like any other business, a contractor has to make a profit in order to stay in business. When a contractor lowers rates considerably to get a job, the difference has to be made up somewhere. Each contractor will decide if they take home less as profit or if they save money in other ways, such as hiring inexperienced subcontractors or using materials that don’t wear as well or last as long as other, more expensive materials. Some might skimp on or skip insurance altogether. Some might book too many projects and not have the capacity to give any of them their full attention.

The truth is, there are countless reasons you should consider more than just price when you choose a contractor for your project. Think about how much money you might save in the long run if you are required to make fewer repairs because of subpar workmanship. Think of how delays can impact your everyday routine and the wellbeing of your family.

We’re not saying that a contractor who comes in at the lowest bid cannot be the best contractor for the job; but we do want our clients and the people who ask us for bids to understand why we’re not always the lowest bid.

Like any other business, when we make a profit we reinvest in the business. We hire staff. We hire more subcontractors and pay them a living wage for their work. And, because we can make a living doing what we love, we are enthusiastic and passionate about our project--which means we’re truly invested in your home or business and making it absolutely perfect for you.

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