You already have a goal in mind, or at least the beginnings of a vision for your home remodeling project. What’s next? Getting estimates for your home remodeling project can be a stressful time, particularly if you aren’t well-versed in the work you’ll need done. Don’t awake at night wondering if you’re paying too much for a spare bathroom construction or renovating the kitchen. Take control of the process and enjoy financial peace of mind before the first power tool fires up.
What to Keep in Mind During the Bidding Process
While requesting quotes, remain firm and don’t allow a contractor to force you into a commitment before you’re ready. Before soliciting an estimate, explain that you are comparing bids and that you aren’t ready to commit to scheduling work yet. This will keep expectations realistic on both sides and help everyone avoid wasting time.
Get it in Writing
Additionally, always get estimates in writing. A word and a handshake is not sufficient proof of a quote – if a contractor waffles on providing one, it should be a big red flag for dealing with them. Bear in mind that quotes can’t, by nature, be exact, but they should provide both a range of projected costs and a methodology for approval on materials or work that would go beyond the initial budget.
Rules for Requesting Remodeling Bids
If you aren’t sure where to begin, a contractor can help you determine the possibilities that fit your home’s layout, structure, style and renovation budget. They are not only versed in the construction method you need, but also the particular demands of the region, such as humidity and temperature fluctuations.
There are a lot of advantages to working with an experienced remodeling contractor. But it can be overwhelming to try to find the right one. Here are the major considerations for requesting quotes for residential work.
Rule 1: Find the Right Contractor(s) for Your Needs.
While most contractors have knowledge of various construction processes, or at least a network of referrals, it’s always best to hire companies with the right type of experience. If you’re considering a company that specializes in new home construction, for example, they may be less knowledgeable than a bathroom remodeling specialist. Likewise, you won’t want to connect with a company that primarily deals with kitchen remodels if you’re looking for an addition to your living room.
Rule 2: Research Your Options.
The service providers you consider should be able to offer a portfolio of past work, reviews from satisfied customers, or ideally both. Ask for before and after pictures, if available, and search online reviews of service providers through platforms like Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List to get a good idea of past performance.
Rule 3: Always Get a Second (or Third) Opinion.
Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure the prices you pay for materials and work are competitive. Every contractor has their own method for determining an estimate. Getting three or more bids is the best way to determine the “going rate” for materials and services in your area.
Rule 4: Be Clear and Concise About Your Needs.
The biggest challenge many contractors face is a client that doesn’t know what they want and can’t articulate their expectations. What is most important to you when it comes to your renovation or remodel? Is, for example, a stylish finish more important than staying within budget, or should money dictate creative direction?
Be explicit about what you’d like from your contractor, particularly the period of time you’d like the renovation or build to take, and they’ll be able to agree to or adjust your expectations accordingly. Without this meeting of the minds in place, it’s easy for resentment to build when a project takes “too long” or is “rushed,” even when it’s on a perfectly normal industry timeline.
Rule 5: Expect Budget Changes – It’s Normal
Part of undertaking renovations for a residential structure is knowing that costs can fluctuate. When renovating or putting an addition on a house, your contractor of choice will need to get over, under, and into parts of your house that don’t typically see the light of day. Problems and the results of past “quick fixes” can lurk inside drywall or within the plumbing system waiting to be discovered. The need to repair other issues can make the materials and labor costs go up through no fault of your contractor. While these changes may be large or small, consider them a blessing: chances are whatever your contractor uncovers could have become an ugly, emergency issue if it had been left unchecked.
It’s worth asking your contractor of choice if there are any specific tests or services they would recommend prior to beginning work – a mold or radon test, for example, will prevent work from grinding to a halt mid-project to deal with these issues. This preemptive approach can is considerably less expensive than finding out the “hard way” when construction is in full swing.
Follow these five rules for your home renovation or remodeling project and you’ll be setting yourself up for success. Remember, your contractor of choice wants your project to be successful as you do: their reputation relies on it.