Contractor Pricing of your House Design

Contractor Pricing of your House Design

You never can tell what contractors may decide to do or not do.  Recently, Rand Soellner prepared his typical, detailed set of documents for clients in a small, rural location in another state.  After discussing the project with about 16 contractors, they all indicated their interest in bidding on the job.

The clients and Soellner pared the list of possible bidders down to 8, then the owners selected the final 4 to actually bid on the project.  Soellner distributed his documents to the various bidders and gave them a month to bid the job, and made himself available to answer questions.  About 3 weeks into the bidding, Soellner noted that the contractors were not asking questions, which was not unusual, as his documents are very detailed and answer just about any question someone building the project might have.  Even so, Soellner contacted each of the bidders and asked if they had any questions and is everything going okay.  None of them seemed to have any questions.

Come bid day, none of the contractors submitted a bid.  This was a first for Soellner.  How odd.  After investigating, it appeared that the bidders from this small, rural area of the project felt challenged by such a comprehensive set of documents.  After a few more weeks, 2 ended up submitting proposals.  Soellner was not particularly happy with the bids received, as some aspects of one of them appeared to reference another project or was otherwise somewhat irregular.

So, after due consideration, Soellner decided to rebid the project immediately, requesting a bid from a contractor familiar to Soellner that was licensed in Soellner’s home state and the state of the project.  This contractor reported no concerns whatsoever with Soellner’s detailed documents, and actually thanked him for indicating the project requirements so comprehensively.  The project owners were a bit concerned as to what level of supervision this contractor would have for the project and what additional price it would cost to have this contractor come from another state.

After a few weeks of pricing, the new contractor submitted his proposal.  It was less than the other 2 previous proposals, and included substantial on-site supervision and was very responsive to the project design.  The new contractor’s price also included several significant options within his basic proposal, providing an excellent value.  Actual bid was approximately $148 per HSF (Heated Square Foot) and an unbelievable $99 per GSF (Gross Square Foot).  On a custom Rand Soellner Architect design!

Soellner cannot always pull a rabbit out of his hat like this, but will endeavor to help you realize your objectives.  What Soellner has learned from this experience is that when bidding projects in small, rural, remote locations, it may be better to Not just confine the bidding to small, local contractors.  Perhaps a better approach is to have half of the bidders local and the other half from larger areas farther from the project site, with contractors more experienced with detailed project documents and owners who desire higher quality for a value price.

The price you receive from your bidders will primarily be determined from 2 things:
1.) the size, features and materials you have requested and approved your architect to include in the design, and
2.) the experience, expertise and economic situation of the bidders pricing your project and the price for which they decide build your project.
It is important for owners to accept responsibility for their desires and decisions and the economic impact associated with those wishes.  Sometimes their local marketplace may not have the abilities and interest levels required to achieve their goals.  This may require involvement of professional builders  from a greater distance.  Rand Soellner is prepared to help.

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