Where to start first
First is to decide in broad terms what your remodeling project will consist of. A bathroom remodel, a kitchen remodel, a basement remodel, or whatever, require a good deal of your thought. Establish a budget with the maximum you want to spend. Next, you need to know a rough cost of the project. It does no good to do full design layouts and drawings to find out in the end that your dream kitchen remodel is going to cost $45,000 when your budget is $25,000. There are numerous sources available to get a “ballpark” cost. For simple projects contact a local supplier or installer to get pricing. If that pricing is within your budget then go to the next step. Larger projects that will consist of two or more building trades will usually require the involvement of a general contractor. I recommend calling a contractor that you would consider to use and explain what your project involves and that you are in preliminary stages and need a very general idea of costs to help guide you in your decision to go forward or not with your project. What you are looking for is a range of costs to see if it falls within your budget. This can be accomplished over the phone. Most contractors can give you a rough idea of costs (within 25%) if you are able to explain the scope of you work. Some contractors will ask to come to your house before giving prices. If that is what they want to do then go ahead (it is their dime), you will learn a lot from their visit.
The big day has come. You have decided on proceeding with your remodeling project and now face the daunting task of selecting a contractor for the job; so start dialing. Whoa! Hold on partner there are things to consider before the tips of your fingers go numb. Whether adding a room addition, kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel, or simple projects like painting, exterior siding, roofing, etc, you should organize you project. Ideally lay out on paper your floor plans, including selection of equipment and finishes. The more you are involved in the design plan the easier it will be to compare bids and select a contractor.
Larger projects (i.e. – room additions) will require architectural drawings in order for contractors to bid a job properly. In addition, the city or county will require drawings for permits. The goal is to get three bids so you can compare “apples to apples”. On large projects like room additions, most contractors that are qualified to complete these size projects have a person in their company that will do the design layout and floor plan for the homeowner. Ideally have an architect or civil engineer draw plans so you can compare bids properly. Architects will charge anywhere from $1,200 for a simple addition to $4,000 and up for complicated plans. If your remodeling project is a simple design, an architectural draftsman could draw floor plans which would save considerable money.
Finding that right contractor is easier said than done. I recommend reading all the articles on this web site before contacting a contractor. The better informed you are as a homeowner; the smoother your project will come to fruition.