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Itemized bid what should be included?

madmadscientist's picture

Hello All,


I just received my first bid in the mail for the complete foundation-slab re-do.  This is an estimate-bid that I have said that I will pay for.  Having said that I want the contractors view of what should be included in the bid-I am paying for it after all and if I am paying for it I dont' want something that was just tossed toghether.


The bid I received described what was proposed being done in 10 line items.  Several of them are not what I asked for but thats probably a mis-communication with the contractor and one big one is just wrong-he specs a 2-story foundation on a house that is 3-stories...


He doesn't break out the price for each line item which was sorta what I was expecting because he knows we have to phase the rehab because we don't have that kind of money lying around. And he knows that I told him that we would do the plumbing and the framing re-inforcement and the demo of the sheetrock walls on the lower floor.  With all that stuff included he comes up with an overall price of...$126,000 not including permit fees and roughly $2000 in engineering fees and he is going to charge me time and material +%20 to level the house and do any additional framing not covered in the line items.


Is it unreasonable of me to want to see the bid broken down like that?  I feel like the bid is a little light on detail also-this isn't the sales contract I understand but I want to know what he's doing for that kind of money in more detail. 


 


Daniel Neuman


Oakland CA


Crazy Home Owner

The MadMadScientist

Restoring our second Victorian home this time in Alamdea CA.  Check out the blog http://www.chezneumansky.blogspot.com/ 

Oakland CA 

Crazy Homeowner-Victorian Restorer

(post #76835, reply #1 of 12)

Sounds like you might want to write up some specs for what you think the job should entail.  If you don't know what it should include, talk to a contractor or 2 before writing them up - which it sounds like you have the input form at least 1 guy already.   Once you have some specs, assuming you will get 2 or 3 bids, you will be more likely to get apples to apples prices.


I routinely get bids for various aspects of the new construction houses I build and no sub prices out each line item - so don't expect that.   OTOH, if you have to go with a phased approach, it would seem that you will need a separate price on each major phase of the project, so maybe your specs need to be broken into the phases of the job.

Matt

(post #76835, reply #2 of 12)

"Is it unreasonable of me to want to see the bid broken down like that? "


 


Not if you told him up front you want it all broken down piece by piece.


I simply would have told Sorry, ya I don't bid or work like that.


Jeff


    Buck Construction


 Artistry In Carpentry


     Pittsburgh Pa

    Buck Construction

 Artistry In Carpentry

     Pittsburgh Pa

(post #76835, reply #4 of 12)

Hello Jeff,


Well I'm not talking about breaking it out like, '26 2by6 studs at $9.08 per blah blah blah'.  But we did talk about doing it in phases and I was at least expecting the breakout by logical phase.  Maybe something like,


1. Shoring and lifting the house =


2. Demo of existing foundation and slab/rat proofing =


3. Construction of the new foundation walls =


4. Construction of the new slab =


I'm really not trying to be argumentative with you but $126,000 is a lot of money and I do want to know where its going.  Well that and we would be paying the guy in installments as those major phases are done and it would be good to know what those are going to be beforehand.


Assuming this first quote is not totally off the deep end and it does appear to be the going rate around here for the scope of the work well...we are screwed because we just don't have that much money lying around...and I'll have to figure out a way to get it done in a way I can afford.


 


Daniel Neuman


Oakland CA


Crazy Home Owner

The MadMadScientist

Restoring our second Victorian home this time in Alamdea CA.  Check out the blog http://www.chezneumansky.blogspot.com/ 

Oakland CA 

Crazy Homeowner-Victorian Restorer

(post #76835, reply #6 of 12)

even as a "no breakdown" kinda guy ...


I'd have no problem breaking things down like that last list.


 


it'd prettty much be an extension of the pay schedule.


I would however, give you 2 prices. One ... complete job, mostly broken down as U listed/wished ... AND ...


a list of prices ... "per" ... for each "section".


and that second price ... or list of prices ... would certainly add up to be more than the "complete job" price.  Bulk pricing, so to speak ... as you can usually save time/money/hassle when you can plan and set up to do her all at once ... in an orderly fashion.


