Q:We have had several estimates from different building contractors to build our new home. The price quoted is in excess of our budget, but my wife is happy with one of the quotes because she has seen the quality of his work and has had favorable responses from his past clients. What is a fair estimate?
C. Benjamin, St. Patrick’s
A: I will bet this exchange between husband and wife happens hundreds of times. We are constantly flooded with enquiries from people who do not understand estimates. All too often difficult jobs are described as being no problem or easy. I know what happens before,
during and after each construction project.
First, let us think about this contractor’s business. He needs to have all sorts of equipment and a place of business; a portion of these costs must be allocated to each of those completed project. Some contractor’s offer free estimates; the time spent doing this activity costs money and must be applied to those successful contracts.
My guess is that you want this contractor to be around if you have a problem later on down the road. That is a very reasonable expectation, for this to happen his business needs to be profitable. Yes, it is not sinful to make a profit. The marketplace usually weeds out contractors who charge excessively. To find out what the average price is for your project, you do need to compare quotes and choose the one that is closest to your budget but keep in mind that good quality work comes with a price tag and you want the contractor to be able to to
complete the project on time and within budget. Finally the contractor has to purchase materials and pay for labour.