Low Bid Pitfalls

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The Many Risks You Take in
Hiring the Lowest Bidder

 


Our owners have more than 55 years of
experience building and remodeling homes in Orlando

 


There are two types of low bidders:

  • 1. Contractors without the experience and knowledge to bid your project properly
  • 2. Contractors that know all the shortcuts on quality that you won’t discover until it is too late

The partners at ACS have more than 55 years of experience and have won numerous awards for quality. They have also seen plenty of home remodeling disasters that could have been avoided.

They have put the information on this page together so you won’t get fooled by a price that is “fantastic” only to realize too late that you have a disaster on your hands.

Low Bid Pitfalls
If you are like most of the homeowners we have met, you have only tackled a significant remodeling project like a kitchen, bathroom, addition, whole house renovation or even a custom home once every 10 years or more.

This lack of experience is one of the reasons that unscrupulous contractors in the Orlando Metro Area can take advantage of you. They know all of the places that they can cut corners on quality to make a profit at your expense.

It takes some work on your part to hire a contractor with the right experience and is charging a fair price but this is a lot better than the alternative.


How A Low Bidder Puts You At Risk
And Compromises The Quality You Deserve

 

 


Listed below are different ways that unprofessional contractors keep their bid lower than their professional competitors. Don’t be fooled into getting stuck with shoddy work at a “great” low price!


Allowances: One of the easiest ways for a contractor to keep their bid below the competition is to use low and unrealistic allowances in their proposal. An allowance is used in a proposal to show an amount of money in the proposal that is specified for an item that hasn’t been chosen yet. Cabinets, counter tops and flooring are typical allowance items. Since no decisions have been made on those items prior to signing a contract, the contractor gives you an allowance of money to use towards those items.

A professional contractor knows what those items typically cost and includes a realistic allowance for those items. A customer should be able to comfortably find items that fit within their contractor’s allowance amount.

Unprofessional contractors will use unrealistic amounts for allowances to make their bids appear more attractive. For example, if your contract contains an allowance for kitchen cabinets of $10,000 you will soon realize that finding quality kitchen cabinets for $10,000 will be virtually impossible. If you decide that you really want cabinets for say $18,000 then you just went $8,000 over budget on just this one item.

ACS includes realistic allowance amounts based upon their years of working closely with their customers. We encourage our customers to do some homework so they know what their taste and style will realistically cost.


Insurance: Another way unscrupulous contractors keep their bids low is by not carrying the required insurance. This can put you at risk if they or any of their crew members get hurt on the job. We even know of one situation where the brakes on the contractor’s truck failed and he crashed into the homeowner’s house. The contractor didn’t have vehicle insurance and the homeowner’s insurance had to cover the cost including the deductible plus the risk of increased rates because of the accident.

Insurance is expensive and is part of the overhead costs of any legitimate business. ACS maintains all of the required insurance mandated by the state of Florida, and will show you their coverage at your request.


Permits: Many contractors will try to convince you that the work that you are requesting to be done does not need a permit. In some cases, this is true, but it isn’t in most cases. Permits can be expensive and, in some cases, require a lengthy process to obtain.

But, it will be even more expensive and time consuming for a homeowner if your municipality finds out and stops the work or requires it to be torn out.

A contractor who puts in a project without a permit is cheating the municipality and if they will do that you should ask yourself this question: “If they are going to cheat the government, will they think twice about cheating me?” The answer should be obvious.

ACS works with every municipality and discusses your project with them to see what permits will be required.


License: Every contractor who does remodeling, additions or new construction work is required to be licensed in the state of Florida. Generating the experience required and the money necessary to obtain and maintain a contractor’s license is time consuming and expensive. But it is a requirement and another overhead expense that is necessary to lawfully run a contracting business.

Florida law requires that every contractor be properly licensed in the state before contracting to build or remodel a home. A contractor who is “certified” is licensed by the state and may operate in any city or county in this state; a contractor who is “registered” is licensed by a particular city or county and may operate only in the city or county of registration. However, all licensed contractors are regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“DBPR”), which can be contacted at: 1940 N. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL, 32399-1027; telephone: 850-487-1395; website: myfloridalicense.com.

When someone contracts without a license, they endanger the health, safety and welfare of the public, undercut licensed contractors who operate legitimately and lawfully and hurt the entire construction industry. Hiring an unlicensed contractor will leave the homeowner with no recourse through the state if something goes wrong.

ACS has three licensed contractors on staff and will show you their licenses at your request.


Personnel: Many contractors save money by hiring inexperienced construction workers as project managers. While less expensive up front, this can cost dearly in the long run.

ACS project managers have an average of 18 years project management experience. They won’t be getting on-the-job training at your expense.

One more point to consider. Many contractors will hire “day laborers” to supplement their work force. We don’t know about you, but we wouldn’t want those people working at our home and neither should you. It is a smart idea to ask each contractor how they find their crew members.


