Letters to the Editor

Be diligent when selecting a contractor

I read Ana Veciana-Suarez’s June 28 article, Remodeling? Prepare for the nightmare, and was compelled to provide my perspective as a home builder and re-modeler for the past 40 years. Let me explain what caused all of the bad experiences: competitive bidding.

Everybody wants a first-class job, but nobody wants to pay a first-class price. Instead, everyone blindly follows that silly old rule about getting at least three quotes and taking the one in the middle.

Many contractors have learned that the only way they can win a job is to quote a price so low they can’t possibly make any money. That’s why one contractor walked off the job.

If they do land the job, they cut corners or pile on extras in order to make a buck. If they are smart, they wait for the customer to pile on extras and make changes and then they make their profit doing what the customer wants.

If the customer insists on taking bids, most of the time they would be better off going with the highest bidder. That contractor probably is the only one who’s built enough into the price to do the job right and guarantee their work.

It would also be wise to invest extra an $1,000 to $1,500 to have an architect or an interior designer draw up a set of plans so that every contractor is bidding apples to apples.

Better yet, customers should ask around, interview contractors, do some background checking, inspect some projects, and select a contractor they have confidence in and let him name his price.

If it’s more than they can pay, ask what can be done to bring the price down. But don’t expect another contractor to give them the same job at a lower price and then expect top notch quality.

No customer would go shopping for fine clothing or furniture at a bargain discount store.

But that’s what everyone seems to do when it comes to home remodeling.

Larry Weinstein, owner, Catalina Building Corp., Miami

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