Deck estimate morals?

hosleyMarch 27, 2010


We are getting deck estimates for our townhouse. Of the 2 builders we are considering, one is a one person operation while the other seems like a big company. Regardless, one of these (I won't mention which) is undercutting the other by saying they'll match any estimate from anyone and take off 5%.

The idea of getting someone to give an estimate only to get it for 5% cheaper from someone else seems wrong to me. Yet at the same time it is enticing since 5% is a lot of money and this is a business after all. But what is right in the deck business specifically? This seems like a responsibility when dealing with car sales.

What I did was get an estimate from the one and then tell that builder what the other builder was offering w/ the 5%. I did not say that this was a deal-breaker since I'm not sure. One possibility is to ask this builder to match that 5% off (or compromise in between), but I'm not sure this solves the moral dilemma.

OK, so what I wanted to ask is what others both in and not in the deck business think the appropriate actions are.

Of course there are other factors other than the price that matter, but let's assume all else is equal.



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I bid a Job one time and one time only.

If after going back at the Customer's request they were to bring up something like that,and they have, I mention if I changed the price up or down that would mean I did not give them an honest bid in the first place.

However my outfit includes a lot of fancy stuff other Deck Builders dont so the option is always around to cut these out if the Wallet is up against a budget. J.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 8:32AM
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hosley, you are the minority, having morals & all. Most folks, like one of those deck builders, are out to get whatever they can.

In this case trust your gut instinct. 5% may seem like a lot of money, but not if you have to look at someone you don't really like or who may not do a good job cause he's trying to make up for that 5%.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 12:48AM
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That's why it's best to never give out drawings even if it's just a concept drawing without details til a contract is signed. If someone likes your design they should pay for it or use some other guys design.

Had a guy once take my design & use it to have other contractors bid it, gave the job to other guy for 50 bucks less. Found that out cause the other contractor's brother worked for me at the time. Live & learn the hard way in the contracting business.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 8:52PM
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