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Why you should NOT get 3 quotes from contractors before starting a home improvement project

You’ve heard this advice everywhere. Everyone, and many professional publications concur that you should get 3 quotes. The question is, why? Why not 4 or 5? Why not 1 or 2?

Are you SURE the projects you are comparing are the same?

It’s probably safe to say that the logic of securing 3 quotes has to do with being able to confirm that a contractor is providing a similar price to what other contractors quote for the same job. If that’s the case, how certain can you be that contractors are quoting the same job? Unless you provide very detailed specifications on a very simple project, you will never be able to be certain that both jobs are the same. In fact, you can almost certainly count on the fact that what multiple contractors have quoted is quite different than each other.

Homeowners often assume that all 12 × 16 porches are the same or that all 20 × 30 decks are the same. This assumption is made because they have the same square footage and because each contractor is quoting the same structure. This doesn’t take into account materials, the height of the project, framing style and materials, trim and finish packages, paint or stain, amenities, or even the type of screws. The price of a project will vary dramatically based on just that small list of options listed here. Many homeowners have shown us quotes provided by other contractors asking us to provide a quote for the same thing. In those quotes, there are often so few details and so little information that we have no idea which materials, methods and building techniques or standards they are using.

If you cannot compare apples to apples, what are you going to achieve with getting multiple quotes?

Do you want to spend hours upon hours and many weeks just to get the requisite number of suggested quotes?

The process of securing a quote from a contractor is time-consuming. After you reach out to them, you have to find an agreeable time to meet. After meeting, there will be one or more follow-up meetings. Each of the meetings may take a couple of hours. Do you really want to spend all that time securing additional quotes just because everyone says you should secure 3 quotes?

When you’re speaking with multiple prospective vendors about a complex custom building project, you will discuss different details, choices, options, and methods with each of them. At some point, details will run together and you may not be completely certain about which details, answers or suggestions came from which prospective contractor.

Reviewing online reviews saves time while providing feedback from actual customers

Pre-internet, you had no choice but to meet or speak personally with contractors to find answers to your questions. Nowadays, with online reviews, you can find the answers to those questions online along with feedback from other homeowners who have worked with those contractors. If you do your vetting online before calling contractors, you may call only two or perhaps only one contractor and will have saved yourself a whole bunch of time.

The title of this article suggests that you should not get 3 quotes. That might be the right number of quotes. But, likely, after doing the proper research online, you will meet with the right number of contractors to find the fit in terms of capabilities, experience, expertise, positive testimonials and other important factors.

If you are considering adding an outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 704-6240. We look forward to working with you to design the perfect new outdoor living space for your home.