When you receive quotes for a project or service, a thorough and thoughtful evaluation of the proposals will ensure that you receive optimum value.

As a contractor and as a purchaser of supplies and services, we have gained a perspective on reviewing proposals, which we share below.


The first thing we look for is what taxes are included in the price quoted. Some businesses include PST in their proposal and some don’t. If PST is excluded that price will appear to be 7% lower.

The next item we look for is what warranty and payment terms are provided. A longer more inclusive warranty has significant value and needs to be weighed as part of the value equation. There is no better example of this than the auto industry, which has multiple warranty inclusions and terms depending on the manufacturer.

Do you have to pay in advance or put down a deposit?

When reviewing proposals for equipment installations, the following are some things you should look for:

  • If rooftop units are being installed, is the gas piping included?
  • If heat pumps or other air conditioning units are being installed is condensate piping included? Often this may be excluded by some and included by others.
  • Is the crane cost included?
  • Is the efficiency of the units the same between proposals? All equipment manufacturers have base models and higher efficiency units.
  • Are economizers included on rooftop units?
  • Are thermostats included and if so what type?

When reviewing proposals for service, the following are some things you should look for:

  • Confirm that the same number of inspections of the same equipment is included in each proposal.
  • Confirm that the equipment lists are the same.
  • Verify what types of air filters are included. As an example, there is a significant difference in cost and performance between pleated filters and fiberglass filters.
  • If the price difference between contractors is more than 10%, proceed with caution. Hourly rate differences do not make that much difference. The difference is typically in the amount of time allowed for the maintenance and less time allowed equates to less maintenance. There is an optimum amount of time required that should be the goal so that resources are not spent when not necessary.

In summary, asking questions of all the contractors is part of a thorough review process to ensure you receive optimum value and get what you are looking for.

If you have any questions regarding this article, or you would like more information, please contact our services team today.