Setting up to do most anything twice ... takes more time. And ... the bigger job means  ... or should mean ... better cash flow ... so I'll sweeten the pot sometimes to close a bigger deal.


more work for me ... less over all money for the client ... win/win.


in theory!


 


Jeff


how much digging needs done? big machines just make it go faster/easier ... the old house was probably dug by hand originally ... might save some digging and hauling yourself.


ask the guy what he needs "before" the concrete ... digging, forming, VB and gravel ... all lotsa work ... bet U could do all the grunt work yourself and save the fancy stuff for him.


and if it was my job ... U wouldn't get "full credit" for the work done ... but you'd get some sorta price break.


    Buck Construction


 Artistry In Carpentry


     Pittsburgh Pa

    Buck Construction

 Artistry In Carpentry

     Pittsburgh Pa

(post #76835, reply #7 of 12)

how much digging needs done? big machines just make it go faster/easier ... the old house was probably dug by hand originally ... might save some digging and hauling yourself.ask the guy what he needs "before" the concrete ... digging, forming, VB and gravel ... all lotsa work ... bet U could do all the grunt work yourself and save the fancy stuff for him.and if it was my job ... U wouldn't get "full credit" for the work done ... but you'd get some sorta price break.


I might have to go this way a bit and unfortunately act as my own GC for this...not sure what happens to who's liable then.  I know a great demo firm thats fast, clean and reasonably priced that I have a good relationship with.  I already have experience with underslab plumbing.  I don't have a working relationship with a good house mover though. I do know more than most contractors (not strucural engineers) about earthquake retro fitting...I highly doubht that the first contractor I talked to would be willing to work with me like that though.  He seemed like more of a all or nothing type...


Daniel Neuman


Oakland CA


Crazy Home Owner

The MadMadScientist

Restoring our second Victorian home this time in Alamdea CA.  Check out the blog http://www.chezneumansky.blogspot.com/ 

Oakland CA 

Crazy Homeowner-Victorian Restorer

(post #76835, reply #8 of 12)

This ties in a little to the thread on free estimates. The less clear the scope of the work is and the more work that is required to determine the plans and specifications, the less attractive the job is to many contractors. Many, like the guy that gave your first estimate are going to eyeball the work and give a high estimate with a minimum of details. The rationale is that they are covered if a surprise comes up and they haven't spent a lot of time on a long shot. If they get the job, it will be a money maker. Most will either not return your call or not get back with an estimate.


If you are lucky you will find a guy who is willing to listen to you, who will take the time to figure out what parts of the job it makes sense for him to do and on what schedule and what parts of the job should be the responsibility of the homeowner. If he is willing to tinker with the design to improve it, this can give you a better or more economical result. If he does this extra work, he should charge for it, maybe not as much as a design pro, but at least something for what could prove to be a valuable service.


If I were you I would keep looking for this guy.

(post #76835, reply #9 of 12)

>>Assuming this first quote is not totally off the deep end and it does appear to be the going rate around here for the scope of the work well...we are screwed because we just don't have that much money lying around...and I'll have to figure out a way to get it done in a way I can afford.

How do you afford 126K to fix your slab?

Burn the house down.

Seriously.

Then start over w/ a new slab.

(post #76835, reply #3 of 12)

Hey MMS,


I used to have a fair amount of concrete done by an outfit from Contra Costa, maybe Brentwood or nearabouts... Paradigm Concrete, owners name is Alan Bellamy. They did great work and were very reliable. A guy right in your neighborhood is Mark Irons. I could dig up another name or two if you want to look around.


Some guys will break it down in a bid but you are better off developing clear plans and specs and then getting prices, itemized or not, doesn't matter. Once the work starts those clear plans and specs will keep things moving smoothly and help prevent changes and unforeseen costs.

(post #76835, reply #5 of 12)

Hello David,


Brentwood is a bit far away but if you know someone more local to the SF Bay area that would be great.


There appear to be several highly reccomended contractors in my immeditate area who's bread and butter is redoing old brick foundations-those are the type of guys tha I want to use ideally.


