Blog: Contractor Chatter

6 Ways to Get Your Home Renovation Done on Your Terms – Part 2

Your home renovation done your way, but how? To avoid some of the hassles the come hand in hand with those contractor horror stories you need to take control of your project.  I can’t tell you how many times a new client hired us only to find out we were finishing work they thought was going to be included during their last home renovation.  That’s why part 1 of this article discusses 2 ways you can make sure everything you want is included in your proposal.  And the story continues…

Get Your Normal Life Back ASAP by Staying on Schedule

Is this going to take longer than promised? We live in a world of instant gratification, fast food, and the one-hour photo.  Unfortunately, construction doesn’t work that way and it can take a toll on any homeowner if not done right.  Our little tip for ensuring your project gets completed within your time frame is to hire a contractor who is willing to negotiate the contract.  Since the schedule is, of course, going to be a topic of discussion when you’re interviewing your contractors, we suggest you take it a step further and make sure the completion date is written in black and white.  The language in your agreement under the scheduling clause needs to note your contractor’s deliverables on the subject.  These should include:

  1. Written or computer-generated master schedule
  2. Frequency of updates to that schedule
  3. Written weekly task lists being made available, and
  4. A commitment to holding project schedule update meetings.

These items can obligate your contractor to providing you what you already expect and you can request to set the parameters for your updates, so you can stay informed as often as you’d like and trust me, daily verbal progress updates are not an unreasonable request.  These items may take some time on your contractor’s part, but they actually increase efficiency and assist in keeping them on schedule.

Don’t Burn Your Home Renovation Budget

In Part 1 you learned how to make sure your contractor will do the work you want them to do and get everything done.  That is also the first step in staying on budget because you need all the details about the work and written project specifications to obtain a fixed proposal pricing.  Estimates can provide a job cost range, but with a valid fixed price (lump-sum contract) you know exactly what you’re paying for upfront.

Everyone looking for a home renovation will at some point wonder if final price is going to be higher than what was quoted.  This legitimate concern is backed by a recent report published by a qualified independent research firm which noted 71% of construction projects experience cost overruns.  However, with the specifications and detailed task list in hand, this does NOT have to be the case on your project.

Another easy trick is to pre-shop all your selections for finish products to ensure a minimal amount unknowns.  If you know the products and materials you want installed, they can be priced.  This eliminates the need for allowances in your proposal which are a typical culprit of cost overruns.  A cash allowance in the quote sets aside funds to portions of the work.  These usually end up including installation of finishes which were not sufficiently specified during the time the quotation was prepared.  A little extra time spent pre-planning can go a long way.

We hope these tips help you get your next project done on your terms.

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