Do you have a budget in mind for your remodel?
You want to have your kitchen or bathroom remodeled, and contact a remodel contractor to get a quote. If the contractor asks you “what is your budget?” does this mean they are just trying to find out how much they can get away with charging? No, declaring a budget is just one of the useful tools used in determining a successful remodel project.
What does remodel on a budget mean?
If you ask me, there are a couple meanings of budget in terms of making purchases. You sometimes hear of a “budget minded remodel”, that usually does refer to a project in which finances are a little tight. Maybe there is has been damage done and it’s more of a renovation project….getting the bathroom back to functional rather than being remodeled for style. A contractor can suggest more appropriate materials and methods with keeping costs inline with the finances available. You may be thinking of remodeling your bathroom for style, updating it to reflect more current trends and personal taste. Unless you have endless disposable income and want exactly what you want no matter the cost…clarifying a budget is still an important step in the process. Some materials cost a great deal more than others, as does labor needs to install various products. Having a budget set will help while making choices without ending up spending much more than you intended. And hey, it could also mean you might find yourself making some upgraded choices you didn’t know you could include.
Remodels can vary a large amount based on a number of details.
Using a kitchen remodel as an example, cabinet pricing alone will vary a great deal. Manufacturers of cabinets will vary in pricing from one to another. And within the same manufacturer’s offerings you’ll find a good amount of pricing variances due to wood species, finishes, as well as other options available. Counter top pricing will also vary…depending on material choice such as quartz, granite, solid surface and laminate tops. Even within the same material choice, quartz for example, there are various pricing levels according to color/pattern. That’s just the two typically larger material costs involved in a kitchen remodel that could easily run twice to three times the cost difference depending on choices. Many other choices could effect the final pricing of your remodel…do you want to include under cabinet lighting? Do you want to add recessed ceiling lighting? Do you want to rearrange your layout? What type of flooring do you want? The list goes on…
Bathroom remodels are the same way, they can also vary a large amount. Besides just the already mentioned difference in cabinetry costs, there are a lot of other material choices that can vary a good amount. Say you want a tile shower…tile costs will vary according to material choices and difficulty in layout options. Do you want a custom tile floor in your shower or a preformed shower pan? Do you want niches, shelves, maybe a bench seat? Do you want a diamond pattern with different mosaic accents or just a standard checkerboard or maybe even subway style layout? Are you wanting a more custom heavy glass frameless enclosure or more of a standard semi framed shower doors? Even a toilet choice can range from $100 to $300 in just “standard” variety, toilets can get much pricier than that if you are very style oriented. Again, the list goes on…
Why are you asked for your budget?
I can tell you that when I’ve asked customers “what budget did you have in mind?” there may be a couple reasons for this. Mostly, I need to determine what materials and scope of work are going to be the best for that particular project. It’s a good starting point for starting design ideas. I might also ask because they started out the conversation with “I’ve gotten other estimates but they were way too much?” Sometimes this means they just don’t realize how much a remodel might cost…I mean I’ve had some folks not realize that what price they have in mind is barely enough to pay for the materials alone with very little left to go towards labor. It could also mean that they really did get an quote that was higher than it might be from another contractor, pricing is not going to be the same from one contractor to another for various legitimate reasons. Some people really don’t have an idea of what a remodel might cost, it might be their first home and first remodel project they’ve ever undertaken. When this is the case, I’ll try to at least start with some ballpark figures of previous projects and still get going in a direction for choosing possible materials and sorting out what the budget needs to be.
The more experienced contractors may be able to throw some ballpark figures quickly to help guide the conversation, but those ballpark figures are really still just a range of costs to help narrow down a starting point for selections when the home owner really has no idea what to expect to pay for a remodel. Working up an actual quote takes time, there are variables to each project and these need to be taken into consideration in determining material costs and labor to put it all together. I don’t know of a single contractor that really wants to put a lot of hours into figuring out a quote for a project only to find out that they were putting together a package that was not in line with what the customer had in mind to spend. I’ve done this, listened to all the wants and put together a quote based on that, just to have it quickly shot down because it was outside of the owner’s budget…a budget that I simply didn’t ask about. Very early on, I was hesitant to ask for a budget….I thought that people just wanted to have a remodel package put together and make a decision based on cost afterwards. I’ve learned that it’s not this taboo/over personal question. It really is just one of the important steps in beginning to determine what a potential remodel project is going to consist of.