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This is the boilerplate reply I use whenever a potential client asks for any kind of cost breakdown in my proposals:

We don't provide cost breakdowns in our proposals for two reasons.

The first is the simple and honest reason that they just wouldn't be accurate. All our projects are priced on the basis of an anticipated overall margin based on anticipated labour and materials input costs by task (e.g., demolition, framing, plumbing, electrical, drywall, etc.). Our input cost estimates will be high is some cases, low in others. But we can safely anticipate that all input costs combined over the course of the entire project will ‘average out’ within anticipated parameters so that the desired margin will be met (and it makes no difference to you as this is a fixed-price contract wherein the only avenue for cost variance is in the listed allowances).

The second reason is that it begs the question as to what use would be made of a more detailed cost breakdown. As a rule, we general contractors very strongly prefer to work with our own roster of subcontractors and suppliers. But if, say, you think our plumbing estimate is too high, are you then going to try to find your own plumber? And how are you going to exert control over the timing of his work, in line with the overall project schedule, as I can with my own subcontractors? And how do you guarantee the quality of his work? Who will be held liable/responsible if something goes wrong?
 

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Hey all…
I’m new here to the forum.
We have a decent project we just bid on and the homeowner wants me to “at my leisure” hand over all of my sub contractor bids.
Never had this request and it makes me feel uneasy.
Thoughts?
How bad do you want the job?
I, personally, would tell him no, and prepare to walk.
To me that's a red flag telling me I
don't want to do business with him.
 

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Kowboy
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It remains amazing to me as to how people get the balls to ask for information that is absolutely none of their business.

They have no problem asking if you're vaccinated, but could you imagine a customer asking a woman if she's having her period?
 

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The architect, the owner, and myself go over it as if they had some idea of what the numbers should be. Sometimes I'll get comments like "wow, $30k for stucco?".
We have had that happen. Comparing bids from 3 gc’s, one electrical portion was ~$20k lower than the other two. He had excluded all light fixtures but forgot to list is as an exclusion. We could have awarded him the contract and held him to the price and scope … neither side would have “won” that one.

Have had the opposite too. One bid significantly higher in one category, he had made an assumption based on a poor detail in the drawings. We let him submit a revised proposal.

Bottom line … it comes down to ethics. Are we asking for the breakdown to try to squeeze the numbers down? Or to make sure the proposals are valid?

I think i have only once asked a contractor to lower his proposal, and it was because it exceeded the budget. Needed to find a cost saving or scope change to get within the limit.
 

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It remains amazing to me as to how people get the balls to ask for information that is absolutely none of their business.

They have no problem asking if you're vaccinated, but could you imagine a customer asking a woman if she's having her period?
Dude, you are just nasty.

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
 
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I’m a PM for a commercial GC and we don’t share subcontractor quotes unless we are the construction manager which is a different form of contract. If we are GC at risk you either like our price or you don’t on a competitive tender. It would be bad faith to ask for subcontractor quotes on a stipulate sum contract and I feel it would go against Contract A.



You guys are ‘t going to like this … i’m on the PM side of commercial construction. After the bid is awarded, we require the gc to submit a bid book … list of bids received from subs. No bid book, no contract. We encourage 3 bids for each trade, and encourage them taking the low bid, or be able to justify why not. We also have a mwob quota for the project. We don’t always get 3 sub bids, but we always get the backup.

But when you think about it … a good gc has 2 or 3 plumbers he always uses, ones that do good work and provide good service. You know the gc is going to get at least 2 bids any way, and will almost always take the low bid unless there is a time issue.
 

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That'll be a hard pass. A client is hiring us as the GC to own and deliver the complete project. What we pay our subs, who we use as subs, what we pay our in house guys etc. is none of their business. We are ultimately 100% responsible to ensure the project is managed, issues are dealt with, and everything is delivered in a safe, quality and code compliant fashion. I also don't tend to get more than 2 bids from subs and typically just 1. Estimating is a major PITA and I dont want to waste peoples time scouring through plans unless I intend to actually give them the business. Lack of communication, responsiveness, or an unusually high number that is out of the norm and not explained is the only thing that drives us to get additional bids. I do however have no issue if the client asks for a rough breakdown of a projects costs and am happy to explain why plumbing, hvac etc. is what it is. Some of their desired design choices could have driven those costs up and can be explained how to alter it to lower it without having to get into line item details or disclosures of subs bids.
 
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