Owner Advice for Lower Remodel Costs

Estimating a project is one part science and one part art/experience.  One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting with a client at a property and discussing the proposed project.  It allows me to assist the client with understanding the process, what decisions will need to be made, and provide recommendations/advice where necessary.  It is good to meet with contractors with an open mindset at a preliminary stage, however, it is important to understand that any estimate at this stage may also be very preliminary.  To many people, the cost of a project is their number one priority or concern.  Unfortunately, many Owner’s don’t do enough prep work for their project to encourage getting the best pricing possible.  The lack of Owner prep work leaves the contractor in a position to have to make assumptions, guess on materials specifications, and plan for contingencies.  All of this can make an estimate higher and less accurate.  It also makes it difficult to compare contractor estimates and get them apples to apples.   Some Owner prep work I recommend providing to a contractor includes items like:

– Provide materials selections, if possible (fixtures, tiles, cabinets, granite, flooring, etc…).  It doesn’t have to be exactly determined, but any baseline assumption is very helpful.
– Feedback on schedule and timeline desired.
– Layout ideas and decisions
– Proposed access to property during project (lockboxes, keys, time of day, etc…)
– Allowing enough time for pre-construction items and estimating to finalize details and get the best pricing as well as minimize problems. 

Typically, an estimate will have varying degrees of accuracy and cost projections, depending on how much info is gathered when we put pencil to paper.  For some situations, a ballpark estimate is all that is necessary at that time, but if are looking to get an very accurate and cost effective estimate, I recommend spending the time on your prep-work.  It will be well worth it.

Brandon Leske
Hybrid Construction LLC
Tampa Bay General Contractor
Commercial – Residential – Remodel – 203K Renovations
Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties