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Advice when dealing with contractors for new driveway

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We are in the process of getting quotes for doing our driveway with pavers. We had a contractor giving us a quote initially for about 15k for pavers and belgian blocks edges and then we asked for the option if we could use our preferred paver brand which was 20-30c per foot more expensive than the Cambridge brand he was using. Howerver after getting the second quote the price was increased to about 22k. He had left the driveway price pretty much at 15k but he quoted us 7.5k for 150 liner feet of Belgian block edging which we though was way more than double the usual price at 50 per linear foot. In addition I had meaured the edging with a measuring wheel and it was 120 feet and not 150 we were quoted. Also I used the google maps area meaurements to measure the actual driveway square footage where he came up with about 400 more square(actual driveway is 1,400sf )footage than the driveway actualy is. So it seems he added 20% more linear footage and 35% more square footage. Needless to say we are also looking for other quotes. Funny thing a few year ago we had gotten a quote for 30k from a different contractor. The "expensive" material we are considering was no more than 5.5k for everything.

Any recommendations when dealing with this kind of projects? Do we tell them the actual footage or contractors have their own method of measuring.

Thanks

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, JackDaWack said:

Same advice for any house project, get multiple quotes from reputable companies, and get referrals from prior customers. 

 

 

Yes, then use the low quotes as negotiation leverage.

You'd be surprised how much they can drop their prices when there is competition.

Although these days when everybody is going nuts with home improvements maybe not so much.  

 

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Part of my job for the last 25 years has been hiring contractors for all sorts of projects.  I've hired hundreds and hundreds of them.

My advice:

  • Find someone your neighbor or friend liked working with.  Finding a quality contractor is the most important thing.
  • Get 3 quotes.  Throw out any that are low enough to worry you and any that are high enough to worry you.  If all three are in the same neighborhood, you can trust the prices are good.
  • Don't worry about the nuisances.  Don't worry if the contractor thinks it's 150' vs. 120'.  There is some number he needs to make to make your project worth his time.  Doesn't matter how he gets to that price.  You don't know how he's calculating workman's comp, equipment rental, benefits time, liability insurance, or 100 other things that are priced into your job.  Worrying about 30' of edging misses 99.999% of what went into your quote.

 

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13 hours ago, maintenanceguy said:

Part of my job for the last 25 years has been hiring contractors for all sorts of projects.  I've hired hundreds and hundreds of them.

My advice:

  • Find someone your neighbor or friend liked working with.  Finding a quality contractor is the most important thing.
  • Get 3 quotes.  Throw out any that are low enough to worry you and any that are high enough to worry you.  If all three are in the same neighborhood, you can trust the prices are good.
  • Don't worry about the nuisances.  Don't worry if the contractor thinks it's 150' vs. 120'.  There is some number he needs to make to make your project worth his time.  Doesn't matter how he gets to that price.  You don't know how he's calculating workman's comp, equipment rental, benefits time, liability insurance, or 100 other things that are priced into your job.  Worrying about 30' of edging misses 99.999% of what went into your quote.

 

This.

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On 10/18/2020 at 8:08 PM, maintenanceguy said:

Part of my job for the last 25 years has been hiring contractors for all sorts of projects.  I've hired hundreds and hundreds of them.

My advice:

  • Find someone your neighbor or friend liked working with.  Finding a quality contractor is the most important thing.
  • Get 3 quotes.  Throw out any that are low enough to worry you and any that are high enough to worry you.  If all three are in the same neighborhood, you can trust the prices are good.
  • Don't worry about the nuisances.  Don't worry if the contractor thinks it's 150' vs. 120'.  There is some number he needs to make to make your project worth his time.  Doesn't matter how he gets to that price.  You don't know how he's calculating workman's comp, equipment rental, benefits time, liability insurance, or 100 other things that are priced into your job.  Worrying about 30' of edging misses 99.999% of what went into your quote.

 

Agree

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On 10/18/2020 at 8:08 PM, maintenanceguy said:

 

  • Don't worry about the nuisances.  Don't worry if the contractor thinks it's 150' vs. 120'.  There is some number he needs to make to make your project worth his time.  Doesn't matter how he gets to that price.  You don't know how he's calculating workman's comp, equipment rental, benefits time, liability insurance, or 100 other things that are priced into your job.  Worrying about 30' of edging misses 99.999% of what went into your quote.

 

Maybe its just me, and the accounting principles I have learned... but thats not acceptable in my mind. 

A contractor should be able to accurately determine how much each square foot costs his business, and how much he needs to charge to make a profit. Adding square footage to inflate a price makes zero sense to me and its an indicator the contractor hasn't created a cost structure. 

Square footage determines how much prep time is needed, how much material is needed, how much labor is required, and the time to run any machines..   adding footage that doesn't exist means you would be paying for things you're not receiving. 

I wouldnt request a 20x20 foot deck, and be ok with someone quoting me to build a 25x25 foot deck, but then only building it to 20x20 specs. 

I may not argue over a few feet for surplus materials if thats how its described, but 30 quare feet is not a small area to just pretend exists to make up shortcomings for price. If you want to charge more, raise your per foot price.

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33 minutes ago, JackDaWack said:

Maybe its just me, and the accounting principles I have learned... but thats not acceptable in my mind. 

A contractor should be able to accurately determine how much each square foot costs his business, and how much he needs to charge to make a profit. Adding square footage to inflate a price makes zero sense to me and its an indicator the contractor hasn't created a cost structure. 

Square footage determines how much prep time is needed, how much material is needed, how much labor is required, and the time to run any machines..   adding footage that doesn't exist means you would be paying for things you're not receiving. 

I wouldnt request a 20x20 foot deck, and be ok with someone quoting me to build a 25x25 foot deck, but then only building it to 20x20 specs. 

I may not argue over a few feet for surplus materials if thats how its described, but 30 quare feet is not a small area to just pretend exists to make up shortcomings for price. If you want to charge more, raise your per foot price.

Agree. As someone who made a good living figuring square feet for a living there is one simple thing to remember. Numbers don't lie, there are what they are and if you fudge them beyond reasonable and a savvy homeowner breaks out his own ruler you lost. Keep the numbers real and apply any cost overages you need to the bottom line.

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Its faster and better to waste material with pavers than using end cuts. His overage may account for that. If there is not material left over from a job, he didn't account for this. Save the extras cleanly, I guarantee you will need them someday. PM me if you need a guy in Brick, he has done work at my house 4x and I trust him 100%. I'm up to about $40,000 with him and never one question about the quality of his work.

And I am a cheap MF that handles money for a living.

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