New Year, New Home projects. When you start the process of making renovations, make sure you ask the right questions. Many people fall victim to the bid quote they get from general contractors to renovate their homes. Our goal is to help you stay on budget! No one should pay more than they have to for any service.
Let us use the renovation quotes we often get for a kitchen remodel… many bids are likely to only cover about 33-50% of the total cost depending on the contractor.
The question then becomes, how do YOU the consumer protect yourself from predatory contractors who quote one thing and the final cost is dramatically different?
Ask the right questions upfront.
While the majority of general contractors include demolition, disposal and installation in their bids, many omit the cost of supplies/materials/hardware. If you are dealing with a novice contractor, they do not know the cost of materials so they wait to price everything based on your specifications. The cost of materials varies tremendously by region, store, and your personal preference. For example, backsplash tiles can run from $7 to $90, a square foot.
ALWAYS ask the contractor what is included in the bid, then use those numbers to estimate further cost. Of course these tend to be ballpark figures but I would prefer to be in the same ballpark as my contractor than be rudely surprised.
A good rule of thumb is to research your potential contractor:
Speak with past clients
See their portfolio of work
Ask what is their statistics on quotes to actual final cost (you want to see if they have a history of underbidding to only cost more in the end or if they are always in the ballpark)
Research them on yelp, google+, Angie’s list (You want to learn everything about this person before you entrust them with thousands of dollars worth of work)
Other Good questions for the general contractor (unless they come highly recommended, I suggest you interview a couple):
How many years have you been in business? (You do not need 50 years of experience to do great work, focus more on quality than quantity. I know several contractors who have been in business for over 10 years but I would not trust them to do any work on my home)
Do you get supplies from a wholesaler (cheaper in bulk) or from Home Depot? If you value neighborhood stores, this is a great way to support local businesses.
What does your bid include? Is this a set price? If you go over budget, will you be responsible for the additional cost/ take it as a loss? (This is important to know upfront and GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING)
Obtain an itemized Quote and Contract and factor in 5% for miscellaneous overages but a good contractor should stay within budget unless they discover issues when walls are opened.
If your contractor does not want to provide a contract in writing with the breakdown of cost…RUN!!
Email us firstname.lastname@example.org for recommendations of some of our trusted contractors or general questions.