I’m taking a risk here, but it’s worth taking. This blog is meant to warn you. Stay away from the SHK renovation process, and if you've already started, RUN! Never subject yourself to that kind of experience. Customers from the SHK tell us (and quite frequently) how much they regret trying to renovate their home that way. Every single customer of the SHK acknowledges it was not worth it.
Full disclosure, the SHK is not some up and coming competitor. Instead, it’s a very costly experience better known as the School of Hard Knocks. Graduates of this “school” come to Daniel Builders after learning valuable renovation lessons the hard way. They all say the same thing, “I had no idea how much time, money and hardship my renovation would cost.” Ironically, the school appeals most to those seeking to save time, money, and hardships.
Attending the SHK isn’t necessary. In fact, it’s the only school that truly pays to skip. So how does one avoid learning the lessons the hard way? Short answer: Identify SHK renovators before it’s too late. (*Note: A 2015 Houzz showed the top 3 renovation challenges were 1) finding the right service provider 2) finding the right products and materials 3) staying on budget.Really all 3 get resolved by choosing the right service provider.) The SHK renovator typically does minimal upfront legwork prior to starting a project.
Time is money, and here’s a story line illustrating how both are easily lost in large quantities during a renovation. See if it sounds familiar. Homeowner seeks contractor for a major renovation project. Homeowner finds contractor A online, and contacts him based on multiple online reviews from past customers who speak highly about Contractor A’s ability to provide an excellent renovation experience. Customer meets Contractor A and likes him even more. Customer feels very confident contactor A is competent and will deliver a high quality/low frustration renovation. Yet, homeowner decides to shop for a lower price. And he finds contractor B. Contractor B says he can do everything Contractor A, but at a price the homeowner wants to hear. So the homeowner moves forward with contractor B. Fast forward 3 months. Homeowner’s expectations are shattered. Contractor B’s actual price escalates well beyond his estimates, while his level of quality and service decline. Homeowner fires Contractor B, loses money, and tries to figure out how to start over. Hopefully, these valuable lessons were truly learned and the homeowner never re-enrolls in the SHK, or the cycle is certain to repeat itself.
No major renovation should start without first doing major legwork. Good contractors realize this and plan accordingly in 3 areas. Before anyone swings a hammer there should be real clarity on the scope of work and price. Here are 3 deliverables you need before beginning a major renovation.
- Design – creating your design with the help of a designer or architect ensures your finished project looks like what you want. Plus, this process uncovers new design options, as well as products the homeowner never knew existed.
- Detailed Scope - take time with your contractor to spell out the full and detailed scope of work, making all selections. Doing this legwork before starting shows you exactly what you’re paying for. Nobody wants to get less than what they expect. A detailed scope ensures you won’t.
- Fixed Cost – Cost surprises are rarely positive. When was the last time someone heard, “Your project is going to cost a few thousand less than we estimated?” Doesn’t happen. You no longer need to estimate when you have a clear design and detailed scope (including selections). You can have a fixed cost at the start.