Open Book Pricing or Fixed Pricing: The Big Construction Debate in Calgary!

2 min read

When I first started in the residential construction game, the nuances of open-book pricing and fixed pricing were just starting to pick up steam. Over the years, I've seen countless projects in both the U.S. and Canada, each adopting one model or the other. Today, in Calgary, the debate rages hotter than ever. Which one reigns supreme?

A Quick Primer on the Two Models

Open Book Pricing: Transparency at its Best

Ever had a client who wanted to know every detail, from the nail type to the brand of paint? Enter: Open Book Pricing. I recall a project right here in Calgary where the client was highly involved. Using Bolster's construction estimating software, we showed them a detailed cost breakdown. The transparency we offered solidified trust like never before.

Fixed Pricing: Simplicity for All

On the flip side, there's the magic of fixed pricing. A clear-cut figure without the nitty-gritty. A couple of years back, while working on a development in the USA, the fixed price model ensured both the client and I knew the financial boundaries right from day one. This approach often resonates well with clients who prefer a quick guide to calculating overhead costs in construction.

Advantages and Challenges of Each Model

Open book pricing thrives on transparency, but can sometimes overwhelm the client with too many details. Fixed pricing is straightforward but lacks flexibility when unforeseen changes come knocking. I learned this the hard way during a house remodel in Calgary when unexpected foundation issues cropped up. Thankfully, tools like AutoCost came to the rescue.

Calgary’s Residential Construction Scene and the Role of Pricing Models

If there's one thing I've learned, it's to stay adaptive. Economic trends, housing demands, and even the benefits of project scheduling in construction can influence client choices. Keeping a pulse on Calgary's market helps anticipate the model that might resonate best with the next client.

The Verdict: Is There a 'One Size Fits All'?

Not really. Both models have their place. Custom homes with unique touches? Open-book pricing might just be your ticket. Straightforward projects with minimal anticipated changes? Fixed pricing can be a charm. Case in point, a renovation project where the client was keen on a cost-plus contract. The flexibility of open-book pricing allowed us to accommodate real-time upgrades.

Tips for Contractors Navigating the Debate

Communication. That's the golden rule. Whether you're explaining variable versus fixed costs in construction estimating or setting clear project milestones, maintaining open dialogue can make or break client trust. Staying updated with tools like Bolster and being adaptable to each project's needs is the secret sauce to thriving in this ever-evolving industry.

So, what's your take? Open Book or Fixed Pricing? Dive deeper, explore, and choose wisely. Remember, at the end of the day, the model you pick should serve the project's best interests. Happy building!



Calgary