Process Determines Outcome
We have a saying around here... the process determines the outcome. If you're getting bad outcomes, focus on fixing the process that leads to the bad outcomes. If you have bad processes, they won't magically lead to good outcomes.
To be quite honest, I think this applies to hiring renovation companies as well. If you're like most of our customers, the outcome you are seeking in renovation includes:
- Knowing exactly what you're buying before you sign a contract
- No surprise change orders and scope changes
- Efficient construction process that doesn't drag on into eternity
- A company that is reliable and shows up when they say they will show up
- High quality finishes and materials
Unfortunately, most renovation projects that we read about don't seem to achieve this outcome. Like, at all. Most aren't even close. Often that is the fault of the contractor - there are some bad ones out there to be sure. But most folks, especially ones who haven't remodeled before, don't know the best way to proceed in interviewing, selecting, and hiring contractors. It's the wild west out there, and unless you've been through the process before, it's hard to know the lay of the land.
That's my encouragement to anyone thinking about remodeling their home. Think hard about the process you want to undertake in selecting a renovation company and whether that process will lead to the outcome that you want.
Some common process mistakes we see buyers make include:
- Mistake #1 - Getting competitive bids without a full design and scope of work. Remember, if you want to avoid surprise change orders and "oopsies" from contractors who underbid your work, engage a full-service renovation company to plan your project details BEFORE giving you a price. With so many variables in construction to consider when quoting your project, it's clear that quick bids aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
- Mistake #2 - Hiring the cheapest contractor. It is definitely tempting to go with the cheapest guy, because remodeling is so expensive. The allure of saving thousands or tens of thousands of dollars is hard to pass up. But remember that the joy of low prices NEVER lasts as long as the pain of bad service and poor quality. You can't pay McDonald's prices for Del Frisco's steaks.
- Mistake #3 - Asking for quotes without getting to know the contractor on a personal level. Renovation is an extremely personal process. Strangers will be in your home for weeks or months at a time, and you have to trust them implicitly to take care of your home, your nest, your castle. This industry has a well-deserved reputation for being shady and untrustworthy, but remember that there are some of us who are trying to do it right. And doing it right means having the trust of our customers and upholding that trust, even when it's tough. Always take the time to interview your contractor and get to know them before even discussing pricing. If you have a bad feeling, end the interview and don't look back. It doesn't matter how cheap the contractor's bid is, if you can't trust him, the project will be a very painful one for you.
- Mistake #4 - Ask for references, a Certificate of Insurance for General Liability Insurance. These seem like no-brainers but you'd be shocked at how many contractors will tear up your home and not bother to protect you and themselves with insurance. Any company worth its salt will offer these to you gladly.
At Black Door Renovation, we care about everyone undertaking renovation projects, whether or not they hire us to do it. You deserve a smooth process with a company you can trust. If it's us, great - we'd love to help you achieve your dreams. If not, please remember some of these tips to help you select a company that won't turn your project into just another Bad Contractor Story. You deserve better! As always, contact us if we can ever be of service.