getting quotes

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Posted by: from Caledon
6/23/2011 at 3:17:11 PM

My wife and I have quite a bit we want done to our house. Bathroom, floors, kitchen, lights, paint, trim...

To start off, our ensuite bathroom needs a full gutt. It's 12 x 12 and has a built in walkin closet that takes up about 4x 6 space. Bathroom is a bit tight, but with proper planning, should be fine. We want to upgrade to a double vanity, glass shower, replace the tub, lights, exhaust fan(there isn't one right now). Pretty much everything.

The master bedroom is carpeted. We want to remove the carpet and put hardwood floors down...and continue throughout the other 3 bedrooms upstairs.

The stair case going down to the main floor is ok, but with new floors, we will want something done to the staircase...either repainting, or changing from wood to iron...not sure.

The main floor also needs new hardwood floors.

We also want to replace our kitchen counter top and redo the backsplash.

We also have alot of the big inneficient pot lights. We thought about changing to the smaller ones...if thats possible.

And lastly we need the entire house repainted.

So all in all, there's alot that needs to be done.

The big question is this how does one go about getting quotes? How do we know if contractors are being fair with their quotes here's an example.

We got a quote for our bathroom. We were told that we could get quotes 2 ways, one was hourly at $35.00/hour and the other was a flat quote. We chose the flat quote. It was $19,000.00+ tax. This included all the basic material like lumbar, drywall, cement, grout, pot lights and exhaust fan, etc. This did not include the vanity, the glass shower (to be measured, quoted and installed by separate company), tiles, toilet and tub We figure these items will cost us in the $5,000.00-$10,000.00. So the combined amounts would be around $25,000.00- $29,000.00.

So then I asked a question. How long would the job take. He works alone for the most part so he said 4 weeks. He works 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. So 40 hours a week. One month =4.3 weeks so 4.3 x 40 hours per week=172. So 172 total hours lets say 180 hours.

180 hours x $35.00 per hour = $6,300. What a big difference between $6,300 and $19,000.

Anyone care to help me understand? Needless to say, my wife are still looking for a quality, fair, prompt and reliable contractor

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Date/Time6/24/2011 at 1:15:00 AM

The thing with a flat rate is that one has to put a higher mark up so not to lose money, so sometimes it is better to go for an hourly rate if you are not sure what the job is going to cost in the end.

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Dave in Oshawa
Date/Time6/24/2011 at 11:27:09 AM

The two different typical renovation contracts are: Time and materials, or fixed price. I have to disagree with Richard in that it's probably in your best interest as the homeowner to go with a fixed price contract. That way you know where you stand at the end of the day. If the contractor is savvy, he will negotiate any changes with you and add them to the contract as Change Orders; each one with its own separate negotiated price. The trouble with time and materials is it leaves you wondering where you're at, and always questioning the contractor's speed. Generally speaking, this will lead to anxiety on your part and poor relations with your contractor. You will always be second-guessing if you're paying too much or if he's taking too much time to complete the job (especially when you've got a lot of work to do).

Here's my tip Bob you and your wife should plan out as much as you can (and it sounds like you're on your way anyway). Itemize by room or area what you want to do and if you can, identify what types of materials you want. For example, do you want a granite countertop, frameless glass shower enclosure, infloor heating, type of hardwood, fixtures, etc. The more research you do up front and hand to each potential contractor, the more accurate quotes for comparison you will get back. Get a minimum of 3 quotes and make sure everyone is quoting based on the exact same information, or you will never get a decent answer. Ask for references and check them. Find out if they are members of any professional association or have any designation like Renomark . Ask what kind of warranty they offer (and don't forget to ask the references about response time to issues).

You can't compare Home Depot materials costs versus your quote. It isn't fair to the contractor and it's unrealistic. Home Depot prices are meant for you to do the work yourself. If you don't want to or aren't able to, then it's nothing more than a starting point to look at when you are doing your research on materials and level of finish. Your contractor has to put food on the table, pay his mortgage, send his kids to hockey, keep office lights on, put gas in his tank, etc.

Hope this helps. Good luck with everything!

~ Dave

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Bob in Caledon
Date/Time6/24/2011 at 12:33:02 PM

Thanks for the responses. You have a valid point Dave in that my wife and I need to go "shopping" and pick out the items we want...we still don't know that stuff yet.

For the most part, I wanted an idea of how to approach this...I've never had a reno like this done before so I lack experience with it. I know that I don't want to let the contractor chose the items for the vanity, toilet and it makes sense for us to know what we want first.

What should a quote consist of? Labour and some materials? I think a check list on this site would be a good idea...something that shows people like me what is taken care of by the contractor and what items the home owner needs to light switches...are they typically part of the contractors quote? What about pot lights and an exhaust fan...I would imagine that things like lumbar, wires, plumbing, mud, grout, etc, are part of the quote.

Either way, my wife and I need to chose the items we the meantime, I'll need to contact a few contractors to get the quotes started.

We live close to Toronto and Woodbridge. Any recommendations on a good store to go to for the vanity, tub, glass shower, toilet and tiles?

Thanks again.

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Date/Time7/4/2011 at 6:28:35 PM

HI Bob

Dave is quite correct in his advice. Once you have finalized your project and type of materials you would like (in particular finishing) you can post your project here.

Good luck with your project.


Kingsway Construction Inc

Glenn Rosborough

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Date/Time7/21/2011 at 3:00:56 PM

Hi Bob- these fellas are all correct- know what you want first, then get contractors to quote it. As for contractor choice- my belief has always been that if you do not feel 110% comfortable with a contractor, find someone else. I have been in renovations for 30 years & on evrey call I do I get to know the client first, they get to know me, then we discuss business. Have your lists ready for the contractor- job list as well as a list of any concerns you may have; these could be timelines, materials, sub-contractors, even what time they start in the morning. Do not think any question or concern you may have is trivial- this is YOUR space they will be invading for a while. Don't accept passive answers to your questions- sloid answers can lead to solid results. References are not only important, but vital. Call the references, but better yet, ask if you can come see the contractors work. I have been doing this for years- if its a kitchen I'm quoting, they can go & see kitchen installs I have done, and talk to the clients. Any concerns about the contractor can often be put to rest by former clients appraisal of the contractor. It is also very important to have all the contractors pricing the same scope of work. Good luck to you.

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