- Compare apples to apples! Many people who ask for a Trexdeckdon’t realize that there are 3 tiers of price points depending on the color/style of Trex you choose. One contractor’s bid may be priced for the lowest tier, and another contractor may have bid the higher tier. (Ask which line they priced it for and make sure the other estimates are the same.)
Another arbitrary factor most people don’t realize is the different trim options involved. Whether a treated lumber deck or Trex, a border piece for the decking can make a huge difference in the overall look. On the Trex decks, a Trex facia board makes a world of difference as well. One contractors bid may include these features, and another’s may not. You may really want it, or perhaps it’s a frill you’d be totally fine not paying for. You will not know unless you ask! [Justin – thinking maybe posting some pics here demonstrating the difference would be helpful?] (Ask if they use a perimeter trim board on the decking and – with Trex decks – whether or not the bid includes a facia board)
- It can be very disappointing to meet with 3 contractors, and wait 2-3 weeks to get estimates back only to find out that the project you were hoping to spend $10,000 on costs $25,000 and you simply cannot afford it. And then worse, you are still left without a viable solution after all of your meetings/work.
It would be a much more pleasant experience for you from the beginning if you simply inform the contractor’s you are meeting with that you have a budget of $10,000, and want the biggest best design they can possibly give you for that budget. This can be scary because it feels like you are “showing your cards’ by revealing your budget, and of course you don’t want to be taken advantage of. But this is simply not something to be afraid of and here is why. The same economical factors are still involved, but in reverse. Instead of trying to get the winning bid on something you cannot afford anyway, the contractors are competing to give you the biggest and best design on something you can! You now know that you’re going to get 3 options within your budget. All you have to do now is choose your favorite one! Compare that experience to the one described in the paragraph above.
That all being said, if you are confident that what you are asking for is going to land somewhere in your budget, then by all means just collect estimates according to your design preferences and award the bid to the contractor of your choice.