Thinking about a Home Remodel Project?
Part 2 in our 3-part series about different approaches to consider when it comes to remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, creating more space with a room addition, or other home improvement project. You can find Chapter 1 by clicking here
The Low-Bid Contractor: “Chuck-in-the-truck”
The Chuck in the truck contractor is pretty self-explanatory, this is the contractor that not only works on your project but is also running himself ragged bouncing from sales to estimating to working to billing to collections to warranty to ……..
- Possibly the only benefit to using this type of contractor is the low upfront cost. “Chuck” usually doesn’t have any sense about how to properly run a business, and has no concept as to whether or not he is even covering his costs to do your home remodel project.
- If you catch him just right, or are bold enough to bargain with him, you are likely to get the deal of a lifetime for your home improvement job.
- Simply an “Order-Taker”. If you know exactly what you want, how you want it done, who you want to do it, and the price you want to pay, then this remodeling contractor may be a perfect fit.
- If you’re the gambling type, then another benefit would be the opportunity to “roll the dice” and hope for the best. You may be better off just going to Las Vegas though.
With the limited benefits also come plenty of risks:
You face many of the same risks as the DIY route, but at least you have some control if you were to go the DIY route.
- If Chuck isn’t licensed or insured, you run the risk of being personally liable for all the work he performs on your home. As well as being liable should he, or someone he has helping, get hurt on your property.
- You may find yourself micro-managing him and/or any subcontractors he has hired to work on your home remodel.
- Because “Chuck” runs himself ragged, there is the certainty he will need to disappear from your project to tend to another. Will he bother letting you know? Will you be able to get a hold of him to find out where he is? Is that a headache you should be dealing with to begin with?
- Do you really have any idea what the schedule is?
- Are you 100% certain what you are receiving for your investment? How much $$$ in change orders or “oops, I forgot that” will be added on to your bill? Will you even have the opportunity to approve those extra fees?
- There’s the risk of this contractor disappearing after you have paid a hefty deposit towards materials for the project. Or, worse yet, he may have to use your deposit to fund someone else’s job.
- Don’t forget to consider the added stress of filing a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, or BBB, or writing bad online reviews to warn others. How much time and aggravation will you feel if you have to file a lawsuit?
- What are your expectations of the Warranty? After “Chuck” spends a couple years low-balling home renovation projects, will he still be in business to provide warranty services on your home?
- Again, don’t forget about Design
- Just because “Chuck” has completed a certain amount of home remodeling and renovation projects does not mean he is qualified to offer space planning, layout, and design suggestions as a Professional.
- Frankly, you’re likely better off showing him a picture you’ve found on the internet and hoping he can pull it off without interjecting his own ideas.
- Probably the biggest risk is the emotional toll you’ll feel while riding the waves of uncertainty, and having to live with the sub-par satisfaction for your home remodeling investment.
- “Chuck-in-the-truck” isn’t always a bad guy, and in many instances is a great craftsman. What he lacks, however, is any sort of business sense. Home Remodeling is a Business; a business of properly accounting for overhead to cover expenses, a business of properly considering the required labor and materials for each project, a business of customer service, follow-up, and follow-through, a business of earning a small profit to invest back in the business for better people or benefits for good people, equipment, and processes, a business and responsibility of staying in business to serve your clients.
- You can stay up to date with the “Most Wanted” list for unlicensed contractors in Arizona on the Arizona Registrar of Contractor site.
As you notice, the only real benefit to using the low-bid contractor is price. Does the gamble fit the savings? Look for Chapter 3 in this 3-part series to home remodeling: the “Enjoyable Remodeling” approach.