Hurting Contractor's Feelings

11 Replies

So this might be ridiculous that I am even worried about this. I met a contractor at a potential BRRRR investment the other night. He seemed like a really nice guy and he has done a bunch of work for a lot of people I know in the area. He is a pastor in his church and his company goes and builds houses for people in natural disasters.

 Should I feel bad about wanting multiple bids on the property, even though his bid was at a very good price for my total numbers? My wife normally handles the people equation of my rental business, because I am too nice and care about people's feelings too much.

Do I need to even tell him that I am getting multiple bids?

One thought was: in order to stay on good terms with him for work in the future, I would pay him $50 or $100 for his time he spent.

I don't want to make the mistake of only getting one quote but at the same time, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.


Why does he have to know you are getting other bids? If you end up going with another contractor, you can tell him that he had a good bid and hope to work together in the future. It is business. I am sure that it wouldn't be the first time that he bid a job that he didn't get. 

Get multiple bids, check contractor references, get visuals of their recent work. It's a business, do what is best for you to vet the contractors.

I agree with what @Daniel Weber said. In the contracting world, it's no surprise to be competing against others. Competition is what keeps the prices down and keeps everyone honest. As long as you didn't say you were only getting one bid, you should be fine here. 

I don't think you need to pay him anything for his time spent putting together a bid (sounds more of a guilt ridden gesture, although nice, no one turns down free money). Contractor's bid work all the time but don't get the job; it's just the nature of the game. If you have him coming out and bidding tons of projects for you, but aren't giving him any work, he will definitely start to realize you are wasting his time and may be upset, so keep that in mind too. 

So in the end: Get your three bids, check everyone's references and their recently completed projects. Make sure everyone got all the scope of work correct, and make your decision based on their track record (this is the key) and cost, don't let emotion influence your decision. If he ends up being your final choice that's great, but if not, no harm no foul. If he does end up getting upset with you for some reason, then you made the right decision not to work with him. That isn't someone you want to place your trust in. 

Also - One "Best Practice" item would be to make sure you notify your losing bidders, just a quick call to explain that you've selected a different contractor for this particular project, you appreciate their time for putting together a bid, and that you hope to work together in the future. This really will go a long way with them. Remember, real estate investing / construction / this industry as a whole are about building relationships, so treat people with respect and those relationships will grow well. 

You should not at all feel bad about getting competitive bids for your project.  No matter how nice a guy he is or has been you still need to be sure that you are paying a fair price for the work being completed.  You are under no obligation to let him know that you are getting other bids but if he has been a contractor for a while i'm sure he would expect this, it is a standard practice in the profession.  

you're WAY overthinking this

Are you being MALICIOUS in your actions? No, then move forward ambitiously. 

you cannot stop along the way and worry if someone may or may not get their feelings hurt by percieved slight they might endure by your hands. You're doing the right thing, and that's plenty, worrying about feelings is only going to serve you negatively. 

Also, if you can't hurt feelings then business is going to be very tough going forward. 

As a contractor I assume every homeowner I talk to is getting several bids.  I want them to know the various techniques for fixing a foundation and to feel comfortable they’re going with the best company and the best systems around. 

I’ve found that some owners like to share that information (maybe hoping to get me to compete on or lower our price, or so they can let me know they’re still in control).  Other owners never mention it, probably for the same reasons you have mentioned.  I never feel bad or take it personally.  There are 1000s of foundations in the area, I can’t fix them all.

Thank you all for the advice. I agree with @Alexander Felice in that I am way overthinking this.

Going forward in the future I will do as suggested and only tell people what they need to know, if asked. It really isn't anyone's business but mine if I get multiple bids or just one, as long as I am honest with everyone involved.

Thanks again.

It’s a business. I am sure he understands you might get other bids. I don’t have any problem letting them know other bids are coming in and you owe it to yourself to get more bids.

Now, if I had 5 people I go to regularly and I always get 3 bids for every job I don’t necessarily take the lowest bid, it depends on several factors. If one contractor does great work and is really reliable I would rather pay a little more and take their bid. If I have two good contractors I may alternate going them jobs to keep a relationship with them but still would get multiple bids.

@John Dellingerare

I’m a hvac contractor and when I bid a job for updating or a changeout, I always tell the customer to get other bids, and if one beats mine to just make sure we bidding on the same playing fields ... meaning equipment efficiency ratings. I usually really stress the fact they should get other bids to my customer. So from a contractor standpoint he shouldn’t be offended at all.