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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! 

It’s a good idea to get more than one home remodeling quote for a home improvement or home remodeling project, as quote comparisons can give homeowners more options and a better idea of what the project will really cost.

But comparing home remodeling quotes can be surprisingly difficult, and numbers and terms may vary a great deal in ways that the homeowner doesn’t expect. So, to help out, here’s how a homeowner like you should compare quotes properly to make the best and most informed choice possible!

Organize and Define Line Items

If a line item price doesn’t come with specifics, how do you really know what you’re getting? You won’t, and you won’t be able to easily compare it to a line item in a different document. If one quote goes into specifics and defines the exact appliance, material, or work to be done, and the other one doesn’t, you’ll need to call and get the second quote updated, so there’s no ambiguity and no risk of disagreement later on.

This is just one example of how a lower-priced quote may actually be a worse option, as a higher price quote may spell out all the work that has to be done correctly, while the lower option is only lower because important ‘optional’ work has been left out.

Beware Unusually Low Bids

Shopping for deals is one thing, but shopping your way out of a good quality outcome and into a disappointing, cheap mess is something else.

If one quote is significantly lower than the others on the table, you should investigate. Good contractors can only win business by doing one of two things:

  •   Lowering the price of their work along with the quality of their craftsmanship and materials used
  •   Offering good value at a higher bid with higher quality workmanship and materials to back it up

It can be tempting to roll the dice on an unusually low bid, hoping for the best. But you’re gambling with your home, and the risk of disappointment is just that much bigger. You may find your project is rushed, the home remodeling contractor is struggling to stay in business and won’t be around to guarantee their work in a year or two, or they may not even be operating legally.

Identify the Best Value on the Table

There’s no substitute for value. A higher-quality result at a higher price is always the better option when compared to a low price hack job.

This is your home, the place where you and your family live and will be living for years to come. And if you plan on selling, a shoddy job is absolutely going to show and turn off home buyers or complicate negotiations late in the sale.

So look for a contract with the best and most complete terms, and then check that contractor out. For instance:

  •   Do they have a robust online presence, complete with a portfolio and positive reviews?
  •   Are they active in responding to their customers on public forums and addressing any complaints?
  •   Do they care about their business enough to have invested in good marketing and website design?
  •   Do they have a full schedule—are they busy and thriving?
  •   Are they willing to meet you where you’re at and work with you to give you the result you deserve at a fair and honest price?

If you’re looking to work with a home remodeling contractor in Fort Collins, check our work. If you would like home remodeling quotes, give us a call at 970-691-6995 or send us a message at artisanremodels@gmail.com. Artisan Remodeling and Design would love to work with you, and you’ll get our very best, guaranteed!

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.

The world won’t soon forget the pandemic of 2020, and there’s no telling when the need for social distancing will end. While we all want things to go back to normal, many of us are still feeling a bit weary and prefer to stay at home, where we can remain safe and healthy. In this strange new reality it’s fair to say that at-home exercise and fitness solutions are no longer a luxury for health-minded homeowners. Fort Collins Home gyms have become a necessity.

Fortunately, designing and developing your own home gym is easier than you might think. Here’s how to get started!

1. Choose your Equipment

While you could design the space first and fill it later, working the other way around has its advantages. Different types of equipment may have different structural or electrical requirements, and laying out your equipment ahead of time will give you a good idea of how much space you’ll need.

A few examples of home exercise equipment to choose from include punching bags, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, elliptical trainers, treadmills, weight machines, and free weights/a weight bench, just to name a few.

Make sure to include both strength and endurance-focused equipment that you’ll enjoy using, along with floor space for stretching, in order to balance your workouts.

2. Find Your Space

Depending on your equipment and the amount of space it takes up you may be able to use a spare bedroom or a portion of your basement as-is. Or, you may find that you need to make some changes.

Finishing or remodeling a portion of the basement is probably the most common solution we see. Basements offer a cool, private, and out of the way space with plenty of room. With some drywall, good flooring, lighting, ventilation, and electrical access, basement gyms can be a winning choice. However, some homeowners find that the lack of natural light negatively impacts their motivation.

Spare bedrooms, on the other hand, already have light, power, and ventilation, but often lack the same wide-open open space and lack of distraction that you get in the basement. And when using an upper-level space you need to make sure that the weight of any heavy equipment is safely spread across your floor joists, not placed between them.

homegymfortcollins3. Make It Your Own

A home gym can be a simple as a floor mat and some headphones in the living room, or as complex as a brand new walk-out home addition with professional equipment. It’s up to you to do what you need to do to make your space a space that you’ll enjoy using in the long term, allowing you to cultivate healthy habits without heading out into public.

Some other elements and features you should consider including are:

  • Oversize mirrors for you to watch your form and track your progress
  • Audio/visual solutions so you can follow along with online classes or listen to music
  • Tough, non-slip, easy-to-clean hard flooring
  • Easy-clean rubber or foam floor pads and mats
  • Wall racks, hangers, and other accessible storage options
  • Ventilation, heating, or cooling to keep the air comfortable and remove stale odors
  • Lighting (preferably plenty of natural lighting as well)
  • Personal touches and décor to make you feel comfortable and at-home
Professional Basement and Home Remodeling

Remember, most home gyms pay for themselves surprisingly fast compared to a monthly gym membership. They’re an investment—an investment in your own health and convenience. 

If you’re interested designing and building your own home exercise center, contact Artisan Remodeling & Design at 970-691-6995 today. We’re an expert, local Fort Collins home remodeling company, and we would love to do what we can to help you get healthy and stay healthy right where you are.