Just about every online guide you can find on “tips for remodeling your home” will tell you it’s important to get multiple bids for your project before hiring just any contractor. As it is with any big investment, you should carefully consider your options, have a clear understanding of the process, and establish confidence and a comfortable relationship with the individual or company you intend to hire. This is especially true in the remodeling industry, as projects tend to be very costly and can last for several months. It’s critical that you find a reliable, experienced contractor that you get along with. Of course, the main purpose of meeting multiple contractors and getting multiple bids isn’t only to determine if you can trust them, but also to compare pricing.
You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t hire the contractor with the cheapest price. As tempting as it might be, a super cheap price up front could end up costing you much more in the long run. We have had various clients come to this realization only after having a poor experience with a (suspiciously) affordable contractor. The project started out well, but ended prematurely with a lot of frustration, anger and an incomplete or faulty remodel. Often times, the only solution in this situation is to back-track by removing what was done incorrectly and start the construction from scratch. Unfortunately, that means more time and money on top of what has already been done. What a headache!
One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to purchase designs for your remodel before getting competitive bids. At Medford Design-Build, we offer custom design packages to all of our clients, whether they are planning on using us as their contractor or are in the process of getting bids from multiple contractors.
Here is a breakdown of what is included in our custom design packages and how each piece can be helpful when you’re getting bids for your home remodel:
Plans & Renderings
Each of our custom design packages includes detailed floor plans and 3D renderings of the remodeled space, providing a clear visual of how the space will be laid out and what it will look like once construction is complete. We do this by taking photos and measurements of your existing home and plugging it into our rendering software. Our designers then draw the details of the room (walls, flooring, cabinetry, countertops, windows, lighting, finishes, etc.) according to the inspiration photos and notes we collect from you during your consultation. This visual aid is extremely helpful because it brings to life an idea that you have only imagined. It can either confirm what you want in your remodel or prove that what you had in mind might not work in reality. In either situation, our team of designers is able to assist you with suggestions and ideas to provide the best possible outcome of your project. We can make tweaks and revisions to the designs until you are 100% happy with it.
How this is helpful: Providing detailed plans and renderings to various contractors allows all of them to quote exactly the same thing, putting everyone on the same playing field and allowing you to compare bids on an “apples to apples” basis. Just as different individuals might see different pictures in an inkblot, different contractors will provide quotes based on their perception of your project. Having the plans already drawn up provides clarity and absolution for an accurate estimate from everyone, helping you to make the best possible choice when it comes to hiring.
Scope of Work Document
Once the designs are complete, we put together a comprehensive Scope of Work document to outline everything that needs to be done to construct this project based on the designs. This document specifies the following items:
- Tape and Texture
- Paint – Interior
- Paint – Exterior
- Counter Tops
- Clean-up and Debris Haul-off
Also addressed in this document are the specific items that are not included in the project, the estimated timeframe, insurance and warranty disclosures, change order processes, the total cost for materials and labor, and a proposed payment schedule. Obviously, this section of items is specific to Medford Design-Build and will be different for every contractor that quotes your project. Even if you do not choose to use us as your contractor, the scope of work we provide should certainly be used as a guideline if you choose to work with a contractor that does not provide written documentation of the project specifications.
How this is helpful: There is a lot involved in a home remodel. A whole lot! As a homeowner, you might not be aware of every small part that contributes to the grand finished product. Unfortunately, there are many contractors out there that will take advantage of you by quoting a cheaper price initially with the intent of cutting corners or leaving out portions of the project as a way to save a buck. This can either lead to a project that is not to code or result in the contractor asking for significantly more money halfway through the project. Neither of those are nice surprises! Having a detailed scope of work puts you in the driver seat when searching for a contractor, giving you an outline of exactly what needs to be done – if the contractor leaves out any of the specs in his bid, you will know to ask him about it before agreeing to hire him.
Budget Items Worksheet
At the end of the Scope of Work document is a section we call the Budget Items Worksheet. This worksheet is a chart of line items that will be purchased for your project. It includes things like tile selection, countertop materials, flooring, appliances, and so on. Think of this as the “shopping list” of fun items you get to pick out. Here is an example of a Budget Items Worksheet for a kitchen remodel:
As a part of our process at Medford Design-Build, our Interior Designer will help you select these items if you need assistance. We also have representatives at each of our local vendors that can schedule meetings with you throughout the shopping phase. Once all of your items are selected, we will schedule a purchase order meeting and our in-office Operations Manager will order all of your items for you. The correct items, models, and quantities will be ordered, tracked, and delivered to our office, so you won’t have to worry about ordering any of it on your own. Once everything is delivered, we will proceed to schedule the start date for construction.
How this is helpful: Unless you are working with a design-build firm or a professional remodeler, it’s likely you will have to supply these items on your own. Many general contractors require you to order your appliances and have them on-site, ready for installation when the time comes. Having a list of the items you need along with the price of each provides for a smoother experience and helps you control your budget. For example, if you add up all the items and the total is a bit over your budget, you can go back to those line items and determine which ones to swap out for more affordable options.
Have Confidence Where Ever You Live
The neat thing about our custom design package service is that you don’t have to be local to Tarrant County for us to create designs for you! If you live in another part of Texas, or even in another state, we can create a custom design package for your remodel based on photos, measurements, and details you’ve provided us via email. We are happy to communicate online or through conference calls in order to complete your designs. You can then take those designs to a local contractor or builder to have the construction completed. This is a great option to keep in mind if you’re planning on moving to an area that doesn’t have a design-build firm or if you know of friends or family in a similar situation.
While project designs are not a requirement when getting home remodeling bids, they will provide you with the tools you need to make the best decisions and have the best experience. The custom design packages we create will assist you with every step of the process – from providing a visual aid to outlining the details of the job, to providing a shopping list and maintaining your budget. If you are interested in a custom design package for your home remodeling project or would like more information, please contact us! We’d be happy to explain the process in depth and send you a sample design package to your email.
The Medford Design-Build Team