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Do You Want a Remodeling Estimate or a Fixed Price Remodeling Proposal?

Lexington MA addition contractor

The terms estimate and fixed price both, in some way, relate to putting a price on a proposed remodeling project. However, and unfortunately, the two words are often used interchangeably as if they all mean the same thing. This article is intended to first help you differentiate between them and second take advantage of each for their true purpose in helping you plan, commit to and experience a successful remodeling project.

Defining each

Estimate: Although many home owners ask for an estimate, what they are really seeking is a fixed-price. To a professional contractor an estimate is literally a best guess as to the approximate price of a project, prior to creating and or finalizing a scope of work or design. It is essentially a preliminary opinion of project price from the contractor. At HTR we offer estimates to help you gain a better understanding of what your project might cost before you commit to a design or we commit to preparing a fixed price proposal. We use our experience and knowledge working on similar past projects to provide you with that estimated cost.

Fixed price remodeling contract: A fixed price remodeling proposal or remodeling contract is literally a fixed price for a fixed scope of work. At HTR we provide fixed prices in our proposals. For the scope of work to be fixed, the design of your project and the products to be used must have all been finalized and all of the construction details required included. As with any contractor, this is the only way our company and our sub-contractors can assemble a fixed price for your project without making assumptions. A quick rule of thumb to follow is, if you are unsure or unclear about what is included or assumed, the price will not be fixed.

Know your purpose before you ask for either one of them

Now that we have defined and differentiated estimates from fixed prices you should be better prepared to know which you want or need. Just make sure which ever you ask for will actually assist you with your purpose in asking. For example, if you want a fixed price but do not have fully developed plans and or specifications, don’t expect the contractor’s price to be fixed. Also, without a detailed written scope of work from a contractor, how will you be able to confirm and hold the contractor to the fixed price?

At HTR Construction, company president Tom Fernandes recommends, that without a detailed written scope of work, that you consider any offer by a contractor to be an estimate, not a fixed price.

Make sure you and your contractor are on the same page

Now that you know the difference between the terms above make sure your contractor does as well. For example if you are expecting a fixed price make sure the contractor agrees he has from you all the information he needs so the price will not change after signing an agreement. If you ask your contractor for an estimate make sure you both agree to and/or he or she shares what assumptions were made when assembling that estimate.

How HTR Construction Can Help

At HTR, company president Tom Fernandes offers this brief summary to help you understand how HTR Construction helps its clients:

  • To help get things started he offers a suggested budget which is a rough, typical number.
  • Using the budget as a point of reference project and product selections and alternatives can then be explored and their impact on the budget, either up or down, can be considered.
  • The next step would be to create an estimate, which is not fully specified, but is helpful for feasibility purposes. He does this as part of HTR’s Pre-Construction Services.
  • Then a fixed price proposal can be developed that is fully specified and ready for including in a construction agreement. You can view a sample fixed price proposal here.