Contractor for Beam replacement

2 Replies

I’m trying to find a good contractor who can replace the main beam. After shopping around, we narrow down to 2 contractors.

Contractor A has good reviews online and offered me to do the job for $13k. He has proper company website which we can check on his jobs. And he actually took us to see his current job site so I kind of feel he is very honest and open. But he hasn’t talked about the payment process or contract etc yet.

Contractor B has no reviews available online and offered me to do the job with $2.5k retainer fee upfront. Total estimate is less than $10k. He seems to be a good reputable guy and has prepared the contract with details of the job process.

Could anyone share your thought, tips,or experience in terms of picking a good contractor if you have similar project experience in the past? Since it is my first time to hear retainer fee, I am being extra cautious..

Any comments or sharing is helpful.

@Hahna Reyes

I'm biased as a licensed engineer, and I don't know the details of what you're dealing with but I'd bet that that project costs you about:

~$1000 max in materials

2 weeks full time labor, max

So, that might give you a feel for what you should be paying.  If you want to provide more project details I'd be happy to weigh in more.  We do post/beam projects often to add value and adjust floor plans in our rehabs.  Because I'm an engineer, my first step is to draw up plans (do a design).  I'd be reluctant to commit this project to a contractor, especially if your jurisdiction is going to require engineering anyways - in this case, your contractor would be hiring an engineer to do plans, as a sub - which is totally backwards.

I'd be looking to pay the 1.5k or whatever it takes for a really good set of engineered plans, that can be built off of.

At that point, you'd be able to more effectively 'shop' the project and I'd bet you'd get labor down closer to the $4k mark.  For a project like this if I was self managing, I'd shoot to budget more around the $4k mark (total), if not less.  Of course, my time/labor is free for our projects on the engineering side of things.

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