If you ask them to describe their own job they might understand better. Try to write the steps for EVERYTHING involved with your morning routine. How many find they skip something if they don’t do it in the same order? Forget deodorant because it wasn’t next to your vitamins. Forget vitamins because you ran out and didn’t buy more. We all do so much without thinking about it. Parents who went through potty training know it’s hard to explain all of the steps to the child. Try writing a monthly blog and avoid man-splaning but stay informative. What seems obvious to you is lost on some people.
Each project has many steps to go from an idea to Certificate of Occupancy. This addresses the steps just from idea to contract.
First and foremost is getting the idea on paper. Some sort of drawing, be it an architect blueprint or a customer’s idea on a napkin we need to see what you want to do. We don’t operate on a set group of plans. We need sizes for each specific job. Each job is different. Materials for each job are different. Town regulations are different for each job. We need to see pictures of the location of the job. This concept seems to be hard for some people to understand. We don’t see what they see.
Second is the materials. We live in a world where there are 100’s of choices for front doors. Dozens of choices for decking. 300+ types of crown molding. Don’t even get me started on how many floor covering options there are. So when you ask me to give you a price for a job keep this in mind. There are millions of possible combinations of materials. On the T.V. shows when the builder pulls a price out of the air they have multiple things we don’t have. #1 being it’s tv not reality they have already worked out the budget before it’s filmed. #2 They work with the same people all the time and know what they use most times. #3 they use what they get a discount for for placement in the show. Those vendors give them rock bottom prices to advertise on the show. #4 no one is holding them accountable and they aren’t bidding against anyone. So have an idea what types of materials you want to use. Wood vs composite decks can be as wide a range as $3,000-$30,00 for the same layout. When we give an estimate with non-specific materials we tend to go middle of the road, nice choices.
Third when do you want to do this and have you started the permit process. Most people don’t have any reason to know that the town permit system can be anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. Even simple permits have been taking longer to get approvals lately. And add in a variance hearing it can add months to get on the docket to even have it addressed. There are many reasons for a variance on the town regulations and each job and town is different. I recommend taking your drawing to the town even before you start the permit process and ask them if it will need a variance. A simple phone call to find out exactly what steps you will need to do for each town is worth the time. Each portion of the permit needs to be filed out by the professional involved. ie: the plumber and electrician need to sign and fill in their own paperwork. Then just to make if more interesting each town is different. Most if not all demand an architect sealed plan or a drawing by the homeowner but not by the contractor. So this step is out of our hands.
You notice we still haven’t picked up a hammer.
The main final step before starting a job is the proposal and contract. Here at Pavolony Construction we like to give a detailed proposal with each step spelled out with it’s cost. We don’t just give one number for the job so you know exactly where the money goes. It helps to compare estimates to other contractors. Are they saying they will do the same things at a different price? We never change the final payment and it can be less since we have allowances built in to most large contracts. An allowance is basically an earmark in the job for items you haven’t picked out yet like a stove or cabinets. ie: We give an allowance of $1,000 for a new stove. You purchase your own stove and show us the receipt or don’t expect us to purchase one, we give you a $1,000 credit on the final billing. Now say we give an allowance of $500 for tile in the bathroom and you pick out a tile that comes to $600 and we pay for it. We will bill you for the $100 overage immediately, not wait till the end. Sometimes it all balances out between the credits and debits. We are keeping track of that daily and can discuss it at anytime. It’s part of our contract to have access to job status. So this means a lot of information goes into our contract before they are signed so we can’t rush them out.
You can see it’s a bit more complicated that us just showing up at your house and throwing a number at you. Even after we visit the home we have to do research on the other costs. Dave does all of this himself and he prides himself on his accuracy. So please understand it’s not so simple and it’s worth the wait it to get real numbers.