It’s important to be thorough as possible when requesting bids. Based on our experience, we know that the whole process go best when owners take the time to write a formal Request for Proposal (RFP). And it’s just as beneficial to have a complete set of blueprints to accompany your RFP!
This extra effort assures that all bidders base their submissions and costs on the same set of expectations – something that helps just as much in the bid evaluation phase, as it will when it comes to managing and enforcing your project’s deliverables.
Even if you prefer a more informal process, one completed in collaboration with your existing contractor, it’s highly recommended that you not begin work without complete construction drawings and a document that summarizes all deliverables as well as everyone’s responsibilities.
Your project documentation should contain specific expense headings for: cost of materials, labour costs, and full detail on other expenses such as permit filing costs, inspection reports, insurance, as well as costs for the work being done by third parties. Make sure the agreed start/end dates are clearly identified, along with detail on any performance incentives or penalties.
Like the majority of qualified contractors, RGI looks for payment terms that specify a 10% down payment, followed by three payments of 25% at regular intervals, with the final 15% being payable at the conclusion of the job. If someone asks you for half upfront, this is definitely a sign of trouble!
Always be wary of low-ball offers – which suggest a contractor in financial trouble or one not experienced enough to think through and anticipate the work your project entails. Always try to determine whether a higher cost is justified. It often reflects a better and more responsible approach to your work!
In the end it gets down to what you can afford and how comfortable you are in the communication between you and your contractor!