I should know better

I keep saying to myself “I’m 57.  I should know better by now.”

I'm trying to get another one like this. This cost $600.
I’m trying to get another like these, which cost $600.

Actually, I do.  I know this is the way to do things, and I know it’s the way everyone does them, but I just can’t get over feeling it’s dishonest to ask multiple contractors for estimates.

It feels like I’m going to two different people saying “I’ll give you money as soon as you tell me how much” and then having to tell one of them that I was lying.    I think my discomfort gets interpreted as something else.  I seem to have an awfully hard time getting any estimates at all.

The first contractor gave an estimate to someone else without my input — $2,200 for “3’x4′ front and back door wood steps and landings with no more than 3 steps per entry. Does not include paint or stain.”  Note, that’s for two sets of steps.

I told him what I wanted, asked some questions and requested a new estimate.  I heard nothing until I told the person who gotten the first estimate that I was still waiting.  Then I immediately got an email saying  “[We] will build you new steps just like the old , with blocks on right , and hand rail. We will do the steps for the $2,200.00”  One for the price of two, what a deal.  No specifics.  (And “hand rail” singular, when I’d emphasized the need for two.) No estimate document such as he’d given her.  No answers to my questions.

The other contractor said he could do what I want but “As far as cost I don’t have any idea as to what to quote you. Each situation is different. As to modifing your existing steps I think it would behoove you to bring them over only for temperary use until we can construct what you need. Each situation is different and need to be built to fit your particular application. Your stepps arent fanct ones so I t can’t cost to much to fit your needs.”

What does “to much” mean in dollars? Am I being too “Sheldon” when I wonder if someone who writes like this can do the math and geometry needed to build steps?

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