If you have a construction project you need done, you may be wondering how to choose a contractor. You may have already gotten a few estimates but are having trouble making a choice.
You should know that not all estimates are created equal. Understanding the different types of estimates could help you make your decision.
Different types of estimates
You should expect to receive a reasonably accurate estimate from each contractor, but they may not all be the same. Below are some of the estimates you may receive:
- A preliminary estimate will most likely be the weakest you will receive. It provides only a general estimate based on limited observations.
- An estimate based on square footage provides more accuracy since it is based on standards in the construction industry. It may not provide the level of detail you need in order to make a choice since it is generally the “one-size-fits-all” kind of estimate.
- The next level of estimates involves breaking the project down into its components and giving cost estimates for each of them. Called an assembly estimate, this gives more detail than the two above.
- You will get the most accuracy and detail from a final estimate, but it takes time to compile. You may not receive this particular type of estimate until you make some commitment to a contractor.
One thing you can generally rely on is that a construction contractor will do the best it can to provide you with as accurate an estimate as possible since it would make them look incompetent to give you something that will vary too widely in either direction. Whether you receive a more detailed estimate or just a ballpark figure could also tell you something about the level of seriousness you are receiving from a particular contractor, which could also help you in making your decision.
What happens after you make a choice?
You do not have to simply sign the contract that the contractor provides you. After a thorough review of the document, you may find that you want to negotiate some of the provisions. You have the right to protect yourself and your interests, and one way to increase the odds of doing so is to consult with an attorney experienced North Carolina construction law.