Originally Posted by oldognewtrick
If you called me to give you an estimate on replacing your roof and told me you were getting more than 3 other estimates, I wouldn't waste your time or mine figuring up the replacement cost for the roof. People should understand that taking bids, shouldn't mean automatically taking the lowest price. You get what you pay for. Look for the best qualified and the best value, not just taking the guy who usually cuts corners on installations.
I know, paying more doesn't necessarily mean you're getting a better service, thats where you have to do your homework and check references. Calling the supply house's and see if they pay their account on time, is a good place to start.
One book said to tell each bidder that you're getting other bids. The few times I did, you could see the smile disappear from the face of the estimator so I don't tell them.
One wrote me a long hand-written letter complaining about this practice. Only one asked me how his company did against the others. One guy had a cash register next to the phone and each thing I mentioned put a loud ka-ching into the phone (he was more offensive than most and his bid was 3x the average bid).
And if a customer tells me that Home Depot wants less than I do for a job I tell them to take it before HD changes their mind.
The Internet seems to say that price and quality are mostly unrelated.
This is business, using real money!
It can be a zero-sum game and I would like at least to break even.
Usually we get a very low bid [outlier], a high bid [outlier] and a cluster. Then we decide which one in the cluster is the good one.
They're all working with the same labor pool and the same materials so ideally all prices should be very close to each other.
I've also had prices so close it was probably price fixing. And saying, "We'll match your best price" is a close cousin to price fixing.
The last job we got bids for, a gas fireplace install, was $3K, $4K and $5K and the high bid estimator was an awful person. The middle bid wasn't really what we wanted.
We visited many places and some were really pretty slippery operators.
We took the low bid and also had our share of problems with them and with their products, and as many times as we had them out to our house I doubt they made any money on that job.
Here's some hits on boiler problems.