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Question DetailsAsked on 5/2/2016

How are contractors chosen?

I know that in a project many contractors will come together in a bidding and then the one with the lowest quotation eventually wins... But is it always the case? Does the client have an influence in the choice of contractor? And i can't seem to differentiate between a consultant and a contractor.

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Angies List (AL) listings are open to all contractors, so being on the List does not "mean" anything in and of itself with respect to contractor abilitiy or relaibility or satisfaction levels. For "quality" or "customer satisfaction" info you need to Search the List and go through ratings and reviews on individual contractors/vendors.


Unless you are talking the new (I don't think it is in effect yet) plan that AL wrote about where AL will actually select contractors for your job, AL does not actually "select" any contractors - you do. Personally, I don't think that plan will get off the ground, because it in effect makes AL the General Contractor and means tehy would be offering construction and maybe engineering services, which they are not licensed to do.


If using the QuickFix App they will call around and find several contractors who indicate they are interested in your type of job, but you still make the final decision and get bids.


AL does NOT have a function where you put your job specifics on the website and contractors contact you with bids.


The normal mode of operation using AL is to Search the List (at left end of green banner bar) by Category (list of all categories here - https://www.angieslist.com/services.htm) and go through the ratings and reviews to select a single contractor to come out (for small repair jobs or emergencies) or select several to come bid your job (if a larger or "planned" project). Vendors that pop up in a category or keyword search (as opposed to specific company name search) are listed by ratings - A thru C just like a school report card. They are listed first by those that advertise on AL or offer Deals/Coupons, then randomly by the others in a given rating, and so on through the A and B ratings (which are allowed to advertise), then the C's. D and F ratings do NOT show up in keyword or category searches - only if you search by company name, because they are in the Doghouse for poor performance (D) or blocked (F) due to terrible ratings or failure to respond to a complaint or because a customer shows they are operating illegally or such reason.


Then, after you receive the bids and throw out any that don't make sense or look like they are so cheap as to be unreasonable, you (perhaps after a follow-up interview and second walk-through on a larger job) select a contractor and negotiate detailed terms, scope of work, payment terms and amount, and schedule and then sign a contract or purchase order.


When you get bids, you are not obligated to accept any of them if you don't like them - you can (say if there was a major confusion by all on scope of work or your initi8al scope bit off far more than you could chew financially) amend your scope of work and ask the bidders to resubmit their bids to match the new scope, you can choose one to work with and further refine the details (especially common with remodel jobs and such where the exact finishes and fixtures and such may not be known or chosen at bidding time), or you can throw them all out (though that of course affects your schedule) and start over.


It is not at all uncommon to NOT take the low bidder - because you feel he misjudged the scope of work, because you did not feel comfortable with him when you talked to him, because you don't get a "professional" enough feel from him, because he cannot come up with the proofs of licensing, insurance, bonding, or whatever reason.


Consultant versus Contractor - technically in legal terms all will be a "contractor" or "vendor" - but consultants basically give you adivce in their area of expertise and may provides designs, but do not actually "do" any construction. Common examples - Architect for new construction/significant addition or remodel, Structural Engineer (who commonly works "under" an architect if there is an architect on board but also works independently if your issue is basically just structural like removing load bearing beams or walls or remedial repair of structural members), Civil Engineer (commonly for site development or major excavation, slope stability, or water control issues), Interior Decorator, Landscape Architect (for major outdoor feature or landscaping planning), Arborist (for tree and shrub problem or disease advice), Home Inspector, Construction Manager, etc.


One other thing you might consider - google the difference in definition between "construction bid" and "construction estimate". A bid should be a firm price, which is then accepted (or rejected) by you and becomes the contract price (subject to any final adjustments in scope of work before signing the contract, or any change orders you ask for or agree to after contract signing). An "estimate" is just that - an estimated price, and generally accepted that (subject to any changes you make or unanticipated conditions encountered) should be within 10-20% of the final price before a court will blink an eye at the change, and a contractor can ask for adjustments or justify them for change of conditions encountered in the work. Generally speaking, try for a firm bid if the scope of work is well defined - estimates should be reserved for cases like excavation or removal of rotted material where the exact scope cannot be defined up front. Even then it is commonly possible to divide the work up into several firm bid amounts - initial opening up and disposal, then have the contractor give a firm bid on repairs or construction or whatever once the full scope of work is visible.


Might look up what "change orders" are too - bearing in mind they are a MUTUAL thing - contractor almost always prepares them (as least for residential work), but you BOTH have to agree on the scope and price changes and sign it for it to be effective, and you do NOT have to necessarily accept the contractor's proposed price - negotiation is fair.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD




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