In some industries, such as roofing and concrete work, the products and services are fairly simple. In these industries , useful and accurate estimates can be done very quickly and easily.
The remodeling industry is not such an industry. The vast array of products, services, material types, and quality, along with different business models and service levels make a generic estimate fairly worthless as a comparison tool.
Only when a specific, detailed set of plans, products and services is specified, can two remodeling estimates for the same project be even close to "apples-to-apples" comparable.
We are happy to give you our opinion as to what price range the remodel project you are describing is likely to fall into. The "guestimate" will be based on projects of similar size and scope we have already completed and will be a price range.
A great way to establish a realistic, accurate budget is use our interactive budgeting tool with one of our designers. This tool allows us to arrive at a realistic budget by combining decisions about the type and quality of products that you might want with some accepted industry formulas, to arrive at a realistic budget.
To get to an accurate estimate for your project, we have to do some homework. Basic decisions must be made about layout, project scope, product types, quality, installation, etc. Final decisions about color & pattern can be postponed till later.
What if the design is not changing?
Not all projects require extensive design work. Some projects are simple updates of an existing space. Countertops, flooring, or a simple bath update are examples of projects where no significant design work is needed. Material selections and decorating will need to be done and we are happy to take you through that process and prepare an estimate free of charge.
Scope creep refers to a project that has seen its original goals expand while it's in progress. Scope creep is the most common cause of cost overruns on a project. The phrase "You know, while we are at it ....." is usually the beginning. We make a point of trying to anticipate and talk about those areas where it might occur in our projects. If it's already included in the plan, it isn't scope creep, it's insightful planning.
Truth in Estimating
Many remodel contractors base their estimates on the principle of "Tell the customer what they want to hear". They include low-end, stripped-down, products, services, and allowances to keep the price artificially low; the proverbial "Low-Ball" estimate. Their goal is to secure the project and then deliver the "bad news" later.
We believe in telling our clients the truth about the cost of a project up-front. If you want a project built with good quality products and desirable features, (as most do) you will find our "guestimates" to be fairly accurate and inclusive and our actual estimates to be right-on-the-money.
Beware of Allowances
When allowances are used extensively in remodeling estimates and contracts, they can be a recipe for unhappiness. How does one know if the included allowance will be enough for the products you want? Chances are, it's not. Signing an agreement with more than just a few allowances almost guarantees substantial cost overruns.
Fixed Price Agreements
If the project planning is thorough and detailed, quoting a fixed price is not difficult or risky for a contractor, but it does require some home work.
Always insist on fixed-price agreements with lots of details. Brand names, model numbers, colors, drawings; it should all be part of the agreement.
Fixed-price agreements eliminate most of the uncertainty from the remodeling experience. There can still be the occasional, un-forseen "Termites ate my floor" type of surprise, but they are relatively rare.
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