by Marie King
More often than not, you will be doing a remodel rather than a build. Most of your customers can’t afford to build a new house, but they do have the capitol to remodel. There are five things you should consider before diving into a remodeling job: design, materials, distractions, money and house style. These are items that you have clear with your client from the git-go.
You shouldn’t start a remodeling job without a design. The design should delineate all the details of the remodel. It should show exactly what features, fixtures and layout will be included. The design is something that you should discuss at length with your customers. There are many decisions to be made in a remodel. You can guide your customers to make the best decisions, based on their wants and needs.
However, inevitably clients will want to make changes as the project evolves. You need to try to limit these changes. These changes if significant can throw you off schedule and have you over budget.
Materials are a major cost in a remodeling job. Before you buy materials, you must make sure that the clients are committed to those material choices. If you sense any indecision on the part of the client in regard to some of the materials, you may want to hold off buying the materials in question. Before you buy the materials, get the approval for them. Don’t spend your own money on materials. Make sure you don’t rack up material expenses that you may not be compensated for because of design changes.
The biggest distraction in a remodeling job is the family. Many homeowners want to be right there with you to supervise the work. Children and pets can be more than a distraction because a construction site can be a dangerous place for them to be. Explain patiently to the homeowners that being in the construction area can hold up the project and cost them more money.
When homeowners launch a remodeling project, in some cases they don’t consider how the inside of the house has to jive with the exterior. You can’t put an ultra modern kitchen or bath in a colonial house. Your job as the contractor is to guide the homeowners toward choices that are in sync with the house’s personality. When the job is finished, your remodeling should coordinate not only with the house’s inside but also with it’s outside.
Overruns are not uncommon for remodeling projects. The problem with overruns is that the cash to pay for it may not be available. In the beginning, be clear on what the remodel budget is and find out if there is any flexibility in that number. You don’t want to have overruns, However, if the clients make numerous choices, you may be faced with an overrun. Don’t place yourself in a situation, where you are absorbing the expenses for your client’s changes to the design.