I just recently moved, and hired movers to help with it. We searched and searched for the perfect moving company, and this one seemed great! It was lower in price than others (we, like most people, are on a budget). They come in, they review the contract, we sign, they pack the truck, and voila! We are on our way to our awesome new location and home! Super exciting, right?! But wait... they loaded everything up and gave us the bill... It ended up being over double the price of what other companies were saying because this company hid charges and didn't slam us with them until my stuff was on their truck! Well, now what? Unload it ourselves, and hope to get a different company in at that exact moment? Nope... we get to pay that extra, because we wanted to get the cheapest price possible.
Guess what!! The same thing can and does happen in this industry too! We shop and shop and bid and bid, look for as cheap as possible because, well... I know I can get my designer high end kitchen for less than the $100,000 price these contractors and designers keep saying I will have to budget for!
Here are some tips and realities about this industry so you can get the quality that you need. Not the cheapest or possibly ending up being more than what you would have paid for with the quality contractors and designers.
How To Hire For Your Home Remodel Tip #1:
DON'T GO FOR CHEAP!
I know, I know... you are on a budget and you want your brand new kitchen or bathroom NOW!! Patience will definitely serve you better in the long run. There is a huge difference between cheap and inexpensive, especially in a home remodel. If you do the research properly, and you find out you don't have the funds for what you want, either wait another year to save more, or work with your designer, if you have one, to lower the scope of work and get closer to the number you can realistically spend.
Make sure you get a bid that is itemized. This means that the contractor took the time to spill out everything that will be needed in the project. These are usually allowances, based off of past experiences with similar projects. When you get a contractor that does this, and has realistic numbers as an average, you will get a pretty close idea of what your home remodel will cost.
When you go for someone that doesn't do this, and has a very low budget, they will get you under contract, and then start the demo process. All of a sudden, you are stuck with them, and you get hit with a ton of change orders that is not made by you! By the end of the project, you spend more than what the other guys were saying. Sometimes it's even worse quality.
I am not saying that every lower priced contractor does this, some are just lower in cost for reasons such as lower overhead, or maybe they have a great relationship with material vendors, etc. But, a designer can guide you to get the proper information and research on each contractor to make sure they are truly giving you what they say they will.
How To Hire For Your Home Remodel Tip #2:
HIRE A DESIGNER
I am not saying that just to gain clients for myself and my fellow designers out there. We understand what should be and shouldn't be in a budget when you are going through the bids. Sit down with your designer with the bids and compare them all. What is realistic? What is not? What are they charging extra on, and why? Designer's can also help you make the important decisions and be there for you during the whole process, which eliminates possible mistakes (eliminating mistakes will save you time and money!).
Designer's also know how to get that same look for possibly a better price. It might be a different vendor, or a trade discount that we exclusively get. A lot of products we get can be purchased at wholesale. Even if a designer charges a fee on top of the wholesale price, it will still be less expensive than retail.
We understand how business's are ran. So we can help explain why the contractor is charging what they are. Are they charging a mark up on materials? Are they only charging a percentage for labor, overhead, and profit? As a business stand point, many contractor's have employees (remember, they are helping the economy by hiring amazing people!!!) This means they have to pay worker's comp, taxes on employees (employee's pay taxes and your employer pays taxes on you. Crazy, right?!), rent, utilities, and office staff.
How To Hire For Your Home Remodel Tip #3:
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!
Remodels are a serious investment. Either research yourself what your budget realistically should be, or hire the right designer who will help you decide the proper budget for your home remodel. When the designer understands the uses and needs of the home, such as how long you plan on being there, who is living there, and how you use the space, we can let you know what the realistic budget should be. Real Estate is huge on this, such as what is the value of the houses in your neighborhood versus your house's current value? Research that to make sure your house after the remodel won't be on market for way over what the other homes would be. It needs to always stay comparable with the neighborhood.
If you are getting multiple bids from contractors, make sure that you research about each one of them. Are they licensed, bonded, and insured? Is their license truly attached to their name? Do you want to talk to some references from them? What do they say? What is the general gut feeling you get from them?
So, whether you need a contractor, designer, architect, structural engineer, or a few of them, or just one of them for your home remodel, make sure that they are all going to provide you the best quality service for your project, at a realistic price that is right for you!