While I was at a social event last Thursday, someone came up to me and introduced himself.
When he found out I was the CEO of Fair and Square Remodeling he said, “Oh, I am getting my kitchen remodeled. I don’t know three remodelers would you like to have your company give me a price. I want to get three bids.”
Now, I am always curious when people ask several remodelers to give them bids, so I asked a few more questions.
I found out this person was an insurance agent, who was having one of his clients draw up the kitchen design and provide a bid. I knew the company he was working with and they are a reputable company. Now, I was really curios. Why would someone be asking a company they already did business with, to design a kitchen and and bid it out, plus ask for bids from 2 more companies?
His answer was, he did not want to be taken advantage of. He told me that if he would go with his client, unless someone came in several thousands of dollars under his client. That set off all kinds of red flags in my head.
I understand not wanting to be taken advantage of. No one really wants to be taken advantage of. I think for many people they equate getting 3 bids with finding someone they can trust. I truly don’t think anyone wants the cheapest job done they can.
I wonder though, if people who ask for three bids and perhaps the contractors willing to give them are not aware, of the message being sent. When homeowners ask for thee bids, they are sending the unintentional message “I want to do this for the most competitive price possible.” As a homeowner is this exactly what you want?
My experience has taught me, that when homeowners are asking for three bids they are actually asking “Can I trust you?” I think, a better way to convey this message might be, to call several remodelers and ask if they would come out and meet to see if they might be a good fit for your project. This sends a better message, which says “Can we work well together or not?”
The remodeling industry is awash with words; like good quality, fair price, and customer satisfaction. I have never met two homeowners yet, who had the exact idea of what good quality and fair price were. I can promise you, customer satisfaction is not the same for everyone.
Here is a list of questions homeowners should be asking remodelers right away
1) What kind of processes do you have in place to make sure my project goes smooth?
2) What is your policy if there is a mistake or misunderstanding?
3) How do you communicate to us so we know what is going on?
4) What five things is your company best at? (Good answers are – good process, good communication, good training for the subs and staff, and of course great people – not so good answers will be price, quality, customer satisfaction)
5) Can you give me some references or can I see some of the work you have done?
Once you have built some trust with a remodeler and you feel they understand what values you have, then you can start talking about what kind of a project makes sense.