When it comes to a bathroom remodel, comparing contractor quotes is a critical step. A recent Modernize survey showed that 63 percent of homeowners compare three to four contractor estimates ahead of a home improvement project. Evaluating multiple bathroom remodel quotes helps homeowners better understand their budget while also encouraging contractors to be competitive with their pricing. Still, it is important to understand your project’s intricacies and why quotes may differ from each other. 

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The Difference Between Bathroom Estimates and Quotes

When it comes to your bathroom remodel project, the terminology can be really important. That is because you may receive a mix of bathroom remodeling quotes, estimates, and bids from local contractors— but contrary to popular belief, those are not interchangeable terms. 

For starters, an estimate on a project is a rough idea of how much a professional thinks the job will cost. Typically, a contractor cites past experience and expertise to calculate an estimate. The actual cost of the project can be more or less than the estimate, within 10 to 15 percent. 

Meanwhile, bathroom remodel quotes, or bids, become contracts once they are signed. These should be represented by a very detailed document, outlining all aspects of the project. At Modernize, we pair homeowners with contractors that offer free bathroom remodel quotes for the project. 

Comparing Bathroom Remodel Quotes

It is important to carefully consider each bathroom remodel quote once you have received them all. Quotes should be transparent, thorough, and even lengthy, depending on how intricate your bathroom remodel might be. Every detail of the project should be noted, including the cost of the materials, start and finish dates, and hourly rate. Your quote should also include factors like disposal or dumpsters, permits, and even portable toilets. Your quote should also include the contracting company’s labor rate. 

When it comes to evaluating those quotes, the way the numbers are presented, along with the actual cost comparison, are all things to consider carefully. A good contractor will make sure the information is direct, transparent, and easy to follow in an organized document. If your quote is not itemized properly, you should feel comfortable asking for a revised quote before signing a contract or looking at a different quote. 

Your Bathroom Remodel Quotes May Vary

In an ideal scenario, your bathroom remodel quotes will be very similar, but sometimes bids can be wildly different. Extremely low bids can be a red flag, signifying a scam. It is important to understand why a quote or estimate is extremely high or low. Remember that you have the final say. 

Some factors that can lead to a higher bid include: 

  • A high-end contractor will likely have more equipment and overhead
  • Bathroom tiles and fixtures can drastically vary in price. A price jump may be due to the tile material. Modernize encourages homeowners to research the lifespan and other pros and cons that come with different bathroom tile and fixture materials to decide what is best for your home and budget. 
  • Warranties may impact your quoted cost.
  • Research and be aware of hidden costs, like permits and removal fees. Discuss these factors ahead of time with your contractors. 

Factors that will lead to a lower bid: 

  • If a contractor lacks proper insurance — or any at all — they will often provide a lower bid. This could leave the homeowner responsible for laborer injuries or any damages that occur. Modernize recommends selecting a licensed contractor for any bathroom remodeling project. 
  • Extremely low bidders may also be desperate for a job, which is never a reassuring sign.

Whether the bid is high, low, or right in the middle, make sure to check your bathroom remodel quotes for any errors or contradictions. Contractors are human and errors can always happen. Communicate any questions, concerns, or need for clarification with your contractors. 

Research Your Contractors

To make sure you have secured the best, most reliable, bathroom remodel contractor, Modernize encourages homeowners to do a little research before making a final choice. 

Some methods for research include: 

  • Checking a contractor’s website to make sure it looks professional and is current 
  • Look up your contractor’s reviews and make sure they are accredited with the Better Business Bureau
  • Make sure the contractor has a physical address, not just a P.O. Box (which can be a red flag) 
  • Trust your instincts: If something feels off, consider other options 

Modernize’s contractor checklist is a free tool to help homeowners easily vet and secure a trusted bathroom remodel contractor. You can access our interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here

Homeowners Can Negotiate Bids

Remember, when it comes to choosing a contractor, you are in charge! You can always negotiate with your contractor on the price for the successful project before signing a contract. Discuss your budget ahead of time with your contractors. Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget. 

Keep All Paperwork

Modernize recommends keeping all of your estimates, quotes, contracts, and written proposals in one folder so you can easily reference details as things proceed with your bathroom remodel.