01:38PM | 03/20/04
Member Since: 03/19/04
2 lifetime posts
I have received 3 estimates on getting my old 11x10 deck replaced with a 16x16 Trex deck. One of the contractors came in with a quote that is $1200 cheaper then anyone else. He's fully licnesed and insured. I am thinking that he is so cheap because it's a smaller shop with very little overhead. I am concerned though that the reason why he is so cheap is because the quality of his work will be not be very good.

The next highest estimate is from a contractor whose built a deck for a relative, and they were very happy with his work. Am I better of going with the cheaper contractor, and spending the extra $$$ and going with the more expensive, but perhaps more well known 2nd contractor?



04:50PM | 03/20/04
Member Since: 01/28/03
694 lifetime posts
I suggest getting at least 3 additional estimates.

If the 6 estimates tend around a central price figure, go with someone whose figures fall within this 'average' price range.

Typically when getting estimates, the highest and lowest bid prices need to be completley discounted. It often means that the high and low bidder really don't have a clue how much the job should really cost.

Safer to choose from a cluster of prices that are nearly identical.

You can then choose contractors based on criteria other than price.


05:00PM | 03/20/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Greetings Sean,

Ahhh, one of those "million dollar questions"....which contractor should I choose...

Of course we can't make your decision for you.

But there isn't necessarily a clear correlation between cost and quality.

I think there is something to a smaller shop with less overhead. Those bigger contractors always seem to have salespeople, estimators, etc. Nothing against keeping the economy going, but I, personally, would rather pay to have real WORK done.

Are they all bidding the exact same work? Pouring the same footings, same materials, etc.?

If it were me, I'd be very tempted by the cheapest contractor--BUT--I would ask for references, then go by and see his work and talk to them. I would ask to see his insurance policy, or call his agent and verify coverage (seriously!). I would ask not only when he can start your job--but if he works on more than one job at a time--or if he'll be dedicated on your job till he's done.

It could just be that he's just a little "hungrier" and will do a fine job. But you need to do some leg-work and be comfortable with your decision. And who knows?--you might just be happiest with the cheapest one. But it is a bit of a crapshoot, isn't it.

By the way--if you happen to live in the Denver area and it turns out you love the results--please let me know--I'm needing a new deck this year :)

Best regards,

-k2 in CO (Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum)


08:11PM | 03/21/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1284 lifetime posts
K2 pretty much sums up my feelings. getting more estimates or bids does nothing but waste the time of the other bidders to do your work for you. It still won't tellyou who is the better value.

To discern that, you have to check references and compare bids.

You seem to be shopping price. If yoiu want good work, you need to forget about price for a minute and compare quality. The only way to do that is to compare references. That takes work but the homeowneers who do it fiond themselves far better served in the long run.

Excellence is its own reward!

plumber Tom

02:11AM | 03/22/04
Member Since: 05/10/03
810 lifetime posts
Just had a big piece of news on this here in Pennsylvania. Never hire a contractor without something in writing. Never choose a contractor without a busuness card. K2 is absolutely correct about insurance. You can ask to see his or her certificate of insurance. That gives you the declarations and amounts he's covered for. In Pennsylvania it costs around 800.00 a year for minimum coverage, which is not much if your working in million dollar homes. Last but not least check the BBS (better business bureau) to see if any complaints were logged against this specific individual. They will tel you free of charge. Good luck with the deck, plumber Tom


02:17AM | 03/22/04
Member Since: 03/19/04
2 lifetime posts
Thanks to everyone for their responses...I will certainly check references. and insurace. I did check the BBB and they did not have any complaints filed.

I think I am going to go with the cheaper guy...he's coming over tonight with an official proposal

K2, unfortunately I live in MA :-)

Thanks again!



01:28AM | 03/28/04
Member Since: 03/27/04
28 lifetime posts
ahh i didn't read through anyones elses comments but what would happen down here for that much less would be a trex-like product. trex is a name brand solid. the cheap stuff is hollow and bows up.
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