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remodeling fort collinsYou’re planning for a home remodel, and you’re starting to get excited! It might be your kitchen, your basement, a whole floor, or even just a single bathroom, but you’ve got a pretty good handle on what you want, from the materials to the colors to the timeline, and you’re ready to start budgeting and looking for a contractor to do the work.

So, you send out your queries and the quotes come back, and then the lowest bid winsright?

Well, not so fast.

Sometimes the best bid, and the best value on the table, isn’t the lowest offer. Here’s why:

1. Unusually Low Bids Might Not Be Accurate, or Honest

Some contractors will intentionally toss out lowball bids as a negotiating strategy to get you roped in. These quotes will often omit specific details regarding materials and work needed, as well as explanations and on-site consultations.

According to a 2007 Wall Street Journal Article, “Construction firms often make unrealistically low bids to get jobs… but they can count on finding plenty of reasons later to jack the price up enough to allow for a profit. When the building is underway, it becomes prohibitively expensive to fire the contractor and start anew. The owner has become a hostage.”

If your contractor doesn’t put in the time to give you a complete and detailed estimate up-front, there’s good reason to think that their goal posts are going to move as soon as you start working with them.

2. You Get What You Pay For

To stay in business, all contractors have to make a profit. So, if you receive a number of quotes and one is 15-20% lower than the others, it might mean that that team is going to be rushing the work, cutting corners, using low-quality labor, or playing games to make up the difference in cost.

Craftsmanship takes time, so invest in a team of professionals who will do the job right and give it the time it deserves.

3. They May Have Left Something Out

Compare the bids carefully. It’s sometimes possible one bidder has left out a portion of the project intentionally or unintentionally. This will lower the cost, true, but you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise later on when you realize that your project won’t be finished when your contractor is finished with it.

4. The Bidder Might Not Be Legitimate

Sometimes low bidders aren’t licensed or insured contractors at all. Instead, they’re working under the table, using low prices to turn projects around quickly without properly permitting the work or doing their due diligence, and that can lead to big problems for you if someone is hurt, if they walk away from the job with your deposit before it’s finished, if they do poor quality work, or if your less-than-legal project is eventually found out in the future.

These “contractors” leave a black mark on the industry. Make sure that your chosen business is properly licensed, insured, and committed to high-quality craftsmanship.

Work with Your Local Fort Collins Home Remodeling Experts-

If you’ve been seriously considering moving forward with a home remodeling project, it’s important to take the time to find a contractor you can trust, and with the reviews and references to back up their past performance.

So, we hope this blog helps you to understand why the lowest bid might not be the right way to go. At Artisan Remodeling & Design, we work hard every day to be just that kind of contractor.

When we provide a bid, it is 100% all-inclusive – the price you see is the price you’ll pay. No surprise billings! Additionally, we are licensed, insured, and take our work and reputation very seriously. When you hire us, you’re choosing a company that puts quality, integrity, and communication above all else. Check out our portfolio of recent jobs to see what we can do for you! 

general contractor fort collinsAre you a Northern Colorado homeowner thinking about a home renovation project? Thinking about what your home can be like after a renovation is exciting. The thought of finding a reliable home remodeling contractor to bring your vision to life… not so exciting. A lot of homeowners hesitate to get their renovation project underway because they fear hiring the wrong contractor. They’ve heard stories about contractors who don’t communicate well, worked too slowly, or do a poor job.

When you’re making a big investment you want to know you’re working with the right people. The good news is there are ways you can check to see if you’re hiring the right contractor before you hire them. This guide will give you the tools necessary to ensure you’ve done everything possible to hire a qualified and reliable home remodeling contractor.

Talk to People You Already Trust

 

The foundation of any healthy relationship is TRUST. The first step to finding a remodeling contractor you trust is asking friends and family for recommendations. From there you can move onto the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. Talk with local building inspectors; they will know which home renovation contractors consistently meet code requirements.

Social Proof

 

You’ve talked to the people you know directly, now see what past customers are saying. Reading online reviews is a great way to see the experience the community has had working with any business. It’s also a smart move to look into whether the company in question is a BBB member, and whether they have any previous complaints.

Pick up the Phone

 

Once you’ve assembled a list of candidates, make a quick call to each prospect and ask them these questions:

 

  • Can they take on a project like yours?
  • Can they give you a list of previous clients?
  • How many projects do they work on at the same time?
  • If they use subcontractors, how long have they used them?

