When Is The Best Time To Bid?

“Build the Relationship”

Planning your construction timeframe out can save you $! There are a lot of factors one needs to consider regarding when to get a price quote from a contractor. Cost efficiency “101” certainly starts with seasons of the year for those states that have drastic seasonal changes. If you have an interior-only project or if the interior part of your project is going to last for a few months, the best time of the year for inside work is during the cold months. If you are looking at concrete foundation work, spring is best to get the contractor started. In general, August and September seem to be the worst time to get a contractor. They are often at their busiest this time of the year. Plus, all the other projects that procrastinated during the year are also looking for contractors at this time. Prices definitely go up during the Fall, unless, as I mentioned, you have an interior project they can work on through the cold.

I often talk about construction bids or pricing in a cyclical way. I break it down in three categories. In other words, the best timing really depends on the state of the economy.

  1. Bid out to multiple contractors. One should do this when times are difficult and work is sparse. Contractors are more aggressive when work is hard to come by. This is the best time to bid them out against one another. Don’t feel bad about doing this. It’s strictly business and everyone knows that. The losing contractors will actually feel good about it, because they were included and had the opportunity. I assure you, contractors do not like it when they are left completely out when times are tough.
  2. Negotiate with a quality contractor. You should pick a contractor and do your best to work with them on costs when times are a plenty. Bidding one against the other does not work during these times. Keep in mind when negotiating, you have to be willing to give something up . . . first. I like to have a couple wish list items in the plans so I can easily do this. Shhhh . . . Don’t go telling the contractors this little trick!
  3. When the times are between the two extremes, you have both options at your disposal. If you can get three contractors to agree to bid the project, then bidding is the best. If quality or comfort level is a high priority, then negotiate. If you have a second contractor that you trust, but he simply doesn’t have time to do your project, see if he would take a look at the negotiated price and give you a little guidance on how to move forward.

Most importantly . . . build the relationship! Don’t start off a project when trust is in question. Costs will even flow as construction happens. Good contractors will do little extras for nothing if your relationship is strong. Ask him what he expects from you during construction. This will then give you the opportunity to relay to him what you expect. Keep it to the basics though. One of my two expectations is always a clean construction site. Cleanliness is directly related to quality. It’s an indirect way of covering a lot of issues that occur during construction.