Design/Build vs. Contracting

Remodel Design

Design/Build remodelers provide design services, typically for fees that may be applied to the project price. Contractors may also offer design services by working with independent design companies where appropriate.

Let me start by saying that HM Remodeling is a Design/Build remodeler. So, my position is not unbiased. However, we were not always Design/Build and I do have a fairly objective perspective on the relative merits of the two approaches.

What Does Free Estimate Mean Really?

Almost every homeowner wants a “free estimate” before they decide which firm to select. However, an estimate is not a firm price or a quote. It is merely an educated guess as to what the project might cost. Free estimates are basically sales tools. They aren’t altogether meaningless.

But, they are no substitute for a professional design that addresses questions like; How will the existing flaws in the current design be addressed? Where should everything be located? What should the cabinetry look like and how should it function? What type of fixtures should be used? What type of flooring, tile, countertops, shower glass, etc. will be used? What’s the most cost-effective combination of all of these choices?

The Dangers of Free Estimates

Before we became a Design/Build remodeler we’d simply quote a price based on whatever the homeowner told us during the “free estimate”. If we were selected, we’d lock down the scope of work and then go to contract. If and when something changed (which was always the case) we’d have the client sign a change order to increase the price accordingly. Frankly, this is where contractors make most of their money!

In fact, two of the biggest complaints from consumers about contractors are that:

  • The final price was higher
  • The project duration was longer than expected 

The root cause of the disappointment is that the project price and timeline were determined before the design choices were finalized. So, price changes and delays are almost inevitable.

When To Choose The Contract Model

That said, the contractor model works quite well for homeowners who know exactly what they want and who have the time and the expertise to manage the process themselves. This means:

  • Researching the choices
  • Identifying the best sources for materials
  • Obtaining cabinetry designs, etc.

Perhaps most importantly, this approach requires constant communications with everyone involved. And, with contractors, it’s best to do so in writing in order to avoid confusion.

When To Choose A Design/Build Project

If you don’t have the patience, time, or expertise to manage the myriad of decisions, process step, vendors, workers, etc., you should select the Design/Build approach to remodeling. That’s why we switched. We’ve found that Design/Build remodeling enables us to do a better job of making our clients happy to recommend us to their friends and colleagues.

How Can We Help You

HM Remodeling CT has a team of qualified and professional remodelers that can help with a number of projects from the bathroom to the kitchen and general home remodels. We have the experience and skills necessary to complete your remodel properly and to your specifications.

Give us a call today to find out how we can help you!