 

The answers to these questions will reveal their availability, reliability, and how much attention they can give your project.

 

Meet in Person

 

You will have learned a lot and narrowed down your search after your phone interviews.  Choose three or four contractors to meet for estimates.  A contractor should be able to comfortably answer your questions.  When you meet in person, you can get a “feel” for another person. Pay attention to how you feel when communicating. Do they put you at ease with their transparency and ability to clearly communicate? Remember the contractor you choose will be in your home for days or weeks.

 

If you like their personality that’s good, but always check with the state consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau before you hire a contractor to make sure they don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.

 

Investigate

 

You’ve narrowed down your list, you’ve met in person, you have your estimates, now double check to see if the facts check out. Call the contractor’s former clients and ask about how the project went and ask if you can see the final result. If possible, go to a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Check to see if the site looks organized and safe. See if the workers are professional and are careful with the homeowner’s property.

 

Plans & Bids

 

You’ve done your homework, and you have the information you need, now it’s time to get your project moving. Choose two or three contractors you that passed the vetting process and get some bids. A good renovation contractor will ask for your goals and what you hope to spend. The best way to compare bids is to ask for the contractors to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and expenses. Usually, materials will account for 40 percent of the total cost, overhead and labor will also account for about 40 percent, which typically leaves a profit margin of about 15-20 percent.

 

Payment Schedule

 

It’s important to work out your payment schedule before you hire a contractor. Payment schedules can reveal a lot about a contractor’s financial security and work ethic. If they ask for a 50% deposit before any work takes place, they may have some financial issues or be worried you won’t pay after you see their workmanship. With Artisan Remodeling & Design, payment starts with an initial deposit for materials, and then weekly or bi-weekly payments ONLY based on work completed.

 

Don’t Let Price Guide You

 

If you take several bids and one bid is way lower than the others, throw it out. Contractors that present below market value bids are usually desperate for work, cutting corners, or both. You want a quality job, with good materials, done right the first time.  The great thing about getting multiple bids is it gives you an idea of what appropriate pricing should be for your project. If you receive a high bid ask the contractor why it’s higher, and they may give a good reason, and you may hire them because of it.

 

Get it in Writing

 

Once you’ve found the right contractor, you’ll want a contract that details every step of the project. It should include:

 

  • Payment schedule
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • Start date
  • Projected completion date
  • Specific materials & products to be used

Any change in the project, whether you change your mind about products or ask for additions, should be written into the contract, dated and signed by you and the contractor.

 

Ready for Your Home Renovation Project?

 

Now you have the knowledge to move forward and finally get started on your project. If you know you want to change your home, but are not sure exactly how, a good home renovation contractor will be able to help you, like US!! We will also be happy to show you different designs, suggest the best materials that will work with your style of home, and give you lots of fun options to choose from. But regardless of who you choose, just be sure to follow these guidelines. You’ll be glad you did.

 

If you have any questions about any step in the process of home renovation, call us today at 970-691-6995and check our work.

Why Hire a Fort Collins General Contractor?

 

Are you on the search for a general contractor in Fort Collins? If you’re planning something like a remodel or home renovation you’ve probably been told or already know you’ll need to hire a general contractor. You might be wondering why you shouldn’t just hire sub-contractors yourself and take charge of the project. If you have time and experience, you could certainly pull it off, but for most, hiring a general contractor is critical for the success of their project. Let’s take a look at why hiring a Fort Collins general contractor for your next Northern Colorado renovation is a good choice.

 

Building Knowledge

 

A general contractor has the experience and expertise to keep costs down during the building process. If you’ve ever taken on a new project and found yourself take three trips to Home Depot in one day multiply that by a lot more if you take on a renovation project for the first time. Like everything, there is a learning curve, and learning is expensive, especially when it comes to construction. If a mistake happens when you work with a general contractor, they eat the cost and time to fix it, not you.

 

Trade Knowledge

 

A good general contractor will closely supervise all of their subcontractors and are always checking for quality work.  If a subcontractor does a poor job, the contractor will make sure it gets remedied because it’s their name on the project.  If you’re in charge, unless you have the expertise and experience, you can easily miss poor workmanship that can cost you later.

