Get those estimates!

dollarWhenever you need to get work done by a contractor—any contractor—be sure to ask for several estimates. The range of prices you’re offered can be amazing!

Case in point: We need to have three short lengths of gutter installed along the freshly painted eaves of the downtown house. I’d like to get those seamless make-it-onsite things, which don’t cost much and which come in so many colors you can usually get one that closely matches the paint job.

Day before yesterday, I called three outfits that advertised free estimates. Two responded. The first sales rep, who called me back within minutes, showed up that very day and said he’d do the job for $600. The second outfit agreed to send an estimator over at 8:00 yesterday morning. She made the same measurements and pulled out an identical book of color chips…and then presented a bid of $430.

That’s a difference of $170! For the same, exact job with the same, exact product.

Update!

It gets better: The next estimator stalked around the house, measured, cogitated, waved his calculator, and disgorged an estimate of $325…just a little over half the amount the first guy wanted. Amazing!

Next: to find out how much it would cost to buy the materials at Home Depot and get a handyman to hang the stuff from the fasciaboards & rafters. This should be innaresting…

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SimplyForties May 29, 2009 at 6:01 am

Great advice. Unfortunately, in a very small town, we are often limited to the one guy who can do the job and, by the way he’s booked up for six months solid! Ah the joys of rural, small town living! Good luck on your work. Is that one thing you’re finding easier in the current economy? (price & availability?)

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