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    10-12. Get bids from general contractors. - Electronic Edition

    10-12. Get bids from general contractors. - Electronic Edition
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     When you are planning to build, get bids from contractors on the project. Tell them they have to sharpen their pencils, because you are considering owner-building as an option. Also tell them to provide you with line item pricing and subcontractor names so you can compare to other general contractor bids you are getting. Then use the line item bids to improve your calculations as to your costs to build.

     Use the line items also as comparison and leverage to produce competition by category for subcontracted items. If you see one general estimated footings at $5,000 and you have bids all over $6,000 for that item, challenge your bidders to beat the estimate you have in hand, or go to the supplier the general contractor mentioned at that price. Jeff L. did so after getting both subcontractor bids, and later, general contractor bids for comparison. His lowest bidder on drywall was the very subcontractor offered in one general contractor estimate, however, the general quoted the drywaller at a figure $12,000 less than Jeff had previously received. Jeff took that estimate back to the drywall company and demanded the same pricing shown.

     It is fair to ask generals for bids because the general may wind up supplying items he has bid on the overall estimate. Custom home builders offer an increasing percentage of work “by own forces”. It is not a major expense for general contractors to provide these estimates as they are usually “canned” on computer and they produce a potential opportunity for the general.

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