The moment you spot the cost estimate on your project contract you begin hearing voices in your head. “Are you sure about this remodel?” That worried voice is understandable; it can be a big investment for any homeowner, regardless of size and scope of your project. Nevertheless, what many homeowners fail to account for are the unforeseen changes that may occur during your remodeling project.
What we at MA Peterson want to do is provide you with the background of what goes into a project estimate and what you as a homeowner can do to keep your costs from dramatically fluctuating.
Here’s what you should consider when looking at the estimate for your next remodeling project:
Well-established remodeling contractors will help limit the number of unexpected circumstances based off their experiences of past projects. From there, the remodeling estimates are shaped by the estimating team’s previous project experiences. Many times homeowners just want to hear the final price rather than understand the full process we take to ensure our clients are receiving the best price possible for your project.
Let’s take shopping for a new camera as an example. You want the best product that has all the features you’re looking for to shoot pictures of life’s memories. But as more equipment upgrades and camera accessories are offered, when it comes to faster decision-making, it’s easiest just to ask: “What’s the bottom line?” or “How much is it going to cost?” Unlike buying a new camera, the cost of a remodeling project is not a simple upfront purchase. Your end result is unlike any other - Your home should be a place that uniquely and distinctly caters to your needs by way of your design.
The Cost of Labor - The Experience of your Contractor
Keep in mind that no matter how you slice it, if you hire a contractor, you have to pay the people who work on your house for their time. Those people may include skilled craftsmen, designers and project managers who have worked on many homes and know what needs to be done to create the space you desire. In home renovations, there is no “one size fits all” project, especially when it comes to the quality of your contractor.
If you want your home to be built right, you have to be certain that the people you are hiring are the best at what they do. Finding skilled craftsmen that have the reputation and the experience to back up their assertion that they know what to do and how they will do it is key.
The Cost of Materials – The Quality in Building Components
If your home addition is built out of popsicle sticks, chances are the slightest nudge will break your new space, and you’ll find yourself asking, “Is this what we paid for?” The materials that are used for your home are just as important as the workmanship that goes into the material.
A good contractor will never sacrifice the quality of materials installed into your project. That is why they will give you proper allowance sizes. These are budgeted amounts for the future purchase of materials for various aspects of your particular project.
If changes need to be made to the size of these budgeted figures, these allowances will have the flexibility to adjust their sizes without compromising on the quality of the materials used in your project. If these allowances cannot support these changes there will be a good chance that the price of your project might increase. Of course, this would depend on the severity of the change to the estimated allowances.
The Cost of a Subcontractor – The Right Communication on the Job
It’s fairly common practice to use subcontractors, usually chosen through a bid process to make sure a particular tradesman or company is a good fit for your project.A subcontractor is a tradesman from another company, hired for your project by the general contractor to bring a specific area of expertise to the particular project.
Since a subcontractor is a different and separate entity from your general contractor, they typically have their other projects and deadlines separate from your contractor. Ensuring proper scheduling and excellent communication between these two companies is critical to the success of your project.
Before the start of a renovation project, the general contractor generally performs a subcontractor site visit before any work is done to the home. A subcontractor site visit is when the general contractor and all of the subcontractors connected to the project meet to go over the proposed scope and statement of work. This allows them to determine the amount of materials they will need and what needs to be replaced, fixed, upgraded or altered in any way so that the estimate can be adjusted accordingly. This step is crucial to the success of your project and serves the purpose of showing the homeowner that all of those who are connected with your project are taking the proper steps to ensure your renovation will run smoothly.
The Cost of Goods – The Best Products at the Best Price
Costs of goods, such as appliances and hardware that are installed into your home’s mechanical systems (not to get confused with structural components), are products you’ll generally find within your allowance. A good contractor will never find interior products of lower quality or value to stay under costs.
A good contractor will find the best products from their vendors to negotiate the best price for your project, as well as offer warranty programs for any broken or malfunctioning appliances or hardware installed in your house.
If the contractor gave you enough room to expand and contract the allowance sizes in the certain areas of your project, then adding a little more shouldn’t be a problem. However, you have to keep in mind that when you expand one area, you have to take it out of another area. This is when allowance sizes come in to play a major role in whether a project goes over or under budget.
It doesn’t mean you’re locked in to buying through your general contractor. If you find the same (or less expensive) product online, you will most likely pay for it yourself and go outside of the contractor’s warranty process. If the product you found online breaks, you will not get your money back or get a replacement of that product through the contractor because it was purchased outside of the contract.
Be aware of the bottom line. If a contractor only gives you a number, it’s possible they did not give their due diligence in accurately measuring costs tailored specifically to your project.
The best advice you can get involving the cost of your home renovation is to do your research. Not every contractor will fit every project or client, so it’s important to do your homework to figure out which contractor will fit your project needs and design.
For your home remodeling estimates on your next project, contact our team of contractors at MA Peterson Design build.