Clients deserve a straight answer, but getting it requires an honest conversation,
Everyone wants to get as much value as possible for their investment and that makes the balance between cost and value a high priority for many remodeling clients. Not surprisingly, a lot of people approach the remodeler with costs gleaned from internet articles. Those articles typically say it should cost X dollars for a simple bath, from Y to Z for a full kitchen remodel, and so on.
We encourage people to do their own research, but we also caution that such numbers should be considered a starting point.
Some clients get fixated on the online numbers but don’t take the time to define exactly what products and details those numbers represent, or how closely the products and details match the products and details the clients want in their home. This is a recipe for miscommunication.
We understand the need to simplify a complex subject like estimating costs, but there’s also a more fundamental issue at work. Yes, clients want to know if they can afford a given remodeler, but they also want assurance that the remodeler will be a good steward of their budget, their vision, and their home. It’s up to the remodeler to provide that assurance.
While a professional remodeling company relies on proven, scientific management systems, creating an accurate budget is still as much craft as science. No ethical company will quote a hard price before asking for more information, because doing so would risk misleading the client.
The remodeler is tasked with helping the clients realize a very personal vision for their home. Because each vision is unique, estimating the cost of that vision requires the clients to answer some questions.
First, we need an overview of what the project will include. Will the proposed kitchen remodel include relocating walls or removing the ceiling to create a cathedral? Do the homeowners want stock cabinets or custom ones? Do they want the new space to match the other rooms in the home? A colonial-style home with intricate moldings will have different material and labor costs than a modern structure with minimal trim.
We also need to define the level of interior finishes the homeowners want. Generic terms like “medium grade” aren’t too helpful, but we can clarify expectations by starting with some easy questions, like their preferences between two levels of plumbing fixtures, flooring, windows or siding.
After creating this baseline, we can then show plans and photos from completed projects. And we can often provide a ballpark estimate of what it would cost to do something similar in their home.
The conversation is also a chance for the remodeler to clarify the clients’ expectations, as well as learning about their remodeling history. For instance, if their last project went over budget, we can explain how taking time up front to write clear specifications can eliminate that problem. If their home wasn’t treated with the care they expected, then we can demonstrate how our processes ensure that it will be.
Ultimately, what most people want is assurance that they’re working with someone they can trust. A good remodeler earns that trust by investing the time and effort needed to understand all the variables involved, by using that information to calculate an accurate price, and by making sure all the clients’ concerns are addressed before work starts. Clients deserve nothing less.