The Quality Triangle of a Home RemodelThey say that you can have 2 of any 3 things in a home remodel. Cheap, Fast, or Good. But only 2. Never all 3. If you want a job done fast and at a high level of workmanship, it’s not going to be the cheapest. If you’re on a budget but need quality, it defiantly won’t be a fast process. If you need it cheap and fast, it defiantly won’t be high quality. Decisions, decisions. Now, you have to decide what two you want or can have. Unless you want to spend the better part of a year dealing with a contractor, I would assume that you want the job done decently fast. I can assume that we all want a good quality home remodel. While our remodel doesn’t have to be astronomical in terms of cost, that means that your remodel won’t be the cheapest out there. Knowing the triangle up front helps a lot of home owners avoid the mistake of taking the lowest bid, without regard to the consequences.
When you take the lowest bid on a home remodelI will admit, I have fallen victim to this. I was working on a large remodeling project. I got quotes from at least 5 people. I found someone to install my windows, work on my interior framing and my roof, who was offering to do it at a much lower price than everyone else. He claimed this was because he wanted to build a relationship. That we could work together on future projects. That we would refer him to friends and family. It sounded legit. I was thrilled to get my project going and was I really going to be UNDER budget? As work began, it seemed ok. And then things started happening. The project wouldn’t be complete 100%, but payment was being requested to get the rest of our materials. Issues were spotted and were promised to be fixed. He would be there tomorrow. Tomorrow came, but he did not. Phone calls were made, but never answered. I kept being strung along, telling me that the rest of the work was going to be done, and going to be done right away. But this was not the case. I ended up cutting my losses and moving on with other options. While this may not be the scenario that you encounter with every cheap contractor that you meet, it was definitely mine, as well as that of many others that we’ve spoken to in our business.
The Real Cost of The Lowest PriceLow cost trades have to take on more jobs to make the same money that a higher cost installer would. This means typically that they are overbooked and everyone ends up on the receiving end of poor communication and customer service. What can happen when you work with low cost trades is that they are very short term oriented. If you have paid $1,000 for your project, and they are supposed to be there tomorrow. Then, they find another job that will pay $1,500 and they also want it done tomorrow? Guess who gets the shaft? When you are doing an extensive home remodel project, you have to coordinate multiple trades. You could be dealing with window installers, framers, dry wallers, plumbers, electricians, cabinet installers, flooring installers, tile installers, and the list goes on. In most cases, one job can’t be started until another is finished, and sometimes inspected. If you have scheduled your trades in advance, and someone cancels on you, you then have to reschedule your other trades. Depending on their other commitments, you may not be able to get back in their schedule for weeks. What are weeks in construction worth to you?
It is estimated that rework, lost time, and rescheduling conflicts can cost up to 50% of your entire renovation project.
Lower cost trades have a much higher probability for rework, unkept commitments, and cutting corners. Again, we are not saying this of all contractors that charge a lower than average price, but if you do encounter this, we would highly recommend getting referrals from the past year and calling them to get their experience.