Two Bids? Five Bids? How Many Bids?


Photo credit: Noah Sussman
Photo credit: Noah Sussman

What’s your belief?

During every consultation that HomeProHub performs, homeowners always inquire, “How many bids should I ask for?” If you’re using the HomeProHub service to find your contractor, you can get as many bids as you’d like.

If you’re not, then each bid represents a lot of time and effort spent on your part. That’s why this is such a complicated question. If you only attain one or two bids, that’s not enough; if you go after eight to ten bids, that’s far too many.

Today you’re going to learn the pitfalls of not enough bids, too many bids, and the magic number that is just right.

Not Enough Bids

Let us first show you why one or two bids aren’t going to be sufficient during your next home improvement project. Spoiler alert! When you invite a contractor into your home, what you are really doing is inviting a salesperson into your home. Because salespeople are paid on commission, there is a lot of pressure on them to close the deal. Factors such as how much money the salesperson is trying to keep for his wallet or something as simple as how much overhead that company has means that the price could be anywhere on the map. If you only have one or two to choose from, how can you possible know which one is right for you?

Furthermore, there’s no way for you to see all the available options because contractor don’t carry more than a couple of products. So with only a few bids, you will only see a limited amount of options.

The same principle holds true for getting a sense of your contractor’s capabilities. Let’s use a window project as an example. Again, if you only have one or two bids – and let’s say those contractors just happen to only do retrofit projects – then you won’t even know that the option for a new construction project exists.

Bottom line: You simply need more bids to get an idea of pricing, options, and capabilities.

Too Many Bids

Now we’re going to look at the other side of the coin. What happens when you go out and get anywhere from eight to ten bids?

  • You’ll see a broad spectrum in pricing. The delta between the highest bid and the lowest bid may be thousands of dollars.
  • Paralysis through analysis sets in and oftentimes homeowners give up because pricing and options are all over the place.
  • Not only will you have too many price points to figure out, the same holds true for products. With so many to choose from, it becomes nearly impossible to nail one down.
  • It can be brain overload when trying to remember what contractor number two said once you get all the way to contractor number nine. You may get so caught up in number nine’s spiel that you forget how perfect number two was for your project. This is a very dangerous potential.
  • Although eight-plus bids gives you a broad spectrum on a contractor’s capabilities, at a certain point the excitement to get your dream project underway will stop as new information gets presented by the other contractor and you try to compare that information to something another contractor said to you. It’s exhausting!
  • When you finally get to the end of this long and convoluted process, the decision can often be so difficult that homeowners throw in the towel.

Just The Right Amount Of Bids

Here is why HomeProHub highly recommends three to five bids for your project. You’ll be able to compare a manageable amount of price points. You’ll get to see the contractor’s capabilities all based upon the same project specifications. You’ll be comparing apples to apples, which means you can make a logical decision.

Attaining three to five won’t overwhelm you and makes it a lot easier to remember what each contractor was like and how you felt about their presentation. We also would suggest obtaining these three to five bids in as short amount of time as possible. This will make it a lot easier to mentally process the information, and it also keeps you engaged in the process. We see a lot of homeowners gather bids over the course of weeks and then have “life” happen, which derails the process. Remember, prices go up not down – waiting could cost you money!

So as we asked earlier, what’s your belief?

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