Here are more home building basics! Details
of actually collecting subcontractors' quotes which will help
you as an owner builder cover all the bases.
GO OVER THE PLANS
Have each sub examine your plans
and specifications when giving
you a quote.
are many things which will show up in the specs which are not
apparent in the plans alone!
SCOPE OF THE WORK
Ask each sub exactly what
is normally included in his services.
disheartening to hire a house cleaner, only to find out that
he doesn’t do floors!
As an owner builder, you'll
find that a task which is done by one subcontractor in Alabama might
be done by another subcontractoe in Texas.
For example, in some areas, the
framing subcontractor sets the windows and external doors. In
other areas, this job is handled by the exterior siding and
trim subcontractor or even the suppliers. In some places, the framing
subcontractor sets the prefab fireplace. In other places, the people who
supply the fireplace take care of installation.
If the framing subcontractor charges $4.00 per square
foot, how does he figure the square footage? Are
unheated spaces like porches and garages included? Ask all your subcontractors about extra
charges. Most subcontractors have specific tasks for which they charge an
Also, find out what jobs each subcontractor can
do. Example - it’s
not unusual to find carpenters who have enough finesse to be able
to switch from the heavy pounding of a framing job to the light
touch of trim work.
The same subcontractor who does your foundation
masonry will probably come back and build your retaining wall
and fireplace profile (the brick or stone on the wall around
the fireplace). The fewer people you have to deal with,
the easier your job will be.
Find out how each subcontractor charges for his work. Some
charge on a square foot basis. Some quote each job. Steer clear
of one who wants to work on a time and materials basis!
Be sure to ask each subcontractor exactly when
he expects to be paid for his work. That
is - does he expect to be paid when the work is completed, or
will he wait until you get your construction “draw” before he is paid.
As a general rule, your home building lender will advance
funds on a monthly basis. Under normal circumstances, you should
only work with subcontractors who are financially able to wait
for the end of the month construction loan draw to get paid.
In most cases you should never pay a subcontractor for
work that is only partially completed. Most home building
tasks that will be done by a subcontractor can be done in a
short period of time - from a few hours to a few weeks. Make
sure that the subcontractors you use can carry themselves at least until
their work is completed.
There are two or three exceptions to the
last rule. Your plumber - and sometimes your electrician and heating
subcontractors - will probably expect to be paid a healthy percentage of
the total contracted price when their work is “roughed in”,
and the balance on completion.
The reason for this is because
they will have a considerable amount of cost tied up in materials
and labor at that point. They have no control over how long
it will take you to get to the point where you are ready
for them to come back and finish the job, so they want to
be able to cover the costs they have incurred.
GET SEVERAL subcontractor QUOTES
Again, get more than one quote for
each job. That way you’ll
quickly begin to get a feel for the range being charged for each
type of work. Then you’ll be able to tell which subcontractor is expensive
and which a bargain. A word of caution . . . the lowest price
may not be the best bargain!
As obvious as it may sound, get
all your subcontractors' quotes in writing. Most
subcontractors will have their own quote forms. That's
fine. Just make sure that everything spelled out above
is included in the quote!
If subcontractor doesn't have his own form, use
ours! Click here.
For additional insight into getting Subcontractors' Quotes,
see Lesson Ten of our online course
Successful Home Contracting.
to the Home Building Answers' Home Page
from Subcontractor Quotes