Consider the Cost

Ever avoid a big problem by heeding a simple warning or applying a small bit of knowledge? Sometimes that’s all it takes. Renovation problems are no different. They can be avoided if identified soon enough. Here's one big renovation pitfall to avoid.  

Renovation Pitfall #1: Confusing Cost with Price

Getting multiple quotes for a renovation project is wise. But why? Many would say to compare cost. To illustrate consider the following multiple choice question. 

Suzanne is planning a master bathroom renovation. She articulates a clear scope to three different contractors. Her scope includes installing a new tub, countertops, toilet, tile flooring/shower surround, lights, sink and lighting fixtures. She has made all her selections. Each contractor agrees to quote her project.

Which contractor will cost Sally the least?

A) Contractor Buck’s quote: $9.5K

B) Contractor Joe’s quote: $8K

C) Contractor Mike’s quote: $12K

D) The lowest cost cannot be determined. 

(Note: A, B & C are all quotes. No estimates. A quote won’t tell you everything, but is much more reliable than an estimate. The problem with estimates is they fluctuate in price, and usually in an upward direction.)


Correct answer……..”D”

Contractor Joe appears to cost the least. Does he? Here's one possible scenario where he doesn't. Say Suzanne chooses Joe at $8K. Three weeks into the project Joe doesn’t seem real focused on details, or cleanliness, or showing up when scheduled (or at all). Suzanne still feels progress is being made and justifies choosing Joe based on how much she’s “saving”.  Joe finally completes the projects, taking 38 days longer than he originally said. Suzanne is just happy to have her bathroom project finished.

Unfortunately, the real problems are about to start.  

Three months later a tile falls from Suzanne’s shower wall and shatters at her feet while she’s taking a shower. Suzanne immediately notices other wall tile are loose. For 2 weeks she attempts to contact Joe, calling him 6 times before he finally calls back. Joe doesn’t sound real positive and finally concedes, “Laying tile really isn’t my specialty. I just did it myself on your project to keep cost down. Really don’t know what to tell you.” Suzanne wants to waste no more time. She hires the most reputable tile installer she can find. He tears out and lays all new tile, both floor and shower surround. His charge: $5.3K.  Suzanne’s bathroom renovation cost has risen to $13.3K, and she’s paying significantly more in terms of lost time and intense frustration.

Here’s the point. Delays, subpar craftsmanship, poor communication, and no warranty all contribute to your bottom line cost. Yes compare multiple quotes, but don’t stop there. Also compare the contractors who give them by requesting references. Look for a track record of prompt & clear communication, excellence in design & craftsmanship, clean & safe job sites, detailed scopes & guaranteed costs, satisfaction guarantee, and warrantied work. This is the best way to ensure you’re receiving an “apples to apples” cost comparison.