A bid should contain enough information to properly evaluate the contractor, a description of the work to be performed, specifications, materials, other important requirements and last, but not least, the contractor’s price to perform the service. The bid should use the “Goldilocks” approach: not too little, not too much, juuuust right. So what is “just right”? Every bid should have these components:
Contract With Proper Provisions. A document like the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Contractors Contract should be used which includes:
- Contractor licensing information
- Name and contact information
- Description of the work (specifications, drawings and materials)
- Requirement for quality workmanship
- Time frame for work completion
- Reasons and procedure for termination
- Penalties for unreasonable delays
- Payment schedule
- Requirement for Lien Releases
- Signature lines for both parties
Detailed Drawings & Specifications. A description of the work and materials including blueprints and engineering reports if the work is complex. Common projects like roofing, landscaping and painting should always have considerable detail.
Addendum. If there is an exception or limitation to the work, an attachment should be included that fully describes it.
Insurance Information. On sizeable projects, the contractor should provide a General Liability Certificate of Insurance naming the association as an “Additional Insured”. If the contractor has employees, a current copy of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance information should be included. If there is more than one worker, don’t fall for the “we’re all independent contractors” ploy. If they are, they should all produce business cards, General Liability insurance, proper licenses and other confirming evidence. If they can’t, they aren’t.
Performance Bond. On projects that are complex and expensive, it may be wise to require that the contractor provide a performance bond (cost is 2.5% of the contract amount) that will pay for another contractor to finish the job if the original one is unable or unwilling. The association pays for it but it is good insurance. Contractors with poor credit can’t get them.
References for Similar Work. Get reference contact information (names, addresses and phone numbers) and make the calls. This is your best screening tool.
A final word … When requesting contractor bids, it’s very important to use the services of a knowledgeable attorney to review the contract. The attorney will ensure that a contract with provisions that will reasonably protect the association.
A comprehensive bidding system and attorney review will help ensure that the contractor does your bidding and not his. A “bid” of precaution, will lead to “bidder” results. Just a little “bid” of timely advice for planning for your fair weather projects.