Cabinetry: There is a wide range of choices in cabinetry. You can spend $10,000, $20,000 or even $75,000 on cabinets for the same kitchen. Spending more money doesn’t always guarantee better quality, but going low end rarely works out. Some of the typical issues with low end cabinets include: drawers that come apart, loose hinges, shelves and doors that warp and finishes that quickly show wear and tear.

A lack of experience in measuring can mean that a lot of modifications will have to be made before installation and these modifications will impact the look and longevity of the cabinets.

It can even mean replacement cabinets need to be ordered and that can delay your project for many weeks.

ACS, Inc. can meet any of your custom built cabinet or furniture piece desires. ACS, Inc. custom builds wood cabinetry, staircase systems and millwork in Winter Garden, Florida. We are a company founded in years of custom woodworking experience and pride ourselves in superior customer service and quality craftsmanship.

Our process is simple; we listen to our clients and then provide them with beautiful pieces of wood work for their home or business. Our attention to detail and ability to make ideas become reality places us at the forefront of the custom wood working industry.

As part of our design process, clients are given the opportunity to select design styles, wood species and finish appearance.


Granite and Marble: This is a great way to upgrade your project, but if it isn’t done right you will feel like you made a mistake and wasted a lot of money. The template must be prepared correctly or it won’t fit. It will have uneven seams, and if the sub decking shifts — the seams will get bigger and filling them in only makes it look worse.


Windows: This is one area that every low bidder will look to take advantage of your inexperience to make money at your expense. They can save hundreds of dollars per window and that savings will go right in their pocket. With the price of energy going up every year, if the contractor put in bargain windows you will end up spending a lot more on energy than expected. Plus your home will be hot in the summer and cold in the winter.


Doors: The low bidder can pick up cheap doors at the big box retailers. Most of these doors are mass produced and will fit in newer homes with 2×6 walls. If your home has 2×4 walls they won’t fit well and just like bargain windows will cost you in energy and make your home drafty.


Roofing: If you are like most folks, you won’t get up on your roof to inspect the work that was done and unscrupulous contractors know this.

The Orlando Metro Area has plenty of rain and wind and over time an improper installation will mean leaks that may result in damage to drywall, cabinets, carpet etc…

An improper installation will void the manufacturer’s warranty as well.


Framing: If your walls aren’t “plumb” then you are likely to have continuing problems. Seams that show in the drywall, trim with gaps, cabinets that won’t fit flush and much more. Gaps like these look terrible and are virtually impossible to fix.


Sheetrock and Drywall: If you have walked into a poorly constructed home you will immediately notice nail pops, seams that show and uneven sanding. These issues will begin to show up a couple of months after the job … right after you have paid your final bill.

One other point — don’t allow your contractor to use sheetrock from China as it can cause some nasty health issues. You can Google this to learn more.


Paint: Proper prep work is essential for a good finish. The surface preparation has to be done properly by an experienced painter or you will end up with uneven seams and lines from the rolling brush. Cheap paint will wash off easily and you end up with drywall mud. Trim work that is poorly installed will look even worse when it is painted.

Professional painter carry insurance and this will protect you in case they spill paint on your floors or rugs.

In 2010, the EPA passed a new law designed to protect homeowners, their families and contractors that work on their home from the risks of lead hazards commonly referred to as lead-based paint.

This is not something to mess around with because it can cause severe-health issues if not handled properly.

As unbelievable as it sounds, there are design-build and remodeling contractors in Central Florida that are still not certified. ACS is certified and in compliance with lead safe work practices.

Our advice is to immediately drop them from consideration. Exposing your family to the risks of lead poisoning is simply not worth the risk.

Take the simple step of asking for proof of their certification before you meet with them.


Electrical: Please — Only use a licensed electrician to do the work. Don’t let the contractor tell you that they know what they are doing or “I do the work at my own house.” Fires from faulty electrical wiring are much more common than you might think. Do a YouTube search on “bad electrical jobs.” The videos you will find are unbelievable. This is an area where saving money can have disastrous consequences.


HVAC: This is another area where trusting the unscrupulous contractor can mean you get taken. Do the research on the type of system to be installed and make sure it is installed by someone qualified by the manufacturer. If your system is inadequate or unbalanced you will have an increase in utility costs. Uneven airflow distribution means the home won’t heat/cool well in all rooms.


Unfortunately, this is just a small sample of the ways that he low bidder can make money at your expense.

 

Do your homework on all aspects of your project before you sign. In the long run you will end up with a project you are proud of.

 

If you are ready to renovate or to build a custom home, we would be pleased to demonstrate why our clients are satisfied on the day we finish and long after.

 


General Contractor for the Greater Orlando Metro Area including:

 


Orlando, Windermere, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Heathrow, Lake Mary, Longwood, Ocoee, Winter Springs, Altamonte Springs, Maitland, Casselberry, Sanford, Clermont, Belle Isle, Edgewood, Oviedo, Davenport and surrounding communities.