Q. I've never remodeled before. What should I expect?
A. You are about to enter a whole new world. It will begin with exhilaration at the possibilities and move slowly towards the challenging work of decision-making and setting realistic expectations. You will be impressed with the complexity that unfolds as you realize why we are there to guide you every step of the way. Eventually, the buildout will start and things will get messy. We liken the journey to a rollercoaster ride that has its ups and downs but always ends in jubilation. You might also think of it as a well-choreographed dance with a partner instructor you can trust to make you look fabulous!
Q. Do you give free estimates?
A. No. We would never do that to you or to ourselves. A free "estimate" is worth exactly what you pay for it—nothing. It's just a low-ball guess designed to give you temporary peace of mind. If a remodeler actually gives you a line-item breakdown for free, they won't be in business for long, nor will they be around to back up their warranty. We can always tell you what similar projects have cost recently as a starting point, but since every remodel is custom and unique that "ballpark range" can only serve as a general guidepost. There is no fee for that. However, if you need more budget information, then we would recommend for a small fee, a Feasibility Assessment. If you are someone who has remodeled before or is comfortable with recent costs, then a Design Agreement is the best choice. That fee is only 5% of the projected budget even though it involves dozens of hours designing your remodel and building a detailed budget and several meetings with you.
Q. Who determines what my project will actually cost?
A. You determine the cost of your project by the decisions you make about the scope of your project and materials used. We cannot tell you what you want or how much you are willing to spend. only you can do that. Our job is to detail the legitimate, realistic costs of purchasing and building the things you tell us you want.
So, be honest with yourself and with us about what you really want and what you are willing to invest. Our purpose is to make your home life better. We are not here to see how much we can get you to spend whether you can afford it or not—no company ever survived long on that business model.
Q. How can I know if the cost you provide is accurate and reasonable?
A. We have a full-time estimator to check and double-check our pricing and to hold our suppliers accountable for the lowest price negotiable. We call him “Q” because he is a little God-like in his understanding of material costs. Trust is the currency of any collaborative effort. It's why so many of our clients return for more remodeling. If we practiced deception even on a small scale that trust would be destroyed and so would we.
Q. If I wait for things to settle down might it cost less?
A. Like the promise of the cable TV guy actually showing up on time, there’s always hope, but there’s no chance. While we know that commodities like lumber fluctuate seasonally, the materials used in most remodels, such as countertops, flooring, windows, doors, and cabinets, have never gone down—EVER—regardless of inflation.
So, the aggregate cost of a remodel, materials, and labor, are never going to be less. Remodeling by its nature is a complex, custom, highly collaborative, and time-consuming endeavor. It is not a commodity, nor will it be done by robots at any time in the future—we hope.
Q. How long will it take?
A. The time it takes to create the design, make all selections, and complete the budget for your project varies by scope. Our average project development timeline has grown over the last few years from 19 to 22 weeks, mostly due to the supply chain disruptions and the expanding size of projects. Smaller, less complicated projects may take half that time. Your decision-making ability in the design phase can also affect timing.
Regardless, since we aren’t paid in full until the project is done, we have every reason to complete your project as soon as we possibly can. We want the exact same thing—to get it done with great care (one of our 4 core values). Remodeling is complex, requiring proven systems and practices, checks, and re-checks, all while being subject to the unpredictable nature of daily life!
Q. I have a small bathroom, shouldn’t that cost less?
A. You would think so, wouldn’t you? Well, it will cost less than a full kitchen remodel, but it may not cost much less than a larger bathroom. Why? Because the difference in cost isn’t just in the materials, it’s also in the labor. Unfortunately, we can’t send out half a person for a half bath or a small person for a small powder room.
Every project is unique in multiple ways. For instance, you can buy an $8,000 electric toilet (with a remote) to go in a small bathroom or select a $300 commode to go in a full bath or master suite. So, it’s not so much about the space as it is the scope of work to be done in the space and the quality level of materials selected. Most full bathroom remodels are running in the ’40s to mid-’50s. The most recent Cost Vs. Value report can shed some light on the subject. Be that as it may, uttering the magic words, “It’s just a small bathroom” won’t actually make it cost a lot less. But we do sympathize.
Q. Can I do some of the work myself and save money?
A. You can if your efforts are at the beginning or end of the project. Some people choose to do their own demo to save money. However, if the remodel is in an older home, lead or asbestos may be present and special precautions must be taken if you are to handle such materials. Some choose to do the final painting of walls or ceilings themselves to save money. This can work out but rarely does on a timeline that at least one member of the family would call acceptable. The question you want to ask yourself is what is your time worth? It's all about trade-offs and risks. Did you know some 300,000 people are injured every year while doing their own work and 25,000 are hospitalized?
Q. Can I provide some of the materials and save money?
A. Yes you can and for those willing to take the risk, it is possible to save up to 10% on the cost of a project. The risk of course is you are responsible for any future product warranty issues, backorders, or material shortages that will delay the completion of your project. Some of our clients have done so successfully though not many.
Q. Can I talk to your experts without cost or feeling pressured to sign anything?
A. Yes, and here's why. We are not a one-call close storm chasing company. Our approach is to meet in person, in your home, in the space you are thinking of remodeling. Typically, it takes an hour or two to discover what’s not working in your home and what you’d like to change or fix to make things better. We call it a “discovery meeting” because that’s what we’re doing together, discovering what’s needed and sharing a path forward to learn what’s possible.
Q. What if I decide I can’t afford it and we’ve already started on the design phase?
No problem. We will refund you any unused portion of your design agreement fee. However, to avoid that ever happening, we strongly urge our clients to work with an advisor who understands construction financing to determine their funding before the design phase begins.
Q. Do most people live in the home while remodeling is done or move out?
Most do because they don’t have alternative housing for such a long period of time. However, we take special precautions to limit the exposure to dust, through poly walls and dust collection filters. Remodeling is inconvenient no matter where you stay. Just being honest.
Q. Do you have your own skilled labor or do you farm it all out?
A. We have our own design/build consultants, carpenters, project managers, painters, designers, drafters, architects, cabinet makers, an estimator, and a client satisfaction team. A deeper, more talented bench of professionals you will not find anywhere else in the 5-state area. Having said that, we do have long-standing trade partners that do specialty work, such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing, which we choose not to do ourselves for practical and cost reasons.
Q. What makes you more trustworthy than the next remodeler?
A. Thousands of customers spanning 39 years, a 30-year A+ rating with the BBB, winner of the Torch Award for Ethics in Business, a nationally recognized leader in client satisfaction, many local, regional, and national awards from Houzz, NARI, Qualified Remodeler magazine, NAHB, a 25 + year record of 90% client satisfaction rating from GuildQuality (currently at 94% for 2022), and the publishing of our 4 core values. We also publish our reviews on our website regardless of whether they are good, bad, or ugly. It's one way we hold ourselves accountable. Have you ever heard of anyone else who does that?