If you are like most consumer’s, price DOES mean something when considering a project with a remodeler. Especially in today’s economic environment. No matter who you are, or what you do, everyone has a budget.
Sometimes using price to determine your final decision works well. For two identical items, one would expect, in most cases, to choose the less expensive of the two. Its when two items appear to be the same that one might run into trouble. Remember, not all things are created equal. The old cliche’, be sure to “compare apples to apples” and NOT “apples to oranges” is pertinent when dealing with your remodeling project.
Understanding a remodeling quote
When researching remodelers, it is important to do your homework. Not all contractors are created equal. The easiest way to compare prices is by looking at the quote, bid, specifications or however they refer to it. The quote should be specific as to WHAT work will be done and even better, what work WILL NOT be done. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Contractors are sometimes guilty of writing specifications in languages they use everyday and understand and not always in a way that most people could understand.
So, if you don’t understand an item, ask to get clarification. If your remodeler is reluctant to explain, time to find another one. The amount of detail in a quote or set of specifications in relation to the final price is also important. For example, if you want to remodel your kitchen and you call in three contractors to provide you bids you should be able to learn a lot by the comparison between the three. For example, which of the three bids contains the least detail? Which contains the most? Nine times out of ten, the quote with the least detail will be the least expensive.
At the very least, you need to ask the contractor to put his scope of work in writing. If he is unwilling, time to part ways. Now, with the two most detailed bids in hand, you can begin to make some educated comparisons. Go line by line through the specifications and compare items. Keep detailed notes of items included in one bid, but not the other along with any questions you may have. Then, have an upfront conversation with each of the two candidates to try to answer your questions and find out why or why not certain items are included.
So, what happens if two remodelers have near identical specifications and pricing? GREAT! This is a strong indication you have narrowed your choices down to two reputable remodelers and are NOW comparing “apples to apples” and NOT “apples to oranges”. If specs and prices are both equal, how do you choose one over the other? Now is the time to compare referrals, credentials and experience, or how long they have been business. Get a list of past clients and the type of projects they completed. Be sure to ask not only made them happy but also what went wrong, or things maybe the contractor could have improved upon. However, the reality is not everything goes right all the time, no matter how much planning and foresight is involved. Let’s face it, remodeling is not all smooth sailing and sometimes, there are unexpected surprises.
Remodeling Associations and Memberships
Besides referrals, compare credentials. Does the contractor belong to your local Builder’s Association? In the Indianapolis area, the Builder’s Association of Greater Indianapolis, or BAGI, is our local builder’s association. This is important because association members are bound to a code of standards in which to judge quality and performance. It can act on the behalf of both contractor and consumer if a dispute should arise.
Along with membership in your local builders association, compare other credentials such as educational designations such as CGR, CGP or CAPS, which are specialized designations backed by the NAHB. Finally, look into a companies longevity. How long have they been in business; What is the company history? Have they received awards or have they been recognized in magazine publications? How long have the key employees been around? Look for a sense of strong company culture; one with experience and pride. There are many factors in choosing the best Indianapolis remodeler for your next project. The most important thing to remember is be sure to compare apples to apples. Only then can you truly begin to compare one contractor to another. Compare project specs, credentials and experience to get the best sense of who you should choose.
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