Obtain Contractor Bids
After interviewing and checking references, you should ask your short list of potential contractors to provide an actual bid for the work. How many? Feel free to get as many — or as few — bids as you need to feel comfortable making a final decision. However, as a general rule, three bids will usually provide sufficient information.
Plans and Specifications
In order to compare apples to apples, you should provide the contractors with clear and detailed plans and specifications. Plans consist of drawings, diagrams or sketches that provide a clear description of the work to be done, including all measurements and construction details. Specifications are a detailed list of the products and materials to be used in the project and can include such things brand names, model numbers and colours.
The level of detail required for each varies depending on the size and complexity of the job. Many contractors will prepare drawings and specifications for a fee, which you can use as the basis for obtaining contractor bids, and judging them on an equal basis.
Carefully review all the information presented in the contractors' bids. Ensure each bid proposes to do the work as you have specified, and compare the prices, payment terms and work schedule proposed by each contractor. Consider all of the information you gathered through your contractor interviews and customer reference checks. Then, look for the bid that offers you the best overall value, not necessarily the lowest price.