Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 10 seconds
The true cost of a remodeling project is typically more than you think. How can I say this with certainty? Because some of the costs are hidden. In fact, they are rarely known till the bloody end of the autopsy. The materials pricing used to be the most stable, it fluctuates wildly now too. The sub-trade specialty trades are all over the map, and labor prices are on the rise while efficiency is on the decline. The biggest problem I see is that no two projects or clients are the same. We are pricing a moving target.
- It is easy to miss something in the estimate if you do not have great documentation and a solid stable process.
- We remodel, changes inevitably occur typically due to discovering hidden conditions.
- No two companies have the same overhead or profit desires.
- It is easy to lose money on a job which is unsustainable as well as terrifying.
- Most companies do not know what the hell they are doing. (There is no school. No state regulation of any substance. No licensing. No competency testing, or standard for operating a remodeling business)
What the Heck?
Let’s suppose you have paid for remodeling projects several times by different contractors. Think about it, what was different about the experience? Did they execute the project on time, on budget, and deliver a happy client? From a conscious contractor’s point of view, it is not a simple task to achieve especially if you delegate the work to others. The trifecta of remodeling takes a cadre of like-minded people to accomplish it with strong leadership to achieve consistency.
Remodeling is a Service, Not a Commodity!
Which Client Got A Better Deal?
Client A: Buys a bathroom remodel 18K. Work starts on time but quickly falls behind schedule. The plumber arrives and the tub is not on-site so he leaves. The tub arrives but is missing a part and the plumber can’t wait. The project is behind 2 weeks and when the granite is installed, the edge detail is not what was agreed to but out of frustration, the client accepts it. The final payment is paid with a meeting where the nit-picky client wants a refund for the frustration but is locked in by contract.
Client B: Buys a bathroom remodel for 25K. The work starts on time and the superintendent goes over the details and schedule. Dust protection is installed and everything that is needed for the project is in the warehouse. Parts are brought out as needed, the guys are having fun and the client enjoys keeping up on the daily progress. They find an opportunity to improve on the design by adding a shelf which is created once the Change Order is done and the project finished a day before promised. The client could not be happier.
The Math of Remodeling
Dollar Cost + Time + Frustration/Stress = Actual cost
This is what separates the men from the boys (So to speak) it is not that a great remodeling company is infallible, however, the likelihood of getting it right is far more realistic. We all have great aspirations and intentions, it is just that with a seasoned contractor that has systems built over eons at the helm, you are far more likely to have your expectations met.
Paul Winnans, an industry leader former contractor, and mentor to the industry says. “In the end, everyone pays the same price, What varies is the proportion of money, time, frustration/stress that make up the price.”
Can You Share Your Pricing Breakout With Me?
Yes! we share the numbers that you have control over. We brag about it in fact. Finish Material Allowances are in “our cost” format. Oh yes, you read it correctly. Our cost! that means you get a budget to shop with that makes you an insider like us. We figure you can’t know if you want something unless you know the price.
If you find yourself asking for more detail on the project pricing, it is a huge yellow flag and a warning sign of lack of trust. When I hear a client say they need “The cost breakdown” I ask “What specific price would be helpful?” Typically there is one number that needs clarity. Prices for anything else can be broken down into about 5 groups. That is as far as I will dare go down the rabbit hole.
Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261
If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor, please contact me. You’ll be glad you did.