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etiquette with contractors bids?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by slayer, Apr 19, 2013.

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  1. slayer

    slayer Well-Known Member

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    We are in the process of having a new home framed in and are dealing with local contractors. We are in somewhat unfamiliar territory here, having only built one other new home in our lives, and then it was dealing with only one builder and bid. we received one bid that was substantially higher than the rest. They were also by far the most thorough and spent a lot more time coming out and talking to us etc. When all of the bids were in we politely turned them down via email, thanking them and all. I immediately received a scathing email back from the contractors wife and business partner for not calling or talking to them face to face on this.She also had some insulting things to say about taking "lowball" bids and such. What is the proper way to inform a contractor that you are not hiring them? I thought that any way that you can get the info to them [text, email, mail] should work. this type of thinking apparently has p.o.ed at least one local builder. Any thoughts? Bill
     
  2. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    I don't think you did anything wrong. You did more than I would have done. I wouldn't have even emailed em that they didn't get the job.

    I've got friends in the building industry. It has been a tough 5 or so years for em, which has lead to a lot of frustration for the people left in the business. The woman was just poed about losing another job, and lashed out. Don't take it personally. Sounds like she was more pi__ed at her competitors who she feels are working too cheap, than you.
     
  3. Tailbuster

    Tailbuster TS Member

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    Wow. I should think that a polite note via email was more than adequate. Obviously the wife was venting and in my opinion out of line. She may truly feel rightly or wrongly what she said is true but it still reflects poorly on their company when all is said and done. The other thing you might wonder is what would happen if you had to deal with her over a future problem?
     
  4. SeldomShoots

    SeldomShoots Active Member

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    Sounds like the wife could be part of the problem why the one contractor isn't getting as much business, even if he was higher. Sometimes its worth it to pay a little more to get what you want. But her attitude isn't what you would want.

    Let her grow some thicker skin, using her tongue for a skin graft sounds like it would be a good start.
     
  5. shannon391

    shannon391 Active Member

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    Contractors know if they don't hear back from you, someone else was awarded the job.


    This can save you an uncomfortable conversation: "Good morning, Mr. Shanty builder! You know that bid you spent so much time, money and energy preparing for me? Well.... we have decided to go with someone else we feel is better qualified and much less expensive...have a nice day.

    However, that's life in the world of a contractor, she should have thanked you for the call and wished you well on your project.
     
  6. Stl Flyn

    Stl Flyn Well-Known Member

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    One thing it did, was it eliminated any bids in the future of not only you, but anyone local that hears these comments. I agree with Shannon's last sentence.

    When dealing with all of the subs. by being the General Contractor yourself, one thing you have to make clear from the start is you will be checking their work on a daily routine. No matter how much experience they say they have, and they don't make mistakes. Make it clear that anything that is not to plan, will be corrected at their expense no matter the cost. Get it in writing. Every change must be in writing, and signed. There is a reason why Rough Framers are a dime a dozen. Accuracy is not at a premium. All the other subs. behind them can correct their inaccuracies to a point.

    Lastly, do not hire people you know, or are related to friends. Do your homework by getting references, prior to choosing bids. This must be looked at as a business venture, otherwise recourse will have to many consequences. Jon
     
  7. slayer

    slayer Well-Known Member

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    Once again a lot of valuable info from this site. Thanks to all posters. Bill [mi]
     
  8. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    In bidding , look at other things besides $$$. How long have they been in business--what where their most recent projects. Do alot of financial searches. Call the local suppliers--see how current they are.

    By the way think about getting a modular vs a stick built---the quality is great.

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  9. letts

    letts TS Member

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    You are lucky, she would have been a problem when time to settle up the bill.

    Modular is cheap because they are. Can not beat a good stick built. I was in the building trade and as a contractor for 40 years and will stand by my opinion.
    Always look for referances and on time delivery of product. Many builders will start tommorow but when will they be complete is not so obvious.
    Get a firm date on completion of rough in so that you can schedule the next trade and keep your project moving.

    Letts
     
  10. Sonnylee

    Sonnylee TS Member

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    Your only obligation is to accept the bid from the contractor. If the contractor requests the results of your bidding then you can forward to him your decision.
    I'm a contractor for almost 25 years now, dealing mostly with residential construction and 95% of the time when I don't hear from a potential customer, it means the job was either awarded to others or postponed.
    This is part of the bidding we go thru as a contractor.
    As for the builders wife who responded to you negatively, she is just not getting enough....
    You know what a mean...
     
  11. need to shoot more

    need to shoot more Active Member

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    BID ...beat the idiots deal usally you can throw out the high and the low and work with the middle of the pack. A face to face is nice before you ditch that person so there is one last chance to change the customer mind.
     
  12. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    I didn't read but the opening post.