 

Building Code Knowledge

 

Can you look at a subcontractor’s work and know if it will pass inspection? A good contractor knows what will pass inspection, which helps you avoid a re-inspection fee and delays. Codes can be complicated, and a local Fort Collins general contractor will know the local variations in codes.

 

Construction Scheduling Knowledge

 

Do you want to finish your remodel in a reasonable amount of time? A general contractor knows how to stay on top of a schedule get things done on a timeline. They hold their sub-contractors accountable, make sure suppliers have materials ready and in stock, and keep projects moving in a forward direction. If one sub-contractor misses his scheduled work, it can negatively impact the project and delay it for days or even weeks. A good general contractor knows when critical deadlines must be met, and makes sure they are met.

 

Relationships With the Right People

 

Like any industry, people network and build mutually beneficial relationships. Suppliers and subcontractors are going to be much more responsive to a general contractor they know and trust versus somebody they’ve never worked with. They want to know they’re working with a professional and will get paid on time.

 

Questions About Hiring a General Contractor for Your Next Project?

 

If you planning or ready to hire a Fort Collins general contractor for a home remodel and have questions, we can help. Contact us today, and we’d be happy to answer any questions about the process of hiring and working with us–your local, licensed and insured Fort Collins general contractor.

 

Call Today – 970-691-6995

Bathroom Renovation - Artisan Remodeling & Design

Your renovation project may very well be guided by how much you can spend; however, even with a small budget your home will offer many areas where you can improve the feel, appearance, and value of the residence.

Homeowners with a large budget may choose the kitchen or bathrooms first, since those rooms offer a boost in usability for the average family who spends a lot of time gathered in the kitchen each day. A small budget might warrant a look at cosmetic improvements or replacing features like kitchen cabinet doors, hardware, and fixtures.

Getting a Return on Investment (ROI)

You might be motivated to conduct a renovation based upon the need to improve the home’s value in advance of selling or taking out a home equity line of credit. According to “U.S. News,” some renovations are classic investment projects while other projects are best suited for homeowners who don’t plan to move for several years.

Interestingly, “U.S. News” suggests that attic bedrooms are one of the best places to recoup investment dollars. However, this area of the home also represents a potentially costly project.

…you’ll recoup 73 percent of your investment when turning the attic into a bedroom. However, this also ranks as one of the most expensive projects, averaging $50,148 nationally. But if you have the money, an attic bedroom is a desirable feature among homebuyers.

Secondarily, homeowners who choose to remodel the kitchen or bathroom will recoup a healthy amount of the initial investment. These areas also tend to require a fair level of investment, but one of the best things about remodeling the kitchen or bathroom is that these areas will offer a lot of enjoyment to the present homeowners.

Therefore, if you’re not looking to move immediately, the investment in a new kitchen will offer one of the best investments for personal value of the home. Families today gather and congregate in the kitchen much more than they did a half-century ago, so a nice kitchen is a pleasant feature to have in a home.

Small Projects and Saving Money

If your budget doesn’t allow for a hefty investment and you’re not eligible to siphon equity out of the home for the project, some of the best places to consider renovating will feature low overall cost alongside a significant boost to the convenience and efficiency you enjoy in your home.

According to “This Old House,” all it takes is some “strategic thinking” to find a place to renovate in your home with a small budget. One of the best pieces of advice from the “House” experts features an improvement of overall efficiency, rather than an expansion of the home’s footprint.

If you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you may not need to blow out the walls to gain square footage.

If you consider changing the present design of your kitchen’s interior, you might be on your way to a completely different space that looks like it cost a lot more than it did. A spacious kitchen will always “look” more expensive, even if the appliances and fixtures within the room are humble in price.

Changing the Surface

In addition, there are several surface-level projects you might consider that will hold you over until you have a bigger budget. A simple coat of paint can transform a room from a bland space into a warm and friendly meeting area.

Some new fixtures on the cabinets in the bathroom, along with new faucets and some hardware for the towels will give your bathroom an instant facelift that doesn’t require a full gutting of the space.

The great thing about simple, surface improvements is that they often don’t take any time to install, and they’re items that can remain in place when you go for the bigger project. Those new fixtures today will look terrific in the future when you decide to remodel the bathroom completely.

Choose the Best Place for Renovation

Would you like to know which renovation will serve your budget and home best? Contact Artisan Remodeling, today for information on how your bathroom remodeling project can create a welcoming and beautiful new space.