How to communicate with general contractors during the bidding phase and site visits

Congratulations on entering the bidding phase of your project! After putting effort into planning and budgeting for your renovations, you’re now ready to start receiving quotes from contractors and site visits.

If it’s your first time doing a major home renovation, there are some things you should know before engaging with general contractors to ensure that the process runs smoothly.

If you’re an experienced home renovator, this guide will be a helpful refresher on what to expect and how to make the most out of the tendering process.

In this guide, we’ll cover the following key things you should know when receiving quotes for a home renovation project:

  • What happens after getting your estimate
  • How to make the most out of a general contractor site visit
  • A bit about the contractors you’ll be meeting
  • Dos and dont’s during the bidding process
  • What to do if you need assistance

Note that we will be updating this page to include more information and keep it relevant. We recommend that you bookmark this page and come back regularly to revisit its content and stay up-to-date with our latest home renovation tips.

What happens after I get my estimate?

Once your project is posted on the Billdr platform, general contractors in your area will be able to view details of your renovations and confirm their interest in bidding on your project. As a reminder, Billdr only shares information about your project with general contractors that we have personally vetted. You should expect to receive two-to-three quotes depending on the size of your project.

Once a contractor confirms that they’re interested in bidding on your project, you’ll receive an introductory email including their contact details and portfolio of recent projects. Contractors will typically make the first move and reach out by phone or email to introduce themselves and arrange a time to meet with you. You’re also free to contact them directly to set up a visit.

If a few days go by and you haven’t heard anything yet, contact your Billdr project manager for assistance.

How to make the most out of a general contractor visit

Having a general contractor visit your property is an excellent opportunity to get to know them on a personal level. During this time, you can ask them questions about how they would envision completing your project.

In order to make the most of the visit, we recommend preparing a list of questions you’d like to ask them. Asking the same questions to different contractors will also help highlight the differences between how each contractor operates. For many Billdr clients, price is not always the most important factor in selecting a general contractor, so asking a broad range of questions will help you later on as you evaluate your options.

Common questions to ask a general contractor might include:

  • What is your current availability? When would you be able to start our project if we move forward with you?
  • How would you break down and sequence the work?
  • Do you provide any support in selecting and procuring finishing materials?
  • Are there any major risks you foresee on our project that we should be aware of?
  • We’re not sure how to tackle this problem, do you have any creative ideas or solutions?
  • How do you prefer to communicate during the project?
  • Do you have any recommendations of your own for our project?

Remember that your selected general contractor will become an important part of the project, and someone you’ll be communicating with regularly throughout your renovations. You should feel comfortable and happy with the contractor you choose for the job.

A bit about the contractors you’ll be meeting

At Billdr, we only work with vetted professionals who are experienced in their craft. Many general contractors from the Billdr network are owner-operators, and have a deep technical understanding of home renovation and construction. A typical contractor works long hours, and spends time supervising their construction sites, workers, and subcontractors, responding to new potential clients, developing estimates and proposals, and taking care of their business administration needs.

Contractors love working with Billdr clients because they’re always highly motivated, knowledgeable about their project, and ready to start construction. For this reason, many of our contractors will do their best to prioritize meeting with you.

Dos and don’ts during the bidding process

Dos

Respect each other’s time

Try to avoid canceling and changing visits — especially last minute — after they’ve been scheduled with a contractor. Doing so will cause delays in receiving your quotes. If you run into any difficulties when scheduling a visit with a contractor, reach out to your Billdr project manager for assistance.

Ask lots of questions

Asking questions is the best way to get to know a contractor and make the most of your home visit. Seeing how different contractors respond to your questions will also shed light on differences in working style, timeline, and availability that will later help you make your decision.

Be open and transparent

The more you share about your project, the better a contractor will be able to tailor their quote. All contractors from the Billdr network have access to detailed information about your project, including your established budget range, before they visit. By sharing your goals, priorities, and concerns, contractors will be better able to help you with ideas and solutions.

Don’ts

Avoid changing the scope of your project once you’ve started meeting with contractors

Doing so can be confusing for both you and the contractors — especially when you receive quotes later and try to remember which changes you discussed with which contractors. Should you need to make any scope changes at this stage, contact your Billdr project manager immediately, so they can update your project information before general contractors schedule their visits. You’ll have a last chance to review the scope and make changes when negotiating the final contract after selecting a contractor.

Don’t schedule multiple contractors to visit you at the same time

While it may seem efficient to stack your contractor visits, it will also create chaos on-site and won’t allow you to get to know any contractor particularly well. It may also send a negative signal to the contractor that you don’t trust them or value their time.

What to do if you need assistance

At any point during the process, you can reach out to your Billdr project manager for help and advice. They can assist you with scheduling visits if you have trouble reaching general contractor(s). They can also help you review quotes once you receive them, and provide advice on how to do your due diligence on each contractor.