    I will get 4 or more bids when its a costly job. For example when we put a stone wall around the cemetery 1000 square feet of wall I think I talked to 5 or 6 stone people. 4 showed up. I didn't take the high or the low. I took the one that impressed me with the way he acted and talked. He also had a portfolio that was lets say not organized. But is pics of past work was good. He got the job. The others I did call and say thinks for their time. We didn't have computers at that time.

    As for that lady chewing you a new one. I will say she has a problem and don't worry about it. You did fine.
     
  13. blade819

    blade819 Well-Known Member

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    I would never do business with the Contractor who's wife called you. To ensure a building that is to the drawings and specs. I would a) make sure the winning Contractor has a license and b)is fully insured and/or bonded. If it's a big job you can require a "payment/performance" bond. before award make sure you understand their bid and if it's what you specified. Good luck.

    blade819
     
  14. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    I question how you compared bids? Were all the designs/bids "apples to apples"?

    Did each contractor list all the items included in their bid? What was the bid criteria? 2x6 or 2x4, type and quality of all the materials, electrical, HVAC systems, site work, type of siding. etc, etc,. One contractor may include premium materials and the others...not so much. do you know the difference?

    Most owners don't know enough about quality building materials and quality control or good design to be their own general contractor. And then there's the permitting , EPA, Zoning, and other items that must be handled properly. When the owner struggles through all this stuff he can cause delays and lost of money to the contractor.

    You just wasted a lot of their time. Even estimates cost money. On some projects an estimate alone can cost $4,000 to $5,000 in labor and printing. It's part of the risk of being in business, but few people appreciate the time and effort good contractors go through to cover the bases often on a crappy set of plans.

    The contractor's wife made a bad decision. A professional company would never say those things....at least to you face.
     
  15. slowdp

    slowdp TS Member

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    Any bidding process is about the same - housing or industrial. We try to go out to sell the job. We also spend time getting more info about what they want done. Quite often you can bid one thing and the person will buy something else. We try to find out what the customer wants done.

    The bid can be balanced based on a complete item with expensive parts at a high price or it can be based on the cheapest stuff on the market.

    We never get defensive or antagonistic but try to find out why we did not get the bid and offer a chance to work with the customer.

    This sounds like a problem builder who may not have much to do.

    His wife may be trying to get him enough business to keep him out of the bottle and off the fishing hole.

    Tell him to kiss off. He has lost any future respect and you will tell your friends not to contact him in the future.
     
  16. 391 shooter

    391 shooter Well-Known Member

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    Anything over three reputible bids (do your homework first) is wasting way to many peoples time, period.

    Make sure apples to apples on spec.
     
  17. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    The problem with informing the unsuccessful contractors is they generally want to know about the winning bid and specifically the dollar amounts. This is where you can get into ethical and sometimes legal trouble. Don't provide that information.

    Bootom line - its your project and you can hire the contactor that you feel will do the best job at the best price (value). Don't feel bad for the outfits that didn't make the cut - you gave them a fair chance by letting them bid in the first place.
     
  18. W.P.T.

    W.P.T. TS Member

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    If and when I am going to do a project that I myself don't want to or can't do I type up a spec sheet and make copies of same to give to anyone who I call to give me a bid ... I always ask if the price they gave me is their best price because if another bidder beats it like for like, I won't be calling them back ... I also check them out and make sure they are licensed, if it is current, how long they have been in business and the number of complaints they have had and if they were handled to everyone satisfaction ... I ask for references and pictures if they have them available ... I am dealing with a contractor now again for some home improvements, this will be the third job he will be doing for me so obviously I have been satisfied with him and the way he does business ...


    I shop for cars the same way, ask them for and if thats the best price because if I beat it I will buy someplace else and I do just that ... When they call it gives me GREAT pleasure to tell them I bought a car someplace else ... Then they go into the, well you should of called me and I would of beat their price BS, I just tell them its too late the new car is in the garage ...

    WPT ... (YAC) ...
     
  19. shannon391

    shannon391 Active Member

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    A seasoned contractor also learns tactics to eliminate bid collectors, I talk to potential clients for quite some time before I agree to give them a bid, time is money.

    Some will tell up front the have had several bids and a few more are coming out, I say I'm booked up for the season!
     
  20. BIGDON

    BIGDON Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget the Insurance - Liability and Workers Compensation. You need current certificates for every contractor on the job site. If not you could be in big trouble if someone gets injured on the job. If you are acting as the General Cont. you are ultimately responsible for everyone on the site. It can get fuzzy when a sub hires another sub who hires another sub.

    Good Luck.

    Modulars are not all bad. They are stick built houses built in a factory to BOCA and local codes. Quality will speak for it self.

    Don
     
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etiquette for awarding bids