The truth about “free” estimates and why you actually need a design & construction agreement
We all love free stuff – there’s no denying it. But should you really be looking for “free estimates” when finding a contractor and making a big remodeling investment into your home? We believe there’s a better way. Allow us to explain:
What is an estimate?
An estimate is an approximated calculation. It’s an educated guess. A contractor providing you with an estimate is quickly trying to figure out what they think your remodel will cost based on current prices, and similar jobs they’ve done in the past. Whether they’re adding it up in their head, or writing notes down on a yellow legal pad, these numbers are rough, ballpark numbers that don’t represent a real project.
Free estimates do not provide an accurate, detailed Scope of Work. Sure, they may briefly mention some of the new features, but they do not give exact information. The main thing free estimates provide are a lot of questions. Is this included? Will that work be covered? Who knows?
They work off of budgets, and budgets in remodeling estimates are usually not a good thing. More often than not, these budgets are the low end of the spectrum, and won’t actually cover the materials, fixtures, and finishes you want. Suddenly, there’s an extra charge for this fixture and that material, and next thing you know, you’re way over budget on your free estimate. That free estimate you were budgeting off of is no longer accurate. And we’d argue it was never accurate in the first place.
A better alternative
We don’t offer free estimates. We don’t see much value in them. Sure, we can give you a ballpark range of what remodels typically cost, but a free estimate won’t tell us what your remodel will cost. That’s why we use a design agreement.
When we have our first on-site visit with you, after learning about your project and seeing your home, we will give you that initial budget range of your project. If that range sounds like what you are looking to invest in your remodel, we will then provide you with a Design Agreement. The Design Agreement does have a fee, but we promise, it’s more than worth it. Plus, if your project progresses from the Design Agreement phase to a Construction Agreement, we apply that investment to the final cost.
The Design Agreement allows us to work with you to create CAD drawings that we can then present to you. Most homeowners are not able to truly visualize what their space could look like after a remodel. These CAD drawings show you almost exactly what your space will look like when we’re finished with your remodel. No guessing what it will look like; no hoping everything will turn out the way you think. We provide a true picture of your remodel.
From here, we move into product selection. Rather than just giving you a budget and telling you to go find something, your designer will strategically walk you through the selection process in our 2,000+ sq. ft. showroom. The showroom is loaded with design ideas, varying products, textures, and colors to help with your selections. If we know exactly what materials, fixtures, and finishes you want, we are much better equipped to tell you what your remodel will cost.
We put all of this information together into a preliminary proposal to review together. This includes a Scope of Work, investment estimate, materials options, and more. We use this step to iron out all the details before you are presented with a Construction Agreement. This Construction Agreement will give you the final cost outline.
Yes, a Design Agreement is a small investment up front to go through this process, but you come out way ahead of where you would be if you had opted for a free estimate. Sound like something you are interested in? Read our full process breakdown, or contact us today. We’d love to help you learn a better way to remodel.