Profile picture for mkymlsn

How long should one wait for a contractor to quote on a 600 square foot addition?

The addition is a single story attachment to a ranch and also includes expanding the existing basement under the attachment. The contractor received the construction documents 3 weeks ago from our architect. Am I being impatient or should I give him a call and ask him where he's at?

  • September 02 2010 - US
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Answers (21)

Profile picture for AmberGuth
Working for a Plumbing and Heating contractor I can see both sides of the issue. Often times clients think they are doing their due diligence getting three quotes. We won't actually do one for someone who is just looking for another quote. Our company prides itself on paying our employees a good livable wage. We take the time and the cost of a great deal of education to be the best in town at what we do. This means we aren't the cheapest. We don't want to be the cheapest. That means we would use cheap parts, pay our employees cheap wages and not have a reputable company. We have more than 75 jobs going at any one time between our new construction and service department. That means you may have to be patient for a quote and for the work to start but once it does, we will complete it in a timely manner, using the best quality parts, installed by well trained and certified employees.
  • October 30 2014
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Your expectations should have been conveyed from the time you released the construction docs to the contractor (regardless of hard copy or PDF files). Reasonably it should take a 1-1.5 weeks subject to site specific conditions, scope of work, finishing materials, etc...
  • November 18 2010
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Profile picture for JarydRuffner
A great resource I have found is servicemagic.com. I have referred many clients to their site and all have been very satisfied. They will refer three reputable contractors to come out and give you quotes at no cost to you. They also heavily monitor client satisfaction and I find it easier to give people the name of one website as opposed to keeping numerous contacts around to refer.
  • November 11 2010
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
Whenever I deal with someone who needs to generate an estimate, the last piece of business is "When can I expect the estimate?"

This provides some good initial insight into how the rest of your business dealings will go. I'm even okay (sometimes) with the phone call explaining why the estimate is being delayed.

In addition to the actual estimate (i.e., costs, material quality, etc.), I'm also evaluating how well the contractor is managing their time, as well as if they will communicate with me...or if I'm going to have to hunt them down.
  • November 11 2010
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As many have said, normally person has a good idea after taking measurements, knowing what price range it will be, considering specific windows, doors, flooring, and [link removed by moderator].If it were only painting, we make a habit of measuring interior or exterior, getting paint scheme and schedule from client, calculating, and submitting complete painting quote on site, before we leave, going over all documents. Taking several weeks, I would be very leery, as the contractor does not feel comfortable doing the work, or has not enough passion with what he/she does. This says a lot about future customer service, you may not want. Good Luck!  
  • November 10 2010
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You should get a price within a week.  Sometimes a contractor busy contractro can mean a good one; but you don't want to work with someone that does not have any time for you.
  • November 08 2010
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Most construction is price per square feet, from the low end to the high end, so, he should have given you an idea of the cost based on what you want done. Now, he should be able to give you a proposal within a few days unless he is extremely busy. Now, if he is taking this long to call you back, most likely it will take him forever to get this done. If, I was you, I would look for someone else!!  
  • November 07 2010
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 I am a Home Improvement Contractor in Philadelphia area. We do 2-3 house additions per year. I usually get back with my customers within days with questions or feedback. 3 weeks is a lot of time to prepare the proposal .it takes me about 10-15 hours to calculate an accurate price for a 600 SF this including faxing suppliers for cost of materials specified by the architect 

If you have any questions about House addition please feel free to PM .



