Prepping For a Consultation

Are you planning a large-scale remodeling of your house and need a contractor? There are a few things you should think about and prepare for before you actually sit down with the contractor for the initial consultation. Beyond anticipating what to look for in a remodeler, how many estimates you should get, finding referrals, or which licenses the contractors should have, you need to be ready for actually meeting the contractor face-to-face. Create a plan so you know your set goals and expectations. This will make it easier for the contractor, who will now know exactly what you want, and you, too. It will make you more confident during the negotiations and also define what you want the end game of the project to be. For such a large financial investment, it is a good idea to invest some of your time, as well, in order to ensure everything is done correctly and to your specific desires.

In particular, there are two things to be concerned about: Your budget and your plan.

Your Budget
The perfect contractor will be able to take your definitive budget and help you make a plan that fits within that budget. However, either most clients prefer to do the legwork themselves or contractors aren’t also interior designers well prepared to take on a client and crafting something to their liking. Either way, your budget will define how your plan will end up. Although each job is unique and entails its own special requirements, you can get a general idea of how much it can cost by doing more research online. Depending on your plan, you may have a wide range of costs, from choosing between tiling and flooring to the price of appliances. Take a look at Home Depot’s or Lowes’ website and check out the items involved in your remodeling, in particular the appliances and fixtures. This will not only give you an idea to their costs, but let you know what is available and visually appealing to you. With your plan in mind, choose items that you like and begin building your budget, also seeing the prices of similar items to help adjust costs. As you build your budget, start to work on your plan. Beyond the budget of your items, you must factor in what you are prepared to pay for the contractor’s labor. Each contractor values their work-time differently and it can lead to various estimates for the same exact job. Have a rough idea of what you are willing to pay on top of your estimated material costs. This total should be your budget.

Your Plan
Your plan is exactly what you want done for the remodeling. Being fully prepared to meet with the contractor would entail having a complete plan. This means more than just “a state-of-the-art kitchen.” For one, a state-of-the-art kitchen can mean different things to different people, and depending on the budget, can limit the appliances and material available. If budget weren’t an issue, your plan for a kitchen remodeling, for example, could include La Cornue’s Grand Palais 180 kitchen range, a charming and versatile stove top that includes two ovens, one gas and one electric, two large hot plates, solid brass burners at both ends, and it will only cost you $48,000. Unfortunately, most people are working within a budget (and one less than the aforementioned kitchen range), so designating your entire budget on a single item will likely not lead to a very good finished product. Think about everything that should be done and everything you would like done. Just about anything can be done with the right permits. Your imagination is the only limit in this phase of preparations. There are various resources you can draw ideas from, including magazines and websites like Pinterest. You can cut out or take photocopies of the items you like and show them to the contractor as part of your overall plan.

Once you have both your budget and plan settled, you are ready to meet with your contractor. If you are fully prepared, your meeting should go smoothly and the outcome should be to your approval. The contractor will provide realistic options for you, including an estimate of total costs and a more defined plan. They may even be willing to go to your local home improvement store and actually shop with you for all the fixtures and material and then pick up the materials when it’s ready to be installed. If on the other hand, you prefer to just let the contractor do it all, realize you will be paying the premium for the extra work done. Shopping around isn’t a bad thing and it can lead to the remodeling project of your dreams becoming a reality.

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