Contracting is an intimate business. A homeowner isn’t just asking the contractor to bang nails into a few pieces of wood and call it a day. They are asking them to make significant changes to their most valuable possession – their home, where they should always feel at peace and provide a safe haven for their family.
A contractor’s skill, experience and tools will come heavily into play once work is underway. But it’s also important never to lose sight of the preliminary phases of contracting: meeting, design, and estimation. These lay the groundwork for all the important labor to follow, give the homeowner confidence in the contractor’s abilities, and ensure they will receive precisely the home improvements they desire.
Let’s shed a little light on these crucial and (often overlooked) phases of quality contracting.
“First impressions matter. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes.” Elliot Abrams’ words of advice apply universally, which is why it is so important to meet your contractor before they perform any work for you. It may sound unscientific, but if you don’t like someone, then you shouldn’t pay them thousands of dollars to alter your home.
Your initial meeting with your contractor gives you a chance to ask invaluable questions. How long have you been in business? Are you licensed, insured and bonded – and can you prove it? Do you take care of inspections and permits? How long will the project take, which subcontractors will you hire during the course of it, and what disturbances can I expect?
Don’t forget: a homeowner who hires a contractor is an employer. They are therefore right to treat their first meeting with a contractor like it’s a job interview.
If you are considering hiring a contractor, then you have no doubt already formed a vision for your completed project. Whether you’re building a new home from the ground up – or merely remodeling your kitchen – it is essential for you and your contractor to agree to a design before work commences. It removes any ambiguity and ensures that the finished work will satisfy your expectations.
The design process is also crucial to understanding whether your budget makes your goals feasible. You may not already know how much construction materials cost, or the amount of labor requisite to install them. A savvy contractor will take advantage of the design process to understand your vision, as well as explain whether any substitutions or compromises must be implemented in order to meet your budgetary or timeline constraints.
Estimating is the process of calculating all of a construction or remodeling project’s required costs, which include materials, labor and permits. At its simplest, estimating only requires the contractor to tally up expenses they’re already intimately familiar with and produce a final figure.
But several other factors often come into play during the estimation process, such as the age of the property and whether the homeowner would like the project completed faster than usual. You may attempt to estimate the total cost of a home improvement project without expert help. You may even arrive at a reasonably accurate figure if you do. But until you’ve received an estimate from an experienced contractor, you really are flying blind.
Are you looking for a contractor in Central Minnesota who understands the value of the preliminary phases of remodeling and construction? Then we welcome you to contact Wensmann Contractors today! We’re happy to meet with you without obligation, produce a design which fully satisfies your vision, and provide an estimate that won’t leave any surprises in store.