Getting What You Pay For – Part 4

Concluding our 4 part blog on the differences that can attribute to contractors having varying estimates for the same project, we’ll not only focus on the totals for the example job, but also a type of material.  After the complete cleaning of an attic, the final step is encapsulation.  Encapsulating is sealing the surface with a product that inhibits the future growth and spread of mold and mildew on the cured film surface.  This product itself is not a paint or just a primer.  It is a very thick coating with fungicidal based additives and is quite expensive.  A 5 gallon bucket of such material generally costs just under $300 per unit, while a 5 gallon bucket of primer has a general per unit cost of $77.  Many restoration contractors use regular primer when sealing a surface, and some compromise the remediation process by just doing light surface cleaning and then quickly painting.  Aesthetically the project may have the same appearance when completed, but in the long term, the faster and cheaper method won’t last.  Let’s break down the numbers:

Contractor #1  –  Bid:  $5,500   –   Work Days:  5

Labor Cost:  $900   –    Material Cost:  $331 (3 buckets of encapsulate & chemicals)

Profit:  $4,269

Contractor #2  –  Bid:  $8,900   –   Work Days:  5

Labor Cost:  $1,600   –   Material Cost:  $1,067 (3 buckets of higher grade encapsulate & chemicals)

Profit:  $6,233

Now, with Contractor #2 not only charging more but making more, doesn’t this make a case for hiring Contractor #1?  Before you answer remember a few more points.  In Part 2, we discussed that Contractor #2 is a certified firm and the costs that come with holding that type of certification.  When you add those factors coupled with the higher costs of insurance, maintenance and replacement of filters on higher grade equipment, (discussed in Part 3), and several other types of costs like workman’s comp, the profit between the two will be nearly the same.

So, in the end the difference monetarily upfront is drastic and many people may lean towards the cheaper price.  But when weighing all the factors, it’s clear to see that hiring a more established, better educated, more equipped and honest contractor from the start will get you a better job and clearly be money better spent.

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About the author: Joe Fiorilli