Before a contractor will provide an accurate bid, he needs to know the following:
• The design for the new space: Without a design, a contractor doesn’t know how much demolition work is involved (are we tearing down walls), what type of electrical and plumbing work is involved, or which appliances or other features to take into consideration.
• An understanding of your timeline and budget: A contractor will know how to bid out your project once he knows how much time and money you have to offer. If you only have $10,000 for a bathroom remodel, for instance, there is no sense bringing in an $18,000 bid.
• A good connection with the homeowner: Remodeling is a service that is quite personal to the homeowner. It is the same for the contractor. If good rapport does not exist between the parties, a contractor will likely bow out of the project and suggest you find another contractor better suited for you.
Know What You Want Before You Call
If have not yet worked with a designer to redesign your space, you should consider doing so before you hire a contractor. You can work with a design-build company, or you can work with an independent designer. Either way, having this design in place is a necessary first step to obtaining an accurate bid for the actual remodeling project.
If you do not want to seek out a designer, you will need to do a fair amount of legwork on your own to gather all the information a remodeling contractor will need to provide you with a full and accurate estimate for your project. This includes making sure that you:
• Measure your space (E.g., in your kitchen this means measuring the length, height and depth of your countertops, walls, cabinets and appliances)
• Know what you want to accomplish (Do you want to knock down any walls? Do you want brand new flooring or cabinets? Do you need or want new appliances?)
• Have your products picked out (What is the total cost of your preferred lighting fixtures, appliances, plumbing fixtures, and cabinet knobs and pulls?)
You will want all of this information, along with your preferred timeline and your actual budget for the project, in hand before you pick up the phone to request your estimate.
Do Your Homework in Advance
In the age of the Internet, you can research potential remodeling contractors via websites and social sites. Perform this research before you pick up the phone. It allows you to capture the general essence of who your potential contractors are long before you talk, which can help you quickly assess which characteristics and traits matter most to you.