Help with managing contractor and KD bidding process
Just wondering how people have managed the contractor and KD bidding process to a) pick the best ones and b) get the best price from your favorite KD and contractor.
We are closing on a house at the end of July and want to have work done before we move in. We are currently interviewing a few contractors and KDs. Some are paired together, though I think I can mix and match contractors with different KDs. I met them all once and most have been or will be visiting the house to take measurements to give me a better bid. One GC said that even after he got the design, he would still want his electrician and plumber to come to the house to give their estimates. First of all, we haven't closed on the house yet so we are having trouble getting approval of the current owners to get in for measurements. Secondly, I am feeling a little bad that more people have to put in time to visit in order to give a number and that only one or two contractors will get some work out of it because giving work to each of them would defeat the purpose of having a GC.
I'm not sure why the other ones haven't asked that their electricians and plumbers visit -- whether they can give a good guess without them or whether they are coming back with such a wide range it is not that meaningful. I thought I was pretty clear that I wanted an estimate and timeline after the in-home visit.
Do you think it is advisable that I pick a contractor based on their ball park estimates and timelines for a ball park design plan? If I did this, I wouldn't sign anything payment but I would just let that contractor know he has the job and we need to do further work to finalize the design/cabinet order before we get to a point where I expect him to stick to his estimate and I put $$ down. (Granted, I understand changes in the work order, etc.) Am I being too nice and hurting myself by doing this and eliminating the competitive process? Would you recommend that I have whomever needs to come to the house for a better estimate there to get more solid estimates/ My feeling is that they are basing their estimates on their own KD's design which could vary slightly different from the other so it isn't necessarily an apple to apple comparison for that work, granted there is other reno besides the kitchen.
On the cabinets, after the first round of estimates, I will ask them to do one more estimate based on specifications that would make the cabinet comparison more apples to apples. For example, having them revise the estimate if we used plywood for the box, 3/4" drawers, etc. However, each kitchen plan will likely have some slight differences so it is hard to make it completely apples to apples. Then after that I wanted to just pick one to work wiith to refine the vision. I have some favorite designers emerging but haven't seen their price quotes yet.