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First Bid Received

Last night, Carey and I received the first bid on the pool room (layout). I'm going to briefly discuss it here so I can document my thoughts. I've haven't adjusted the bid price as I don't imagine any of the other contractors who have yet to put in their bids will see this entry. I may, however, remove the dollar figures later if I'm given reason to do so or suspect that I should do so.

Anyway, the bid price is $16,560. Some line items include addition of the wet bar ($1,900), owner supply and installation of carpeting (-$1,509), and owner supply and install of wood trim (-$937). In other words, anywhere from $13,723 to $18,460, depending on whether we want the bar and whether we'll buy and install our own carpeting and/or wood trim.

That's a bit higher than I had imagined, but the cost can come down and I imagine there's some room for negotiations, especially if another contractor comes in with a lower bid. I won't type the specifics out, but I will include some notes about the general plan.

Support Beam
This bid includes putting a pole in the garage to support a beam (which in turn would support the floor). I asked if a thicker beam and no pole could be used, as the pole would be right between the front doors of our cars), and the contractor said that would take some cost off the price because engineering and creation of the pier to support the pole was a significant amount of work.

This bid includes a standard window, while Carey and I may want to go with a more decorative octagonal window (to roughly match the roof slopelines and an octagonal window we have in the front of our house). We also may want to upgrade the door from hollow to solid to cut down on noise. These changes in expense (cheaper window, more expensive door) would likely be a virtual wash.

The bid includes extending the furnace/air conditioning in our basement into the room. Our furnace/air can handle the added capacity as we don't work them hard (66° in the winter, 76° in the summer), but we're looking to replace at least the a/c in the next year anyway. It's 15 years old, and a $2k to $3k air conditioning unit is all that's needed. Replacing the furnace would be another $1k.

Lighting and Electrical
Lighting and electrical would be done "to code" - which means (we think) four outlets - one in each corner. Our lighting plan includes having an outlet above the center of the pool table for table lighting and then three recessed lights along the far wall (away from the door).

The room is 19 x 22 or just over 400 square feet. Given that Carey's ex is a carpet layer (though one we probably wouldn't trust in our house), we may be able to get some things like the padding free or cheap along with inexpensive installation. We could get semi-decent carpeting that is probably better than the carpeting offered by the contractor. So, it's likely we'll somehow work out the carpeting (or possibly veneer hardwood) floors ourselves.

Paint and Trim
Painting and matching wood trim are included in the "trim" cost. With only one window, one door, and under 80 feet of baseboards (22 * 2 + 19 * 2 - 3 = 79), we think we could save money by painting and doing the wood trim ourselves. Wood baseboards were about $5 for 8', so $150. Paint may be $50. Some nails and supplies: $25. Some additional wood for around the window and door frame: $100. All told, that's $325 - quite a bit less than the $937 quoted.

Time to Move
The project would take, it is estimated, about three weeks.

Room to Move
I don't know how much "room to move" there is on a bid. It's much easier to buy a house or a car because you have a general sense of how much someone can budge on an offer. If this guy has no projects booked for the beginning of January, doing three weeks of work at a cheaper rate or taking a little less profit on material goods may be better than sitting at home. If $16,560 is the number, how much is a reasonable counter-offer? $16,560?

Obviously, an answer to that question will be more evident when we get some other bids. If they're all higher for similar work and goods, it's unlikely there is much room to move. If they're lower and we like this first bidder for whatever reason, clearly we could ask him to match.

Update: A friend told me to add 20% to 50% of the cost to the project because things "always come up" that the contractor didn't know about prior to construction. She said "fine print" in the contract allows them to do that. This bidder gave us a copy of the contract, so I'll read that over and update again later with my discoveries.

Update 2: The contract contains no language about unexpected occurrences. The contractors have been given as much information and allowed to check out the house as much as they've needed to. The only language I found confusing talks about the cost of materials. After saying that the contractor is allowed 15% markup for profit and overhead, it says "Any allowance overruns must be paid as they occur." The material allowances are accounted for in the bid, and it's been explained to me that this would only come into play if we wanted a better carpet or faucet or something.

3 Responses to "First Bid Received"

  1. Many carpet stores around where I live have a deal that they'll install the carpet for you if you buy so many square feet. This may be something worth looking in to.

    Do the trim yourself. It's not hard and is a good extra curricular project you can do.

    Lastly, ask if you can have a list of the contractor's past clients. These can be very helpful in determining if the guy is going to intentionally get you on that 15% clause. If you talk to some of their clients, they can give you a great feel on that contractor's work if you pick up on any sort of subtleties.

  2. I may do that on the 15%, or I may simply have better language written in the contract. The bid does include exact specifications for everything, from the types of beams to the type, size, etc. of the wood, so I'm not terribly worried about him adding materials. The sample contract provided was for building an entire house, so some of the items in it are moot anyway.

    We may do the trim ourselves, but we'd need a mitre saw to cut the angles. Even if we had to RENT one there's no way I can see it running anywhere close to $937. So, we'll probably do that or have the same carpet guy do it both.

  3. Seriously, builders suck. Contractors, builders… whatever they're called. The guy who built the house I live in has a phone that doesn't even have an answering machine anymore. It just rings and rings and rings. He promised a quote/bid last...