Today’s economic climate presents great opportunities for homeowners to receive the best value in remodeling.  It’s not unlike timing the market.  My past experience is people wait to get started when the market is well on it’s way to recovery.  What people don’t realize is that it takes months to plan a project properly  and by the time the project is ready to start prices and schedules are back in full swing.  Smart homeowners start planning NOW, representing a small percentage of the cost, and start construction when their ready.  Professional design and construction companies are motivated to maintain their core strength- their people- during slower times as they weather the storm.  Our company is no different than any other that are feeling the crunch and I’ll be the first to admit it.  We are fortunate that after being in business for seventeen years we have a strong following with referral and repeat clients that keep us pumping along.  That being said we are always looking for opportunities for new clients and cherish these potential relationships more than ever. Because we offer both Design and Construction as separate services Remodel West is positioned best to fulfill this smart approach to remodeling. We are seeing extreme desperate measure by competitors to stay afloat and this is where homeowners and business owners can get into trouble.  Many individuals in this industry come from the trades and leave alot to be desired when it comes to managing a business and times like these are the test.  Rising tides float all boats but as it recedes many hit the rocks, don’t be one of the passengers on that boat. When homeowners are evaluating remodeling companies to build their project price seems to be the most important for many.  Much more so than past years.  In fact recently I had a homeowner tell me that price was more important than quality.  If no value is placed on quality then why improve your home?  When obtaining costs the lower or lowest prices can quickly cloud the mind compromising practical decision making.  Many consciously and sub-consciously overlook blatant signs that there may be trouble.  Even worse I have heard potential customers say “I know it may be a little risky going with XYZ company but their price is the lowest.”  These are smart people being very stupid to say the least. Here is what to look out for when accepting the lowest or lower bids over whom your instincts tell you to select.
  • Look out for those companies anxious or able to start immediately without taking the proper time to plan the project.
  • All work not included in cost, not detailed in contract and then change orders begin.
  • Cost is so low that when the contractor discovers an over sight or mistake in his estimating, material purchases etc. that he is no able to cover the cost.  This commonly leads to change orders and project abandonment.
  • Be prepared to make compromises on your expectations of quality, schedule, and final price.  It’s classic to go in low with the intent to bring cost up as the job progresses.
  • The less detailed you are in your plans and details the more liability YOU assume for cost overruns.
  • Be sure all the proper insurance is carried by the contractor which is Liability and Workers Comp.  It’s typical for unprofessional companies or individuals to lose their insurance during slower times.  This exposure is a huge risk for both parties to take.  See my insurance posting for further information.
  • Search for those higher profile more reputable firms NOW.  They have likely been through the ups and downs before and know how to maintain a quality level of service while offering a good value.
  • Leverage these companies not the fly by knights because they are the first to go in rougher times and maybe in the middle of the project.
  • Don’t be afraid to listen to your instincts and discuss the project cost with whom you really prefer to use.  I wouldn’t expect a reputable company to meet all your request but be reasonable and see what happens.
Happy Remodeling…It’s up to you. Bill Reid 408-593-2749
About the author
1 Comment
Leave Comment