“Click Here for FREE Advice”
This is the latest buzz isn’t it. Free information to draw you in. Sounds great, why not, the price is right!
The way this works is you will either get sold and it’s not really free or you’ll get a small tidbit that is interesting but won’t solve your problem. With this type of FREE information, you will often get what you pay for! Giving free advice only goes so far. Someone either burns out due to not being compensated for great ideas or holds back. Either way, it’s prudent to think things through before rushing to the free advice.
This is what we’ve done as general contractors for decades. By we I refer to the industry as a whole. Here’s what typically happens: Homeowner calls contractor one. A referral from a friend of a friend. He comes to the house and looks around. Has great ideas, shows pictures of work, seems the perfect match. Says he’ll send a rough estimate within 3 days. You wait, and wait, then call and email, call again. Finally after 3 weeks you give up. No bid.
Homeowner calls contractor two. Came recommended. Same feel as before. Very qualified, great advise. Throws out a number of $800,000 and starts to act pushing even asking if we have that kind of money. You are put off especially since you haven’t even discussed a budget yet. You are merely fact finding to see what’s even possible with the house. Contractor two leaves without even leaving a business card.
Homeowner calls contractor three. By now, you are learning and ready for the next one. Now you know what you are contemplating to do is probably in the $300k to $500k range. This contractor looks around for 5 minutes, not much advice and quotes $135,000 for the whole job and can be done in 3 months (you know it’s at least double that). This time you basically ask him to leave and say no thank you to his business card.
A friend of ours tells us about a similar story and asks if we have any advice for their friends who just can’t get a decent contractor out to their house and give a decent bid. We agree but it doesn’t take much for us to let them know what to do.
Our FREE Advice to them is to pay for the service of figuring out their scope of work. They had just wasted months of time with no progress on service people who are not used to charging for their ideas and expertise. This is a mistake both for the homeowner and the contractor. The free advise is usually worth what it costs.
Architects are good to call early. They can consult and put together a plan and help with bids and construction management. You will pay a lot of money but could be worth it in the end.
TRC Consulting is another great place to start. We will also put together a plan, collect the bids and manage the construction. At much lower costs to you.
To save Time, save Money and save Frustration it is best to find an “Owner Advocate”. Someone who can look at your whole situation and goals. Formulate plans and budgets to find the needs of the homeowner. Coordinate all the pieces and the trades for the best possible outcome. That does come at a price. A consulting fee. It’s not free when it has great value.
The best news we have on this however is this; almost 100% of the time, the fees paid on an early consultant will save that amount of money and then some later on. It offsets the cost. Often saving even more.
So, don’t be against an early fee arrangement especially if you are new to remodeling or building and designing.
Tim and Angela Ryan