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Contractor Tips: Shopping for Your Remodel

Contractor Tips: Shopping for Your Remodel

Though remodeling a home is an expensive endeavor, smart shopping can be one of the best ways to ensure your customer can get the most features and best results possible, within their budget. A lot of factors come into play here.  The general rule of thumb, which is that superior quality materials will translate into better results, rings true. The customer must set realistic expectations on what they want to achieve with the space. For example, what is the priority: form, or function? What is the expected level of use for the space? Will there be pets and children involved? Is this for rental purposes? These factors can affect the types of materials and their level of cost/durability required.

One thing to be wary of when shopping for a remodeling job is cutting corners. The results can often be poor craftsmanship, unhappy customers and a negative impact on reputations for contractors.

Before shopping, consult with the customer to get as clear a vision as possible, for what they want. This is where the expertise of a contractor really shines.  Your knowledge and past experience can play a large part in tempering expectations, given the allotted budget.

Having said that, here are some cost-saving suggestions:

  • Try to stick with products and materials that have proven themselves for you and your company. This could be something that you have installed yourself or is something that a colleague has worked with. If the homeowner wants to try a product or material that you haven’t worked with, do the research and read reviews so that you can ensure whether or not this is still a good fit for them.
  • Buy local if possible. By doing so, you’ll not only be supporting the local economy, but you’ll also save big on delivery and shipping costs.
  • Sometimes high quality, proven materials can be bought as salvaged. Doors, hardware and masonry items are great examples. Things that can provide distinct character to a room can be bought at a fraction of the cost, when working with salvaged material. Bear in mind that over doing it with salvaged materials can become more labor-intensive and slow down the project, thus actually increasing costs for the customer. There are some risks with using salvaged materials, such as warrantees for bathroom fixtures, for example. But as long as the homeowner and contractor agree, salvaged materials are a “green” choice that can save money.
  • The more accurately you plan for the types and quantities of needed materials, the earlier you can order them. Having more of what you need already on hand can save a lot of time (and money) as opposed to making excess trips to the lumber yard.

The more communication between contractor and homeowner, the better. By working together and keeping choices as clear as possible, the remodeling job can be done with minimal delays, and within budget.

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