Here’s what to expect—and ask for—as you review your estimate. Remember that as part of any Yardzen package, we offer a free bid review service, and we are always happy to assess any bid you receive for best practices and fair market values.
As part of Yardzen’s Pro Promise, Yardzen’s Build Concierge team offers dedicated, 1:1 support to help review your estimate for accuracy and fair market value, and manage your installation project.
Type of estimate
Before getting an estimate, you might receive a preliminary one which is much more bare bones. It might have limited information and detail as well as a ballpark range for expenses. This should be followed up by a proper, more detailed estimate if you’d like to move forward with the contractor.
Professionalism of estimate
Since this is a person you’ll be working closely with, you should like the way they present important information. Make sure it’s professional and thorough, and includes components like client name, project address, date, and company name.
Scope of work
Make sure the details of what will be done are sufficiently described. It doesn’t have to be overly technical in detail, but it should at least include a general description and proposed materials.
If pricing is organized by line item, it can give an indication of the unit cost being proposed. This enables you to check to see that pricing falls within the general industry standard ranges for the region. The ranges can be broad, and may be impacted by material choices, access to the property, and volume of material involved. Prep work, delivery cost, or equipment fees may or may not be included in the line item, so that will impact each contractor’s unit price as well.
If you are reviewing and comparing multiple estimates, expect differences in how the contractors price out their bids. Rarely do two estimates describe the exact same proposed work, so it’s important to identify the differences as they may be the reason why two estimates have a big price gap.
Evaluating your contractor
There may be some other reasons why pricing differs. For example, does the contractor tend to do higher end work, with premium materials? Or is it a new contractor trying to stay competitive with an interest in creating a body of work and building a reputation? Is it a specialized company that is set up to efficiently install a limited number of elements? Or a more planting focussed business with minimal hardscaping services? These are other things to consider about choosing a contractor outside of the quoted cost.