All the bids are in. And what’s most surprising is that they keep going up and up. And we keep asking ourselves, How in the world do these outfits structure their projects so as to come in so much different from one another?<br />n<br />nThe lowest bidder may actually get the job. But he’s not the lowest just because he’s a low baller. No. What’s different about this guy is the fact that he has a different outlook on things. His bid is <em>labor only</em>. That’s <strong>it</strong>. He gave an estimate on what the materials would cost, and the couple of trades we would need to source ourselves. But after putting all the numbers together, he comes in a healthy percentage below the next guy.<br />n<br />nThing is, he doesn’t mark up the materials. He buys them, gives you the receipt, and asks for reimbursement. Or, he tells you what he needs and you make sure he has it when he needs it. That means zero markup. And, he doesn’t have a substantial line item called “profit and overhead”, like some of the others. He’s just making his money off the labor.<br />n<br />nThere’s also the issue of not all the trades being represented. Like stucco. Which can be a big expense. But we know enough people to handle this little bit of subcontracting on our own. Main thing, too, is that we save by not having a middleman taking a cut, but still have the job supervision (read: project management) of a general contractor being in charge.<br />n<br />nAre we just trying to talk ourselves into going with this guy. Have to admit, we probably are. But the references checked out, licensing is all in order, and the price is right. It will be a bit more work due to our owning some of the subcontractors, but just enough to make it fun. And we get all that is in the plans; no scaling back, which was the other option.<br />n<br />nDay of Big Decision is imminent.