Cost to Build a Home – How to Understand a Contractor’s Quote
Most of us can’t wait to find out what our project will cost. I bet that’s top on your mind if you’re thinking of remodeling or building a home.
Once we have our project defined, and plans made, it’s time to contact builders and get quotes. Usually this means calling some General Contractors (GC) to have them put together a bid or quote. But, what is the GC actually doing and what’s included in the quote?
The General Contractor’s First Priority
The first thing to remember is that the GC is hoping to win your business. He can do that by making a good first impression, having excellent referrals to give you, and/or providing you a quote that beats all others.
For some builders, their tool of choice when it comes to gaining your business is to quote as low as they feel they can. But, they can’t shoot themselves in the foot. Quoting low means they have to build in wiggle room to up the quote during construction depending upon how the process goes.
Other builders will try to quote the top end price and let you know it could come in under. Everyone has his or her own style of quoting and doing business and they may or may not let you in on their process.
As simple as getting a quote can seem on the surface, it can really be quite complex. Confusing to you as the consumer, and complicated and tricky for the builder.
What You Need to Know About the Contractor’s Quote
Despite the complexity and flexibility of a contractor’s quote, we can break it down to its basic components and processes. Here’s what goes into a GCs quote:
The Builder needs a set of plans. He or she will either use the blueprints you provide or create them based upon your input.
From the plans/blueprints, the GC/builder will create an extensive materials list, price it out and then add a mark-up of an average of 20-40%
Labor costs are figured based upon the GCs experience and bids received either from subcontractors they know or random bids generated.
To account for fluctuations in materials and labor costs, the GC will either build in a contingency factor in the quote or explain the flexible nature of his quote.
Finally, they will build in their profit margin and mark-up the quote by an average of 12-30% depending on location, complexity of the job, and their own business practices.
Understanding this process will make it easier for you to discuss any quotes you get logically with your builder. A good builder will want you to know what’s involved in the quote and where the potential for changes might lie.
Always Get Competitive Quotes
I recommend that you get a minimum of three bids for your project. The price you get is not the only thing you’ll evaluate. Armed with these quotes and the information gained during your communications with them, you can now formulate opinions about doing business with them. It will become clear to you that it’s not just about choosing the lowest bid.
Keep reading and learning. The more you know about the bidding and quoting process, the better you’ll be at choosing the right builder for you.