How To Evaluate Contractors’ Siding Quotes
Comparing contractor quotes is an important step in the journey replace the siding on your home after damage or as a home improvement. A recent Modernize survey revealed 63 percent of homeowners compare three to four contractor estimates ahead of a home improvement project. Evaluating multiple siding quotes helps homeowners scope their budget and encourages contractors to be competitive with their pricing. It is important to understand your project’s unique parameters and why quotes may differ from each other.
The Difference Between Siding Estimates and Quotes
The terminology used with your siding project is important. You may receive siding quotes, estimates or bids from local contractors — but these contain different sets of information.
An estimate on a project is roughly how much the professional believes the job will cost. A contractor will use their past experience and expertise to make this estimate. The actual cost of the project may be more or less— within 10 to 15 percent.
Siding quotes or bids, become contracts once they are signed. This should be a very detailed document that outlines all aspects of the project. At Modernize, we pair homeowners with contractors that offer free siding quotes for the project.
Evaluating Siding Quotes
Once you have received multiple quotes, carefully consider each. Your project quote should be transparent, thorough and even lengthy — depending on what it will take to install new siding for your home. Every detail of the project should be noted, including the cost of materials, start and finish dates, and hourly rate. Your quote should also include factors like disposal/dumpsters, permits, and even portable toilets. Labor should also be included in your quote.
It is important to consider the numbers— as well as how they are presented. A good contractor will make sure the information is in an organized document. If your quote is not properly itemized, feel comfortable asking for a revised quote before signing a contract.
Your Siding Quotes May Vary
For a 2,500 square foot house, the average homeowner can pay anywhere between $5,000 to $45,000 for siding installation for their home, depending on the material used. Because of the price difference in materials, your siding quotes can vary dramatically. We encourage homeowners to research the type of siding material that are best for them, based on price range, maintenance of material, insulation and times and difficulty of the installation.
On the low end, vinyl siding costs between $2-7 per square foot compared to brick siding which can cost between $8-10 per square foot. The most expensive siding material is natural stone, with some contractors quoting up to $50 per square foot. Both brick and stone have a more complex installation process than vinyl siding. The additional time needed contributes to their higher cost.
Extremely low bids can be the sign of a scam — and extremely high bids could be just as concerning. It’s important to understand why an estimate or quote is extremely high or low.
Factors that will lead to a higher bid:
- High-end contractors will likely have more equipment and overhead.
- The size of your home or projects also plays into the cost. The higher square footage you have to your home, the more materials you will need and the longer the installation process will take. Which results in a higher bid.
- The shape of your home will also impact the price. A one-story, box-shaped home is less complex than a multi-story, architecturally complex house.
- In some instances, siding can be installed over the existing siding. Otherwise, the old siding will need to be removed, which will increase the cost of your project.
- Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer workmanship warranties that assure the product will be installed in a way that meets the manufacturer’s instructions and specification. Some manufacturers also offer warranties with their products. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers — and in what it doesn’t.
- Research and be aware of hidden costs — like permits and potential fines. Your quote should include a proper breakdown of how local, state and federal policy applies to you and what your contractor will or will not do in that regard. Discuss this with your contractor.
Factors that will lead to a lower bid:
- If a contractor does not have proper insurance (or any at all), they will often provide a lower bid. This may leave the homeowner responsible for laborer injuries or damages that occur. Modernize recommends that homeowners always select a licensed contractor for their home improvement project.
- If there has been a recent hurricane or storm, and demand for home improvement projects are high, scammers may prey on stressed homeowners. If a bid is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Extremely low bidders may also be desperate for a job, which is never a reassuring sign.
For both high and low bids, always check your siding quotes for errors. Contractors are human and, while rare, errors can happen. Communicate any and all questions and concerns with your contractors.
Research Your Contractors
Vetting your contractors will ensure you find the best, reliable, siding installer for your project.
- Visit a contractor’s website to ensure it is professional looking and updated.
- Check review sites and make sure they are accredited through the Better Business Bureau.
- Look at a contractor’s content information to make sure they have a physical address and not a P.O. Box (which can be a worrisome sign).
- If something feels off about a contractor or business — go with your gut.
To help homeowners easily vet and find a trusted siding contractor, Modernize recently created a free contractor checklist. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.
Homeowners Can Negotiate Bids
Remember, you can always negotiate with your contractor on the price for the successful project before signing a contract. Discuss your budget with your contractors. Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget.
Keep All Paperwork
Lastly, keep all estimates, quotes, and contracts in a folder so you can reference these details easily if you have any questions or concerns throughout your siding installation.