Dan 
  • October 27 2010
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Three weeks is way too long.  They have a general idea of price while they are at your house. Fine tuning the details such as type of windows, flooring built ins etc take more time and add to the general price. If you feel there is a lack of communication now it will propably not improve in the future.
  • October 26 2010
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Very good question. Generally speaking when contractors are busy the longer it takes to get back and quotes will typically be on the higher side so best to get a couple of quotes. 
  • October 26 2010
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Yous should always tell the Contractor when you need the quote (be reasonable as to your time frame) if he does not come back within a reasonable time go look for another contractor because he is either to busy or not interested. I recommend looking for a good licensed contractor in places where they have reviews and ratings like Yahoo Local, Yelp, Linked-in, they all post review and you could go to the BBB.
  • October 25 2010
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California has been greatly impacted and contractors are knocking on doors for work. If your area has been just as trounced, then I'd say find a neighbor, colleague, family member who has had some work done recently (last 12 months because many are outright out of business) and get a quote from that contractor.  If you email the plans (always send it with reply requested) then call the contractor back within 48 hours, be proactive.  Most contractors appreciate the client being direct, succinct and accessible.
  • October 20 2010
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Any 203k consultant should be able to handle that within a week at the most. They are in every state, including some are in the state of confusion.
  • October 20 2010
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Well I see nothing wrong with giving the contractor a call.  If you are anxious I would think it to be normal to call the contractor and ask when he expected to have the estimate completed.
  • October 17 2010
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3 weeks is a good amount of time.
If he is a small contractor like myself who does his own estimating it does take a while.
The more sets of plans he received the sooner he will be able to get the estimate back.
I give all my clients a complete line item estimate of every single thing that is going to go into the project.
I also have to shuffle plans around to subcontractors for them to review and get their estimates from them, which takes a while.

We don't just guess at things, our subcontractors all have to review the plans for us to know how much they will charge to complete the project.
Then we take all of our estimates and put them together to give to the client.

PDF's of the plans also help too, that way we can just email which ever pages our subcontractors need.



  • September 07 2010
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Profile picture for Brian French

As his hiring anyone, you should always make your expectation know to them.   Make up a list of expectations:  communication, cleanliness, quality, timeliness ect and also that them know that you will be giving them feedback as to how they are doing.

So, start over.  Call the contractor back and tell them that you are interviewing others for the position and would like to consider them too.

  • September 06 2010
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Yes, I agree, 3 weeks appears to be excessive (unless the person is away on vacation for 2 weeks...but, if this was they case, the contractor should have told you that).  I would think that 1 week would be the standard time.  I do flooring and I try to finish my estimates in 1-2 days.  When I have more complex estimates (e.g. bathrooms it might take and extra couple of days).  I know an addition is more complex,so I think a week is reasonable or maybe 10 days.

I would either follow up or try to find another contractor.  Angieslist.com is a great place to find reliable contractors.  It's based solely on the reviews from other consumers.

Debbie, owner of Floor Coverings International in Westchester NY and Stamford CT.  [website deleted by ZIllow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
  • September 06 2010
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Profile picture for ABBAUSA
An experienced home remodeler could give you a viable usable contract in a week to 10 days. Find another contractor. Like the others stated, this is a bad indicator of the reliability or lack there of your potential contractor.
Look for contractors in your area on this site. www.NARI.org
This group is the National Association for the Remodeling Industry.

Good Luck!

James Callas - Realtor®
  • September 02 2010
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Profile picture for nwhome.us
I'll agree with Wetdawgs and suggest that you should have agreed upon a time-frame.  The real issue is not how long the time-frame is but, is the deadline met.
If the contractor can't meet THAT deadline, they probably won't meet any of the others and that is a total nightmare.
It is important not to specify, but to agree, or have a clear buy-in on the part contractor.  What you need is a situation where there is no excuse as to why the deadline has not been made.
Are you paying the architect for construction supervision?  If so, they shold be dealing with this issue for you.
  • September 02 2010
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Three weeks is a long time.  He should have given you a time frame at the beginning, and if not meeting his predictions should have kept you updated.

  • September 02 2010
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Profile picture for Gannet
If it takes him 3 weeks just to do the estimate, how long will it take him to do the work?  The only thing I'd call him for is to get the documents back.  Times are tough, and these guys are hungry.  There are others who will be glad for the work.
  • September 02 2010
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