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  • Adam Oakley

The Dreaded "B" Word... Budget!

So you're considering a renovation. You may have watched HGTV, asked a friend or done some research online to get some idea of what a project should cost. You have a number in your head. Now it's time to contact a contractor.


You call 3 contractors, each give you a price based on a loosely defined scope of a project. Obviously, you go with the cheapest bidder, right? SURE! - if you like to gamble...


The problem is, on a loosely defined scope of work - meaning you may have a concept in your mind and a few pins on Pinterest of designs that you enjoy, There is no viable way to price a job. Even in doing just one specific task, say, sanding floors, there are 10 different ways to accomplish the task, some being best practices and some not. When 3 different contractors bid your job, unless you have a fully detailed and specified plan, you're rolling the dice on what you're going to recieve. On top of that, there are other factors, Does your contractor carry insurance? Is the project going to be permitted? Is he/she licensed? Are his/her sub-contractors licensed? Can a certain product be used in this application? what will be done to mitigate dust in my house? Will non-project areas be protected? Are best practices being put into place? -Just to name a few variables that affect price.


Contractor prices are not apples to apples.


It's important to ask these questions, never be afraid to ask questions of why certains things are being done in certain ways. A competent contractor or tradesperson is generally eager to educate the client.


So as a client, what am I supposed to do?!?!


I've found, in order to successfully complete kitchen and bath remodels, the most effective way is to openly and honestly discuss budget, early on. The sooner the better. It saves both parties a TON of wasted time. for instance, a client may be describing a $25K master bath remodel they actually have a $5k budget or a client may think that the bathroom they want is not affordable when actually it is, then maybe you have a little extra set aside to add that one extra feature you always wanted or put it back into your child's college fund. I know it's scary to share your budget and if you don't trust your contractor enough to do so, then they may not be the right fit for you anyway!


MY PRICE DOES NOT ADAPT TO YOUR BUDGET. Your scope of work is what determines the budget. You're in control. I enjoy the process of value engineering - meaning, finding the best product for the budget. For these smaller remodels, my personal process involves an initial consult where we talk very rough numbers based on what your ideas are. This is the free estimate, an estimate is just that, an educated guess. THEN, if we are in the ballpark and all parties are agreeable, we would sign a design agreement and develop a detailed proposal. Depending on your design needs and the depth of the project, we would either make selections, together, through local vendors OR I can pair you with an interior designer. This is not a free service, however, this service is beneficial to you because if you decide that we are not the right fit, for whatever reason, you have a fully detailed scope of work and design ready to be accurately bid... and if you do choose to move forward with Oakley Building Co. then the design price is deducted from the renovation cost.







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