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Evaluating a Contractor’s Siding Quote: What You Need to Know

Before you can begin replacing your home’s siding following home damage or simply renovating, it is important to be able to compare different quotes from different contractors. Homeowners tend to compare three to four contractor estimates prior to choosing which contractor to hire for their home renovation project, according to a recent Modernize survey. By comparing a number of contractor quotes, you can set a well-researched budget. By collecting multiple quotes, contractors will want to offer you the best price they can offer to increase their chances of being awarded the siding project. However, while you may be impressed by the lowest quote, you must ensure that you fully understand the specifics of your project.

Siding Estimates Vs. Siding Quotes

It is important to understand the terminology used with your siding project. Local contractors may offer you estimates, quotes, or even bids. Each of these things is different.

If the professional tells you how much they expect the job to cost, this is known as an estimate. In order to create an estimate, a contractor will use their previous experience and knowledge. An estimate is not definitive, however, as the actual cost of your project may be more or less than the estimate by up to 15% of the initial estimate.

Once signed, siding bids and quotes become contracts. These documents should come with plenty of detailed information that covers every aspect of the job.

Evaluating Siding Quotes

It is important to carefully consider each quote you receive. Quotes provided should be clear, detailed and transparent. A proper quote is likely to be quite lengthy, so do not be surprised by this. The quota should clearly list every project detail from the hourly rate that must be paid, deadlines, as well as the cost of the materials required. Other factors such as permits, disposal/dumpsters, labor, as well as portable toilets should be included in the quote as well.

The way the numbers are presented in a quote is vital and should be carefully considered. An experienced and reliable contractor will ensure that the information is clear and organized on a document. In case you feel that the quote does not include every aspect of the project, you should ask for a revised version of the quote before agreeing to work with the contractor.

Siding Quotes are Likely to Vary

Like with most types of quotes, you will get lower and higher quotes from different contractors. A 2,500 square foot home may cost anywhere from $5,000 to $45,000 to have new siding installed, depending on which material you choose to use. As the cost can greatly vary from material to material, you should also be prepared to see greatly varying quotes. It is recommended to do your own due diligence when it comes to choosing the best material for your project. Ensure you perform thorough research on your own before selecting the material that best reflects your needs and wishes. Some things to consider when considering material options are the cost, durability, insulation and difficulty to install as these will all be contributors to the quotes you are given.

Vinyl siding is considered one of the cheaper siding options and is usually priced between $2 and $7 per square foot. Brick siding is also a popular siding option that is slightly more expensive at around $8 to $10 per square foot. On the other end of the spectrum is natural stone, an expensive siding material price at around $50 per square foot. Vinyl is the easiest to install of these options, thus, resulting in lower quotes in most cases. However, the other two mentioned options require a bit more time and effort to install, thus, costing homeowners more.

In case you come across an unusually low bid, this should be a red flag as it is likely to be a scam. On the other hand, exceptionally high bids may be concerning as well. It is important to know how a contractor came to the quote they provided, and you should be able to ask them this.

Factors contributing to higher bids:

  • High-end contractors tend to have more equipment at their disposal.
  • The cost will also be affected by the size of your house and project. The more square feet to cover, the more material required, the more expensive it will be. More material to install also means it will take more time to install, thus, more labour to pay for.
  • The shape of the house may influence the cost of your project. Multiple stories or an architecturally complex house will be more difficult to work with than a one-story box-shaped home which will play a vital role in determining the bids you receive.
  • If old siding needs to be removed, the cost of this will increase your bids. However, if the siding can be installed on top of your old siding, less time and effort are needed, thus, your bid should not be as high.
  • Warranties will be taken into consideration when contractors prepare a bid. Typically, workmanship warranties are offered by installers. These warranties cover the product and ensure that it will be properly installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications and guidelines.
  • Ensure that any warranties mentioned on your quote specify what is included under said warranty and what is not, prior to beginning work.
  • Perform thorough research and be alert for hidden costs. Permits and fines are the most common hidden costs that should be considered. The quote provided should outline your local, state, and federal policies apply to you. The quote should explain how the contractor will work in regard to laws and regulations. This is a topic to be discussed with the contractor prior to signing a contract.

Factors contributing to lower bids:

  • In case a contractor is not covered by insurance or very little insurance, they tend to work for cheaper. Do note, however, that this could leave you responsible for any damage or injuries that happen while working on your home. It is strongly recommended to only work with licensed contractors for home improvement projects.
  • Where hurricanes or storms have recently hit and the demand for siding contractors is high, scammers may take advantage of stressed homeowners. Never fall for a quote that is too good to be true.
  • If a contractor is willing to work for extremely cheap, they are likely desperate for work which is usually a sign that they are not a trusted contractor. Reputable contractors are usually not desperate to find work as the work comes to them.

When it comes to either low or high bids, it is important to thoroughly review your quotes for errors and red flags. However, an error in your quote is not necessarily a sign that the contractor is not reliable or that they are a scammer as mistakes are possible and siding experts are human, after all. Be sure to share any questions or concerns you may have with the contractor.

Perform Contractor Research

By vetting contractors, you can be sure that you are working with a contractor that is suited for your project and reliable.

  • Check out their website. See if it has a professional appearance and whether or not it is kept up to date.
  • Browse client reviews on review sites such as Google Reviews and Yelp. This will give you some reassurance if the contractor is legit and reputable.
  • Find the contractor’s address on their website. This should be a physical address, never a P.O. Box as that can be a reason for concern.
  • Trust your gut when you notice something odd or unusual about a contracting business.

Negotiating Bids is Possible!

Never be afraid to attempt to negotiate with contractors to seek a better price for your project prior to signing a contract. Sharing your budget with the contractor can be beneficial. ensure that the contractor is willing to present any unexpected project changes or expenses in writing. This will be handy when trying to maintain a budget.

Store All Paperwork

Even though you may think it is pointless, it is very important to keep all of the paperwork related to your project. This includes but is not limited to estimates, bids, quotes and contracts. These should be stored in an organized manner and easily accessible should you need to review them in the future.