Making the Most of a Kitchen Remodel Estimate
While we wish we could give you a standard response for how long remodeling projects take, it’s never that simple. “While cookie cutters belong in the kitchen, kitchen remodeling projects are rarely cookie cutter,” said Jeff McLinden at JM Construction in MetroWest. “How much and how long depend on how much research you’ve done, how well you know your home and what you want, and what the overall scope of your project is.”
Step 1: Think about budget.
This part is a little tricky because most homeowners have no idea what kitchen renovations cost, and therefore don’t know what to expect when a contractor provides them with a kitchen remodel estimate. Start thinking about what you can reasonably afford, and be prepared that the actual estimate may be a good bit higher than that. “There are two ways you can approach your kitchen remodel budget,” said Jeff. “You can come in with a set amount, and we can discuss what’s possible for that budget criteria. Or you can tell us what you want, and we can give you an estimate based on the scope of your project.”
Step 2: Schedule estimates.
Setting up an appointment for a kitchen remodel estimate is usually pretty straightforward, and the actual estimating process is, too–especially if you are adequately prepared. “We try to respect the homeowner’s time, which is why we come into each project with sketch paper and measuring tape at the ready,” said Jeff. “We’ve been in the business long enough to know what questions to ask, what answers to look for, and what problems we typically run into during the preliminary estimate. We use this first meeting to ensure that your vision, needs, and budget are all properly aligned.” He recommends allocating about an hour for the initial estimate, and about three business days for an official quote, which is generated by a team of professionals who analyze all variables to make a fully informed evaluation.
Step 3: Compare estimates.
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to get two or three estimates for their bath or kitchen renovations. “In Boston, we often work with folks who have worked several contractors into their decision-making process,” he added. “Often it’s not the price that matters in the end, it’s what’s included, the start date and timeline of the project, and how comfortable the homeowners feel with the contractor. That gut feeling is worth something, too.”
Step 4: Know what you’re getting yourself into.
As you are selecting contractors and preparing for your project, find out how the project will be managed, the timeline for each phase of construction, and how the project details are communicated.
“BuilderTrend provided a streamlined way of managing the project as a homeowner. It has a simple, easy-to-use interface that allows clients to see the daily log, change orders, calendar and invoices all in one place. We enjoyed seeing the daily log, which is a status report from the supervisor and often included pictures. If JM Construction submitted a change order, we reviewed and approved it online and making payments was very easy through the electronic payment system. We enjoyed using Buildertrend and felt it really enhanced the experience with JM Construction!”
Heather S., Sherborn
Step 5: Moving forward with a kitchen remodel estimate.
Once you’ve decided on a contractor, you’ll need to put down a deposit (typically 30% of the estimated total) to secure a place within their construction timetable. If additional meetings are required to “nail down” the design or secure proper permits, they will be communicated and scheduled at this time. “We work very hard to make sure our homeowners stay in the loop,” said Jeff, who uses BuilderTrend to communicate project details with clients. “Managing expectations is a huge part of managing any renovation project, and we use every available tool to make sure homeowners can make informed choices about their project, including being available so they can lean on our expertise and experience.” Project timelines, fee schedules, and start dates will vary based on season and availability, and all of this is communicated clearly, up front, and in writing.
As anyone who has ever done a home remodeling project will tell you, it’s just as much about the journey as the destination. “Remodeling a kitchen can be one of the most stressful things you do as a homeowner, or it can be one of the most rewarding,” said Jeff. “How well you prepare for the adventure and your relationship with your general contractor are what will ultimately define your experience and your outcome.”
Ready to see where JM Construction Co. can take your kitchen remodel or need more info on our kitchen remodel estimate process? Contact us here.