I recently was made aware of a conversation that a local Realtor had with someone I know that had to do with a remodeling project she was doing at her home. She felt trapped- the people that were working at her house, rather than inspiring trust and confidence, made her want to stay home whenever they were there “I’m not going to leave them alone in my house!” If I could have, I would have asked the client why in the world she would hire people that she doesn’t trust-especially to do expensive things that involve ripping up her house!? But, I think I already know the answer- price and ignorance. Picking a contractor is no different than hiring anyone else- you want to be careful. Most consumer complaints filed in the Ohio State Attorney Generals office have to do with Home Improvement contractors. As well they should- since most people decide these things based on price. How many of you have thought, well, I’ll get 3 bids and take the middle one as a way to select your contractor? Do any of those bids tell you about whether you and the contractor are aligned in what he is going to deliver for the amount you are planning on paying? Do they tell you whether he has great trade relationships with real pros? Or how much emphasis he really puts on you having a good experience? What is a “bid” really? Is there a locked in, no questions left, specification book that they are attaching the price to? Almost never. So, a bid is often a contractor’s guess as to what amount of money will get him in the door, so then he can start filling out change order requests. There aren’t that many places to buy building materials, and most of them are priced within very narrow ranges, so differences in price are often differences in what a given contractor is planning on delivering to you. Quality of material, quality of labor, speed, or all three. Rule one of almost everything- there is ALWAYS something/someone cheaper-whether you want the service that implies is up to you-don’t say you haven’t been warned!