Planning a remodel in the near future? There are a few ways a homeowner can avoid stressful situations when planning their next project with a Remodeling Contractor.
Why won’t this contractor call me back? Why haven’t they submitted their bid yet? I’ve got a couple bids but they seem so vague, prices are very different and I’m not sure of what’s included. These are a few of the questions, comments, and complaints that I have heard people mention when revealing their past contractor nightmare stories. So to help shine some light on this subject, I thought we would break down the process of a typical contractor quoting a job. I’ll also touch on some of the benefits of working with a Design-Build Remodeling Contractor.
The Problem With Not Having a Defined Scope of Work- So, you’re ready to take the plunge. You’ve saved pictures on your laptop of your dream kitchen, picked out new flooring colors for the entire house and love the fireplace remodel that your neighbor just did. Now it’s time to find the contractor who’s going to do the work. You have talked to friends and family and narrowed the search down to a few select contractors you’ve asked to come out to your house. From here, it should be easy; contractor comes out, you reveal your wants and needs, they give you a price and done, right? Not typically.
A Typical Process In This Industry- Imagine this, one of the contractors you called to provide an estimate came out one afternoon. That person probably did this between running other jobs, schedules and taking phone calls. You discussed the project, he or she took some notes and maybe some measurements. As they left, they said “I’ll get something together for you and have it ready in a few days”. Now, lets assume this contractor does plan on calling back so they return home and after dealing with the family and kids, eating dinner and maybe relaxing for a bit, they get started on your “bid”. They put some vague numbers together. They guess at what type of tile and fixtures you will want, what tasks an architect will need to perform to get through the city, or even worse don’t include these things at all. When finished, they email the bid to you and get on with life.
Now this, most of the time is not a result of a bad contractor (unless they are unscrupulous, which I will talk about in a moment). This contractor is just trying to please the customer and to price a job with a limited amount of information and time. But how can an accurate cost be determined when so much information is unknown or left out? Imagine if all 3 contractors you called did this or varying versions of this! It can get pretty confusing trying to compare prices.
A Word of Caution- Now I’m not speaking of the majority of contractors here, but these days construction is booming and when that happens many newcomers enter this industry. As in all industries, there are are lazy and/or complacent people who do not follow up with clients or return phone calls. Why? Because work is plentiful. Worse, unscrupulous contractors hope for and use the scenario talked about above. They bid and take jobs knowing there will be plenty of change orders that come after a vague proposal and contract. Some start a project fully aware that there is not enough money in the contract to finish the job. I’ve personally had to take over projects from contractors who have destroyed parts of, and in some cases, the majority of a customers home. They then walk away from the job with thousands of the homeowner’s dollars. Now, thank goodness I believe these scenarios are becoming rarer in Orange County and other areas. I believe this to be true due to the internet and the speed at which word gets around but nonetheless these are sad situations and ones that give our industry a bad name. So what can a homeowner do to address some of these concerns? Well, talking with a Design-Build Remodeling Contractor could help.
The Benefits of Working with a Design-Build Remodeling Contractor-
I’m sure some of you have heard the term “Design-Build Remodeling Contractor” or maybe a similar term like designer/builder, but just what does this mean and how can it benefit you? Well, in short, a Design-build Remodeling contractor does exactly what the term suggests; they design the project and also build it. There are some major advantages to going with a contractor like this. Let’s take a look
- Preliminary Work- Long before the first nail is driven or the first wall is moved, there are major decisions to be made and much planning to be done to prepare for such tasks. These decisions include everything from the overall design and genre that appeals to the customer, right down to the types of tile to be used, cabinetry selections, furniture and colors not to mention the structural aspects of the project. When you hire a Design-Build Remodeling Contractor to formulate a scope of work and a proposal for your project, the guess work is eliminated. Typically, the first bit of information the firm gathers is information about the budget, which is a very important part of the process. This budget is what the contractor will build their design around. Designing a kitchen with inlayed marble floors or expensive commercial appliances is of no help to the customer if the budget doesn’t allow for it. A good Design-Build Remodeling Contractor will be able to tell you in the very first meeting whether they think your budget will cover the inevitable costs involved with your dream. At the very least they should be able to provide a range, giving a lower and higher priced scenario.
- Design Agreement- Next comes the design agreement. As does a independent architect, the Design-Build Remodeling Contractor will charge a fee which will vary with the size of the project and whether the proposed changes will include structural alterations or just cosmetic upgrades. As part of this agreement, they will address all of the items mentioned. A good Design-Build Remodeling Contractor will have an in- house architect/designer that will generate a plan and rendering, complete with all necessary construction documents to be submitted to your city for approval. This plan includes specification sheets outlining the layout of the project, tile selections, solid surface selections, cabinetry, flooring, appliances and all of the other many aspects of the job. It also includes what the customer initially set out to do; you guessed it; get a complete and rock solid price to build the job!
- What It All Means- So what does all of this mean? Well, for the customer this process spells CLARITY. They now have a fully designed project with all items pertaining to that project completely spelled out and within their set budget. What type of flooring is included?? Easy, let’s look at the spec sheet. What was the budget for plumbing fixtures?? Oh yeah, let’s look at the spec sheet. What backsplash was included and what did it look like?? I think you get the idea. What this comes down to is simple; when you hire a Design-Build Remodeling Contractor to evaluate, design and spec your project, you eliminate the nightmares that come with incomplete bids and budget misconceptions. By creating a design and outlining the specifications for your project on day one, you’ve paid for a service. You’ve paid a professional company to compile important information regarding your project, received a rendering and or plans, received specifications for the job and a proposal to complete the construction. This is all information that isn’t addressed or given by a contractor doing a “free bid”. In addition, in most cases, when your design and proposal are done, you own them. You are free to do with them as you please and that includes getting prices from other contractors. At this point, if you feel the need to get other bids, the bid comparison will be apples to apples. When you do decide on a contractor to do the work, make sure that your original specification sheets drafted by the Design-Build Remodeling Contractor are attached to the contract you will sign for construction. This eliminates any questions in the middle of the project about what was and wasn’t figured into the job.