Before you start planning for your big remodeling project, it is very important to first find out the true cost of the project you’re looking to undertake. When going through the preliminary quote process, it’s very important to identify early on which bids are actually realistic. If you get a range of bids, and one is a lot lower from another contractor, it usually means trouble.
One way that some people will try to save money is to hire a “one-man band” to complete a major renovation project. The question is do you want to hire a handyman/carpenter or a true professional from one of the leading remodeling companies in town? The cost may appear to be less at first, but there are some major pros and cons to choosing the lower estimate.
This is not to say that a one-man operation can’t do the job. Some can do very nice work. However, it is always buyer beware in these cases. Someone can say they can do it all, but most likely there will be pitfalls here and there that likely will not be taken into account. Also, the one-man show typically takes a lot longer, usually months, where a professional remodeler with a full team can do it in weeks. One-man bands can certainly do nice work – but far more patience is required, as this individual and his/her subcontractors will be hanging around your home for quite a while.
Also, a one-man operation will sometimes hit snags, which can happen on any project. However, this means that the project time-table can be thrown off and take significantly longer than the original estimates provided. A pro remodeling company will have a team that can share the load of any problems that may arise, and should always have a project manager on site to expedite the build process.
The true issue in hiring a one-man operation, however, is not only time. A true professional remodeling company will walk you through the design process, including what is called the “scope development.” One-man operations can oftentimes will give you unrealistic quotes, especially when it comes to product selection. Whereas a pro remodeling company will plan all of these details out in the scope development, an ordinary contractor may only quote low-end or builder-grade items. This is often to help with offering the lowest bid possible, and is not so much about deception as it is about not understanding the true scope of the project. When things get underway, the homeowner discovers that the price of what they really wanted blows their budget out of the water, and suddenly financing can become a serious issue.
What scope development does is make sure that before you sign a build contract, you go through the design process with the remodeling company’s design team. You go over all of the different elements of the project and any difficulties that may occur. Then products are selected and their expert advice will let you know if what you’re looking at will actually keep you in the budget that you actually have for the project. If you will end up going over-budget with your current plans, the professional experts can help to make some less expensive options available.
This can also mean that if a homeowner goes into a project after having been given low-ball estimates and suddenly realizes that to do it right, they may need a bigger budget. Scope development saves the head-ache of potentially running into huge issues later, where a project could end up dragging on for seemingly forever. It’s not that one-man operations aren’t honest, but many times they won’t have the team, knowledge or resources necessary to always give the most accurate quote.
There’s also a strong possibility that not only can the budget be blown out the water, but the homeowner may grow frustrated and fire the one-man band and hire a professional remodeler to finish it all anyway. This is why it’s recommended to go with a pro remodeling company that can save you lots of time and possibly a great many frustrations in the long-term.