How Long Does It Take a Contractor To Give an Estimate?

If they’re still interested, ask if they can deliver the estimate to you within 24 hours to 72 hours (1 to 3 days). This accomplishes two things: It reinforces that you’re a serious, valuable customer, and it demonstrates that you’ll be clear and reasonable about what you need to be happy if you were to move forward together.

The best practice would be to ask anyone you interview (whom you like and would consider working with) exactly when you will receive their proposal. Ask them after the interview is over, and before they leave your home. Simple wording that is very clear will do: “When will I receive your proposal?”

There are MANY excellent remodelers out there that are hoping to work with good new clients. Don’t wait on someone that is slow and dragging their feet. Move on.

How long it takes depends on the scope of the job. The more things being done, the more they have to price things out so they’ll take more time.

Some contractors are only looking for “easy money” – jobs that aren’t too time-consuming. If you have more to be done than they want to bite off, they simply say pass. Some are just too busy to bother if the job is being bid in a competitive manner – they don’t want to waste time coming up with a bid when they’re already busy and then finding out they lost the job.

As far as missing the appointed time, sometimes life happens. Did he get a flat tire? Did he have some other dire emergency to deal with? Did he explain? Did you ask?

Don’t Tell a Contractor That You Aren’t in A Hurry

If you tell a contractor that there’s no rush to complete your project, they will give your job the lowest priority possible. They will take on other jobs and spend their time doing other things, besides getting your job done. You need to communicate timelines, and actually chart out the weekly expectations you have in terms of job completion. Be sure to set dates and deadlines, and let the contractor know that they will lose money if the job is not completed within a reasonable amount of time.

Never tell a contractor that you’re not in a hurry, or else your project can end up delayed more and more until you are pissed off and losing money. 

Don’t Tell a Contractor Your Budget

If you tell a contractor that your budget is $20,000 they will find a way to make their bid $20,000, even if it should be lower. Instead, you should have them provide a bid for the work you need to be done, so you can compare the cost of material and labor with other bids, to make an informed decision.

  • Cost of Materials

Be aware that many contractors will upcharge you for the cost of materials. It is important to independently verify the cost of materials after receiving a bid. I have had contractors look me right and the eye and inform me that material cost is $850 when I know for a fact the cost is only $550. I refuse to hire anyone that will lie to me about the cost of materials, so I always verify costs.

Cost estimation and budgeting: a complex endeavor that benefits your construction

Cost estimation is anything but simple, so it’s important to know a well-developed estimate takes time. Estimation techniques vary from company to company, but any reputable contractor will define the particulars of the project and your needs, conduct significant research, and plan for hidden costs and potentially unexpected expenses along the way. As a client, it’s essential to realize that the length of time put into developing an estimate gives you a clearer picture of the project ahead and what you can expect to budget. Avoid the temptation to jump at the first estimate that comes in, if you’re bidding on the project, as the speed of estimate generation is not a significant indicator of the quality of work. You may want to select a team that you trust to develop a good-faith estimate, bypassing the time and energy it takes to put a project out for bid, knowing that the quality you’ll get in return pays for itself.