1. What happens when you come out to my house to give me an estimate?
The intention of the first meeting is just for us to meet, go over the project, get a feel for what the project consists of and what your expectations are. We will discuss your budget and types of finishes you would like. Sometimes the budget doesn’t allow for the desired finishes, in which case we can talk about alternate solutions. Depending on the complexity of the project, we can come up with an estimate during our visit. Other times, the estimator will need to leave, do some research, and get back to you with an estimate. Once this process is complete, and you feel comfortable working with Square Deal, we would start the process of creating a formal proposal. This will include all the specs for the job, to include, types of trim, flooring, siding, windows, roofing, cabinetry, countertops, faucets, etc. With this information, we can create an accurate lump sum proposal. We try very hard to account for every aspect and not use budgets for items like some companies do. This is more work in the beginning, but it allows the project to flow more efficiently and it reduces the surprise cost overruns by the end of the project. Often times we will need construction drawings to allow us to bid the project accurately.
2. I’m not sure what I want my project to look like exactly. Can you help me with that?
We have an in house Architectural and Interior Designer, who can create these drawings and assist you with all of the design and selection aspects of your project, if you need or would like help with this. Our fee for this service starts with another design consultation at $65 per hour with a two-hour minimum. Based on the information gathered from that meeting, we will prepare a proposal for the design work and construction drawings. These designs and drawings will be yours even if you choose not to use us to do the project.
3. What if I want to accept your estimate, but I’m not ready for you to start my project yet?
If you decide to go with Square Deal but aren’t ready to start your project until next year, we will just keep your proposal in our file and rebid at the time when you want to start the project. We are normally 3 months +/- out on larger projects.
4. Why do you have a consultation and bid fee? Other contractors I’ve talked to have offered me free estimates.
We realize that many companies do not charge a consultation fee. We do. The fact of the matter is that estimates aren’t free. The estimator gets a salary, the office staff gets paid, the company vehicle that the estimator drives, all cost money. We’ve done the math and for our company, the cost of the 1st consultation visit costs on average $300. We decided some time ago to start charging a consultation fee. The fee we charge really only covers about half of the cost of the visit and estimate. We believe that our $150 fee will make sure that we are getting customers (and potential customers) who are as serious about getting their projects done as we are about providing them excellent service and a great contractor experience. Often people are looking for an idea price to start out with, or something for negotiation purposes when buying a home. While these are valid reasons to call a contractor, we know that there are free estimators out there. We want to be certain that we are spending our time and efforts on customers who are serious about hiring us for a job and not just looking for a free estimate for something they may or may not do. We do credit the consultation fee towards designs and projects that are signed for within 10 days of receiving the estimate if we are awarded the job. We did recently start offering a coupon for 50% off the consultation and bid fee. It is located on our home page.