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I'm still a bit confused as to who is responsible for getting me the best possible prices once the job has been assigned to a builder. Is the builder supposed to shop around for the best prices for material as well as selecting the most qualified subs at the best prices? Or should I double check his recommendations to be sure that he is not simply taking the first bids that come along? How can I be assured that the builder is not just taking the easy way out at my expense? How do I know?

Anyone have any thoughts on the matter? Ted

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A good builder will always be looking out for your best interests. But that being said, it is your house and your money. So in the end, you should be looking out for yourself and making sure you are getting what you want and paying a fair price for it.

I love it when my clients find a better deal, because it adds more options for me on future clients.
Thanks Randy, I don't want to go sniffing around after my builder trying to second guess him and unless I send out for quotes myself, there is no sure way of knowing if I'm are getting a fair shake or not. I know that there has to be some mutual trust in the relationship but as you point out it's still my money and I have to be careful without getting paranoid. Ted
Ted, I am really confused which is really easy at my age........It seems like you have a communication problem with your builder as you expressed a sense of paranoia.....Is your builder on "fixed price" or T & M? These are two different worlds......T&M takes a lot of trust and a lot of communication as this becomes a mutual build......Fixed Price is "exactly" do not get the option of shopping unless you want to pay for the markup the builder would have made on the quoted item and buy something less expensive......I was working on a quote which was line item.....everything had to be detailed and they could remove whatever they wanted and do it themselves......I walked.......why bid 175k for a project with the appropriate markups and cost factors only to have it reduced by 50k or more?
Trust is a two way street..........My 2 1/ cents worth.
I think I know as to what you are saying Tim but (dumb me) I'm still not knowing whether I'm getting the best deal for my money or not. He (the builder) gave me a price for everything I asked of him. He even shared with me the quote he got from the local lumber company for the material I will need for the job. He also gave me all his labor costs. My tendency is to believe everything he told me and in fact his costs appear to be very reasonable. I guess the next step is up to me. If I want to see if his costs are in line, I should get several competitive bids.... but typical of me, I like the guy and want to sign a contract with him but I don't want to hurt myself either. Ted

When I'm doing something, I tend to go with my feelings. Especially when I'm dealing with subs, I get a vibe and it usually tends to be true. Are you signing a full price contract? If so, the important part of the contract to read is the change order section as that is what details the potential changes in the contract.
I'm not sure what a full price contract is Randy but if it one where he gives me a fixed price for his portion of the job than I'll be committing to that kind of contract. I hear what you are saying about change orders and understand that there is a hefty cost for making changes. Being that I designed the house, I plan to keep changes down to an absolute minimum. Thanks for your help. Ted
You like the guy and people sometimes like me and do not get competitive bids and "liking" is important.........It is a long road working with someone you don't like.......However, we always give several references and trust that people will check them out........It usually allays any fears and they feel more comfortable knowing that we have done good work in the guarantee about the future though
Ya, you're right Tim. After all is said, life is just a big crap shoot isn't it.

You don't. A lot of builders like to go with who they feel comfortable with. And if you're paying the bill, what's a little extra if Cousin Billy's needs a job? Who wants to have a friend who can't buy a round at the bar? Also, the builder's time is important also. I imagine there's those out there that figure why waste tons of time and phone calls just to save you money. If you're uncomfortable, ask for several bids for each stage. That way you actually spare your builder from either having to be the bad guy or sticking you. Most trade folks (especially in a smaller town) hang out with each other. If bids are 10-20% different, with the local dude he drinks beer or goes fishing with being higher than the out-of-towner, who do you think he's picking for you to pay?
I get the picture S and S. Thanks. Ted
Leave it to me to point out another point of view as well, not to muddy up the water, but its something to consider...
Most builders know the local subs in town, and knows the quality and professionalism in which they do the job. Way back when I was a GC, a large part of the bid was how long my guys were on a job. If I had a electrician (not picking on electricians) that could do the job in 8 days for 20,000, and another that could do the job in 13 days for 10,000....the homeowner would actually be paying more for my time on the extra 5 crew sat there for about 3000 per day. The first electrician would have been much cheaper, by the tune of 7000.
This is not to say you should not check out the builder well, but if you find one that you like, have checked out his references WELL (by the way, ask for a list of the last 5 jobs), checked with the BBB, insurance companies and license boards and everything checks out...He might be a good guy to trust.
Just a thought....
I don't blame you a bit for being cautious! We happened to choose 2 contractors from our log home companies list of contractors. The first was a well sought after contractor in our community in Western North Carolina and we was building a log home from 800 miles away. He ended up deserting our job and we was left hanging with a partial site work completed and trying to find a new contractor to take over. We referred to the log home companies' preferred list and found another contractor to construct our log home. It was a cost + 15%. She said she had her own subcontractors that she used and could depend on and had worked for her for years. She showed us several of the homes she had built and liked her work. This contractor ended up having us so far over budget that we had to dismiss this one also.We even went to check on the construction every 6-8 weeks and still had these problems. We have paid a great price to have the work redone from her subcontractors! Please be very cautious who you sign with and have them checked out thoroughly. I sure wouldn't want anyone else to have the terrible experiences of building that we did. This was suppose to be the most exciting events of our lives and has turned out to be the most stressful! Best of luck!


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