When Seattle-area homeowners begin thinking about remodeling a home in Normandy Park, Des Moines, Renton, Kent, or West Seattle, one of the first things they tend to do is gather information about the kind of project they have in mind. They may look to a site such as Houzz.com for inspiration. Or they may check out remodeler blogs to see what the current trends are. But at some point homeowners are going to need to find someone with the skill and experience to turn those ideas into reality.
There are probably some projects that most homeowners feel comfortable doing themselves. But for serious and significant remodeling of your home, you’re probably going to want to enlist the services of a seasoned, professional remodeler. And when it’s time to choose a custom remodeling contractorfor your project, there are a number of criteria that you need to consider.
Our family has been building and remodeling homes in the Seattle area for four generations (since 1909). In all those years, what Seattle homeowners look for always seem to come back to what we call, “The Big Four”: Quality, Speed, Service, and Price. In an ideal world, you’d be able to get all four and you’d live happily ever after. But in the world that most of us inhabit, getting three out of four is apretty sweet deal.
Here’s an example of what I mean. We know a couple in the area that wanted new flooring for their home—and knew exactly what they wanted. They did their homework and asked six different flooring companies to provide them with estimates to sand and refinish their hardwood floors. They had high expectations for the quality of work, but they made their choice of contractors based strictly on price. They expected a beautiful, high-quality floor, but guess what? They got what they paid for. The quality they wanted wasn’t available at the price they wanted to pay.
Too often homeowners are so focused on cost that they look right past value. The goal with your remodeling project shouldn’t be to save money. It should be to get the best value possible within your budget.
What about the other parts of “The Big Four”? Speed and quality aren’t always compatible, either. Don’t get me wrong: We take our deadlines seriously. But trying to push a project to get it done faster is either going to result in a sacrifice of quality, or it’s going to cost you more because of increased labor costs. The same thing is true of service. Companies that provide quality service and take the time to listen to you and make adjustments based on your desires and needs are generally going to cost more than “One-size-fits-all-this-is-how-WE-do-it” companies. It’s simply a different model for doing business.
It really comes down to what’s most important for you. If cost is your most important value, then you’ll probably want to choose the contractor with the lowest price. You will, however, have to compromise on something. If quality is more important to you than getting the lowest price you’re going to pay a bit more. And as a rule of thumb, quality takes a bit longer as well.
You can get the results you want—but you need to be sure you select a remodeling company who will deliver what you value most.