3 Ways Homeowners can Receive Quality Estimates

Posted 4-20-20

One of my new clients contacted me last week about two estimates he received from two contractors. The estimates were vastly different and the client wasn’t clear about the proposals. I said to myself this hasn’t been the only time a homeowner that I heard about this issue. The client was “planning” their master bathroom renovation.

Does this sound familiar?

I dug a little deeper and asked about which documents did they submitted to each remodeler.  They indicated that they just had a conversation and asked for the quote.

This by no means is the fault of the contractors nor the homeowners.  For one, this couple didn’t know how to convey their project parameters. 

This was the recommendation I gave them, and I believe this can help your clients too.

Tip #1: Good Planning

A client can write down concisely in words what they wish for in their space. This may also include working with a design professional to create drawings and provide clear specifications for the scope.

For each client, I encourage them fill out a brief summary. We go over investment numbers throughout the design process.  Defining materials and showing layouts to contractors will help them effectively provide estimates. I provide 3D Designs in my design packages so the remodelers clearly understand the level of work.  After the design work is completed, I tell the clients to submit the package we created together and hand them to each vetted remodeler. 

Do you want to know what happened to this client?  The estimates were spot on and the contractor selected was pleased to see that the homeowners clearly defined expectations. It’s a win-win for the homeowner and the remodeler.

Tip #2: Selecting the Right Contractor For Your Project

A client should NEVER solely go by the cheapest bid.  It’s about quality, integrity and partnership. Certainly, your investment amount plays a role in this too.

  1. Ask for references: A trusted family and friends can share their experiences working with the contractor. I also recommend asking a contractor to supply a current or past project contact if they are willing to share. 
  2. Look at the types of work they produce.  For example, if you need a kitchen renovation, it is best to find a remodeler who does a large part of their business in this sector. Don’t expect to hire a contractor where most of their work is windows and doors.
  3. Ask the contractor about their communication style.  Will they be responsive?

Tip #3: Stop Indecision

Improper planning leads to indecision, which leads to guess what? It will lead to change orders.  On the client side, changing your mind will lead to higher construction costs which also affects timelines. Sometime unforeseeable circumstances can happen, but most times change orders can be avoided by making decisions well before the sledgehammer hits your client wall.

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