HELP! Major price differences in remodel quotes

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by intravenous, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. intravenous

    intravenous New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I've gotten very discrepant bids on my bath remodel, so I'm writing for advice.

    This is a small (5 x 8) bathroom; everything will be updated (tub, toilet, sink, floor, window, fan, tile in tub area, wainscoting elsewhere). No structural changes. Probably the only thing semi-unusual is that I'll need a dedicated breaker for the tub (which will have the "hot soak" feature).

    I will provide everything except basic construction materials and will have everything on site and ready to go. This is really a labor-only estimate. I'm in Sacramento.

    I thank you in advance for your help. I know that illegals are driving prices crazy here in CA, but all my bids were from licensed folks, and still a huge discrepancy. What would be a fair labor range? ...I've already tried the online estimators...they're useless.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    price

    So are we. The cost of the job depends on many variables, none of which are being told to us, and even if they were we could not come up with a price without seeing it. It would be a rare plumber who would do a job like this for labor only, (unless it is on an hourly basis and then it is whatever he charges per hour), unless there was a large fudge factor to cover the time lost when you DO NOT have the necessary fitting and things bog down while you go get it. I did a job like this for an out of town friend and had several times when we had to wait while he went 20 miles away to get an item and sometimes he brought back the wrong one.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Providing all the material, you also take on all the future warranty responsibilities, and you also relieve the plumber of responsibility if he has to charge extra to "fix" or "replace missing parts" in your provided items. If you hang around these forums, you are probably aware of the relatively high out-of-box failures on items from blue or orange.

    All that said, it is not unusual to have widely discrepant bids at this point. Some guys will bid high if they think the hassle-factor will be high. Some bid low if they need some work to keep a crew busy right now. Have the bids been based on a close on-site look-see at the job, or are they based on a quick phone call?

    Check some references. Don't put too much money up front. Especially in your case where there is little material for the contract. Here in CA, a contractor can only ask for 10% of the contract, or $1000, whichever is LESS up front. Then of course, he is entitled to progress payments and payment for material deliveries. If a guy wants all his money up front, it may not be legal, and may be a sign that he needs YOUR money to finish the last job he is working on. Very tenuous situation.
  4. intravenous

    intravenous New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I would have thought that contractors would be glad to not have to shop. I'm not talking about construction materials...if I knew what to get I wouldn't need a contractor, would I?

    It doesn't instill a lot of confidence when bids on such a small room vary by 10K. I can see why people say *%@ it, I'll just take the lowest bid. When you don't have anything to go by, when there are no rules of thumb, seems impossible to make a decision based on anything but price. I liked all 3 of the folks who bid on the job.
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    If your bids are divergent by 50% or more....well it can happen , but I might also ask myself if they are all bidding on the same thing. If there is wiggle room in your written or oral specs, then the bids will also be wiggly.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Chicago style

    Do like they did in Chicago for a while. Get numerous bids and throw out the lowest and highest ones. Then average the remaining ones and select the bid closest to that.
  7. kgphoto

    kgphoto New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Tell us the quotes you already got. Then tell us the specs of each quote.
  8. Give the quotes

    Cough up some more information......

    was the lowest one $2500

    was the highest one $9500???

    what all was involved???

    will they accept master card and visa for payment
    or do they expect half in Pesos before the job starts???


    can you catch them before they get over the border???
  9. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Messages:
    1,404
    Location:
    Licensed Grump
    A trick some contractors resort to:

    Omitting certain tasks they may know will need to be done on the estimate, then adding them after starting.

    Say, for example, the joists are in bad shape...
    One guy simply writes out an estimate for the asthetic part of the job, but leaves a disclaimer that any "unknown" variables will be extra.

    I do this to cover myself, but never with the actual intention of adding work later unless something becomes apparent once walls are opened or the inspector requests something.

    Bottom line...ask questions and be sure you know you're working with someone who has a good rep.
  10. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    Get referrals from neighbors, friends, relatives, co-workers, someone you know.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    extras

    An out of state contractor bid on a high rise in this area a long time ago. He bid super low, at cost, planning to make his profit on the extras and change orders. The owner gave him ZERO extras and change orders, and the contractor lost his shirt on that job.
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