When considering whether to undertake a remodel

December 2nd, 2010

When considering whether to undertake a remodel, many people use the three competitive bid approach unless they have someone they’ve worked with previously or have been referred to a specific contractor by someone who’s opinion they value. Getting competitive bids is fine up to a point, however, comparing estimates and selecting a contractor based on lowest price can lead to costly mistakes and major disappointments due to the following factors:

  • Estimates vary greatly in their level of detail and the average person has limited ability in understanding much of the terminology, or knowing if all aspects of the job are covered in the estimate. We strive to itemize upfront every task, and product selection in our estimates to avoid costly surprises later on. With sixteen years experience in remodeling ONLY bathrooms, we’ve pretty much seen it all. Take advantage of this experience and know-how–it’s free! And, if there is some form of re-design involved, in most cases, that’s free as well.
  • The price of product selections, plumbing fixtures, finishes,cabinetry, bath tubs, toilets, fans, etc. varies enormously. If the estimate just says “install toilet”, there is no way of knowing if it’s the cheapest available or a quality product like Toto. All the products we recommend are brands we can stand behind with proven quality and value for the homeowner.
  • We establish a day by day schedule of the work entailed in the project and share it with the homeowner. Having done thousands of bathrooms over the last sixteen years, we know how long things will take. Once we start on a job, we are on that job everyday until it’s finished per the schedule. A basic job such as replacing a tub, plumbing and new tub surround, for example, will take a couple of days. A total remodel in a larger bathroom may take 3-4 weeks. Of course, schedules can get derailed for a number of reasons, particularly in bathrooms where there may be unforeseen water damage, the extent to which may not be known until the shower is torn out. But, in each instance there must be a game plan. Ask your remodelor to provide you with a start and finish date for your project. If he hits it, great! If he’s off a little, he ought to be able to explain why.
  • I often get asked the question, “do you have your own employees or do you use subcontractors?”, as if this is a negative. We do not “bid out” your project. Although, our employees do a lot of the work, we do use subs for specialty work when they can do the job more professionally and efficiently. Virtually every remodelor does the same, as it is economically impractical to have full time plumbers, electricians, painters, tile-setters, etc on your staff. Our success is in having reliable, skilled subs available who meet our high standards of workmanship.
  • Finally, we listen to you and what you are wanting to do with the space, given your budget constraints. We don’t just offer a “formula” remodel.

Hopefully this is a helpful overview. If you have any questions, feel free to email or call us. I will do my best to answer your questions, even if you’re not using Designers Marble for your project.