Daniel Neuman


Oakland CA


Crazy Home Owner

The MadMadScientist

Restoring our second Victorian home this time in Alamdea CA.  Check out the blog http://www.chezneumansky.blogspot.com/ 

Oakland CA 

Crazy Homeowner-Victorian Restorer

(post #76835, reply #10 of 12)

Is it unreasonable of me to want to see the bid broken down like that? 


It depends on how much you're paying for the estimate.


I charge for estimates (I am the one who started the NO MORE FREE ESTIMATES, DAMMIT! thread here a few years back) and I charge by the hour.


If the potential client is willing to pay for the time it takes me to provide a detailed, item-by-item breakdown--including a full bill of materials and every major act involved in completing the project to the customer's specifications--then that is what I will provide, complete with ACAD floorplans, and everything else needed to make sure the customer and I are talking about the same job.


I also tell him we should be within 10% of the estimate on final billing, unless there are change orders. (Estimates are not 'quotes'; there's a difference.)


This sort of estimate on a small remod job (under $25K) will cost the client up to five hundred dollars; for a major job it will be a thousand or more.


OTOH, if he is willing to pay only a nominal fee for an estimate, he will get a sketch, a one page description of the project, and an elemental breakdown (framing, roofing, P&E, gyprocking, trim) with a dollar figure for each element plus a total. He will also be warned that the estimate total may be as much as 30% under final billing, because I haven't taken the time to itemise all the materials and phases and may have spaced something. The estimate is for my use as well as his, remember.


Of course, it's worth noting that if the client does have me do the job based on a flat-rate, rough estimate, he will wind up paying for the detailed design and spec work anyway..but after we start the project. That work still has to be done. I bill it honestly, as DCA (Design & Cost Analysis) line items; many contractors bury it in lump billings but it is there somewhere, bet on it.


The only things I do not provide with any estimate are dimensions and structural details, unless it is specifically agreed up front that I am being hired only to design and spec the job. This is so that the client cannot take my estimate and drawings and hand them off to another contractor. (If I know up front that this is his intention, that's fine. I will simply make sure I charge him for every billable quarter hour, phone call, e-mail and fax. When I expect to do the work, too--as is usually the case--I cut him some slack.)





Dinosaur


DON'T MISS THE FEST!


 


How now, Mighty Sauron, that thou art not brought
low by this? For thine evil pales before that which
foolish men call Justice....



Edited 3/16/2007 9:11 pm ET by Dinosaur

Dinosaur

How now, Mighty Sauron, that thou art not brought
low by this? For thine evil pales before that which
foolish men call Justice....

(post #76835, reply #11 of 12)

Dan -


There are two ways to look at this.  One way would be to say that the contractor was non-responsive to your request for bid and toss it in the trash.  Another way would be to call him and reiterate how you want the bid structured - and perhaps explain that you need a bid that will work with your "phased" approach to the project.


You might also ask for a meeting to discuss how you would like to have the bid organized and the level of detail you need.  I would bet that the problem is based on poor communication.  If it is, he will probably work with you to give you what you need.  If he won't work with you on this, you probably don't want him anyway. - lol

(post #76835, reply #12 of 12)

Is it unreasonable of me to want to see the bid broken down like that?


In general, I don't think there's anything wrong with asking for dollar amounts attached to a few line items as opposed to just one lump figure.  However, it's hard to say whether what you are specifically asking for is "unreasonable" --  none of us here know exactly how you defined these 10 line items.  (If you're really interested in accurate feedback, maybe you could post those specs here on the board.)


Sometimes my clients want to see a number of line items with attached dollar values, and I have no problem presenting the bid in that format.  However, I tell them (and write it on the bid, too), that the price of each line item is only valid if I do the whole job.  This is simply due to the fact that coming out to a job four or five times (packing and unpacking tools over and over again) is a LOT bigger hassle than just coming out once and staying there until the job is done.  (Keep in mind that it's a lot easier to schedule a continuous project, too.)


If the clients are considering doing a few items themselves, I'm happy to present a few optional line items, of course.  I just need to weigh whatever inherent hassle factors there might be and make sure I add in some extra time (and cost) to cover them.


As someone else has already said, it's important for you to get your specs fully organized and in writing.  That way, you'll have the best chance of getting apples-to-apples bids for comparative purposes.