To Bid Or Not To Bid

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained”, as the saying goes. So, you have to respond to the ‘request to bid’. Sometimes the owner has done some homework, or has some experience in the building industry. The proposed project has all the keys of progress. Congratulations, you’re lucky! But that’s not the reason for this blog. We want to discuss the ‘appointment that seemed to translate into big-time remodeling’; and a six month project. So we drive to the site and meet the owners. We spend some time getting acquainted and eventually get around to talking about the building intentions. Then the bomb gets dropped. Some major snag in the proposed design, or existing structure or some incidental issue that throws a stick into the spokes. You just wasted a day! Case in point:

A refferal came in. A good sized job. I made the call and set up the appointment. I drove twenty miles to speak to a homeowner and his wife. They wanted a room addition off the master bedroom with a remodeled master bath with walk-in closet. After the usual chitter-chatter intro, we toured the home and listened to the ideas. This looks good. My contractor pal is going to love me for bringing this one in. Then the speed bump. After spending a couple hours considering the interior and new floor plan ( Cut and stack roof had a bearing load issue) I said I needed to examine the exterior for slope, soil, etc. This is what I found. The side of the house they wanted to remodel had the inlet of their septic tank exactly ten feet away from the building. (Code minimum) Going around the corner where they wanted to push out the bathroom was a three ton underfloor heat pump with rigid ducting going through the stem wall. I was bummed! There is no job here!    After spending all my time, I walked away bid-less. To build on where the folks wanted to, would mean the re-location of the septic tank and the heat pump. More money than the owners budgeted for the project. And no other location for which to accommodate their dream.

In the construction trade, the contractor or rep for the company must take all appointments. That is, if he wants to work. But many times a hangup prevents the project from even starting. Site issues, code compliance, financial problems, Wild-land Urban Interface. The list goes on. The homeowner is innocent for the most part. They need the consultation from the pro. The stark reality of bidding is that; “this is the way it has always been done”. What’s the answer? Tireless and diligent education to the masses.

It’s why I write these blogs! It’s why I do the radio show.

Want more examples of when not to bid? How bout the “House That Stinks” or “The New Hot Tub On The Existing Second Floor Deck” or one of my favorites, ” The Owner Who Wanted To Fix A Dry Rotted Leaking Flat Roof On A Square CMU House That Could Have Had Trusses Built With A New HVAC Attic Unit  (118 Degree Summers) For The Same Amount Of Money” simply hit the grey comment box to the right of the Title and ask.

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