Remodel Day 11-18: Receiving Estimates
It took about a week for all 4 contractors to get estimates back to me. Only one took longer than that, but by the time it came through, I had already made up my mind.
The first contractor submitted an estimate of ~$26k
The second contractor submitted an estimate of ~$40k
The third contractor submitted an estimate of ~$36K
Because the fourth contractor was so condescending I didn’t even consider his estimate. I recognized this was someone who was going to be in my house. Who I would be interacting with regularly. Who was going to get my hard earned money! Right, wrong, or indifferent with his approach, if he didn’t respect me, I couldn’t see how we could productively work together.
It was a little surprising to me the large variance in price, but it made sense when I thought about the conversations I had had with each contractor:
Contractor #1 was a single business handy man and knew how and where to cut corners to get the job done as efficiently as possible, and he told me as much.
Contractor #2 had built in tons of contingencies. When I was going over the space with him he was very transparent about what could go wrong and how plans likely would change once walls and ceilings were opened up, which was true, but scared me nonetheless. I had a specific budget in mind and the way he was talking made it sound like my budget could double in the blink of an eye! And I didn’t get the sense he was going to warn me while it was happening.
Contractor #3 had a conversation with me about the quality of craftsmanship that was apparent in the rest of the house and trying to continue that in the new space I was creating. When I asked about the concerns other contractors had brought up, he agreed they were possible but there was no way of knowing until it happened. Because he talked through his thought process as he assessed the basement, I got the sense this transparency would continue throughout the project.
Making the Decision
Clearly, budget was a major deciding factor, but this was also a huge project and an addition to my home. So I also considered who I got along with the best, who seemed to share my philosophy on how the project was meant to blend with the rest of the home, and not just be a “new addition”.
As these were my most important criteria, it’s probably not surprising that I went with Contractor #3.