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Should You Show A Contractor Your Other Bids?

Posted by: Heidi Nyline

Whenever my kids do something that inevitably leaves them in tears or me with a mess to clean up, I ask them a simple question, "Was that a good idea or a bad idea?". The answer is generally "bad idea" and hopefully that little message gets stored in their memory bank for the next time.

If you have ever gone through the process of getting estimates from paint contractors and shown the contractor your other bids when you met with him, you probably have asked yourself the same question.

Most of the advice out there is that it is a bad idea to let a contractor see other estimates and if the contractor himself asks to see them, consider it a red flag.

A good paint contractor can put together an estimate for painting without the benefit of seeing another contractor's price. If he can't, he shouldn't be in business.
I disagree. I think it is absolutely okay to show a paint contractor the other estimates you got - with one big condition. He has already presented his estimate for painting in writing. A good paint contractor can put together an estimate for painting without the benefit of seeing another contractor's price. If he can't, he shouldn't be in business.

But once you have gotten your painting estimates and you are following up with the contractor you are considering hiring, sitting down with him to compare the estimates you have received can be a very good idea. Here's why.

You are not a painter. That is afterall why you are hiring a professional painter, right? Taking advantage of his expertise and understanding of the painting process can help you determine whether you are comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges or worse - apples to a bag of apple peels.

The different parts of a painting estimate including the prep work being done, the products being used, the number of coats being applied, the application process and the warranty can all make a big difference in the cost of painting your house or building. While all your estimates might be similar in price, they could vary wildly on the work being proposed. In the end, the same price might not equal the same amount of work or the same quality of products.

So if you have a stack of painting estimates and can't make heads or tails out of them and need some expert advice, why not set up an appointment with us and we can help you make sure the next painter you hire leaves you thinking, "that was a good idea".

Posted by:
Great points! I think it makes perfect sense to ask questions after you receive price from contractor. Why are the prices so different on the bids? What more do you provide over the other contractors? Great post.
Posted by: Heidi Nyline
Thanks for stopping by Chris. It is so important that homeowners understand the differences between estimates that they get so they can see when the cheapest price is not always the best way to go.
Posted by: Chris Haught
I agree, many times customers only compare prices, when the scope of work can vary depending on the contractor.

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