One mistake people often make is to choose the lowest priced bid for a commercial construction project. When choosing between commercial construction contractors, it's not all about the price, although that's important too. Your bid should contain more information to help you come to an informed conclusion.

What Information Should a Commercial Contractor's Bid Contain?

The bid, or proposal, from your potential contractor is a major step towards establishing a working relationship. The bid will let you know the contractor understands your vision, and knows exactly how to bring it to life.

The bid should have

  • a full description of the job and how long it will take;
  • payment options for the job, and a cost estimate;
  • costs for materials and labor;
  • costs for permits, and which permits need pulling.

This information can give you a general overview. But you don't want just a general overview from your bid. It's not enough to come to a good decision on whether it's the right contractor for your project or not.

It's All in the Details--At Least It Should Be

A good bid will contain highly detailed information. The more detail a contractor can give you, the more confidence you can have in them. In addition, more detail can often mean the estimates are actually far closer to the mark than otherwise. A contractor can, and should, go into as much detail about each aspect of the potential project as they can.

For example, a contractor can list the costs of materials and labor. They can itemize that list. But a contractor that's not afraid to go into detail may tell you exactly where they will source materials from, and the quality of that material. They may even list alternative options for material sourcing.

The more specific the details, the better. One contractor may list a timeframe.  Another contractor may give you a step-by-step description of everything that will happen on each day in the timeframe.

The Informed Decision

One commercial contractor may give you a good estimate but a vague bid. Another contractor may cost more, but has a highly detailed bid.

It's up to you to choose a bid based on your own criteria, but just know the lower price isn't always the ideal choice. A contractor willing to let you know exactly how the job should occur, in detail, likely has a better handle on how much the work will actually cost you in the end.