Syllabus / Bidding 101

How to get sensible bids from your contractors


One of the biggest issues homeowners face when they start a remodel is getting sensible bids from contractors.

The bids often lack any structure and contain even less detail. And the gap between what the homeowner thinks they are getting and what the contractor is actually offering, can be huge.  

But it doesn't have to be this way.

Follow this advice to help standardize the bids you receive so they are easy to compare.

  1. List out the areas of your house you are intending to remodel (i.e. kitchen, bathroom). If you have a big house get specific (i.e. 1st floor bedroom)
  2. Starting with a verb (i.e. remove, install, fabricate etc.) list every task you want done. 
  3. List every product you want removed / installed and how many (i.e. 3 windows, 4 doors). Add photos, magazine clippings, links to products online wherever possible.
  4. Ask the general contractor to break out their direct costs (all labor and material), mandatory insurances (general liability and workers' compensation), project management resources, overhead and profit.

Adding a floor plan is always helpful. Ask your contractor to specify what is and what is not included, are you buying your new faucet or are they?

You are aiming to get back something that looks like these:



This post is intended for informational purposes only and is general in nature as it does not take into account your personal renovation situation. You should really consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a licensed architect, general contractor or financial / legal adviser.