Architects & DesignersConsumer Guides

When to Expect a Free Bid

Prudent consumers usually shop around for comparison prices when contemplating a major purchase, and large home repairs and improvements should be no exception. Homeowners are encouraged to get two or three estimates when hiring contractors for major home improvements and to carefully compare the bids before choosing the one to do the work.

However, consumers must also understand that contractors are in business to earn a living. If a homeowner has three contractors submit an estimate, at least two will spend time working on a bid without receiving payment. This is all part of being in business, of course, but contractors must be able to balance this unpaid time with earning enough while they are “on the clock” to stay in business. The bigger the potential job, the more time a contractor is likely to spend bidding to get the job. And the smaller the job, the less time he can afford to work on an estimate.

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