You’ve decided, It’s time to remodel.  It may be a kitchen, a bathroom it doesn’t matter but let’s assume it’s your first time taking on a project of this size. Your scared to death because you neighbor, friends, colleagues have all had miserable experiences.  What do you do?  Call up a “few contractors to get estimates”.  Most show up, some on time, some driving a brand new luxury SUV, others a beat up truck with a dog in the back, gun rack in the window with an actual rifle hanging from it and every other type of character in between.  You keep searching until you hear what you want to hear.  It may be the price, how quick they can get it done,  or how great they SAY the quality will be.  You ask for an estimate.  They stand back scratch their head and say “about $xxxxx”.  After about the sixth or seventh person you finally find someone that says all the right things and you decide to take the leap.  I emphasize leap because it’s off a cliff not a simple hop forward.  I am amazed, almost daily, how many sophisticated professional people make such a stupid decision based on such little facts.  Here is a quote from an actual prospective client of mine.  “Bill, the way your company approaches remodeling seems like a perfect match for us. We suspect going with XYZ Company will likely be more work for us, potentially a miserable experience but likely less expensive.  We need to decide if which way to go”.  Which way? could the mean if they want to be miserable or not?  What are they really basing their decision on?” “Maybe less expensive…” what the heck does that mean?  There is no design, no definition of work scope and no materials specified.  How in the heck can anyone walk in quote a price on one of the largest purchases you may ever make and then make a decision.  Homeowners do it every day and it starts them down a point of no return.  I call it the Remodel Trap. Why trap?  Because the word trap is defined as “any device, stratagem, trick, or the like for catching a person unawares”. See, it’s like going on a hiking trip.  You come to the entrance of the trail and spot a stack of trail maps at the information kiosk, only its about 50 yards away.  You decide to risk it and not take the trail map with you because you trust the people, whom you don’t know, walking in front of you.  They may not appear the type to intentionally deceive you but half way into the hike you realize they don’t have the same plan as you.  Now what?  Some turn back but most blindly go on.  You soon begin to blame the people in front of you, your partner because they didn’t get the map, and the park district because the maps weren’t where they were supposed to be.  The reality is the kiosk was located at the trail-head and the people you were following had already passed by continuing their travels.  Wake up and don’t be so dense when the time comes to make one of the biggest lifestyle and financial decision for your family.  Advice to come.
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