Saturday, November 11, 2017

How Not To Go About Hiring A Building Contractor

So you have a project that you want completed, lets say its a garage or addition, in your area like the area that I live in there is a building boom with a real lack of skilled trades.

You have decided that your budget for the project is 100,000 dollars. You've decided this after talking to some of your friends and looking at the internet. You then call around to as many builders as will talk to you and the one thing that you are focused on is what its going to cost, it has to cost you less then your 100,000 dollar budget.

What you hear when you talk to builders via email or on the phone is that it will cost you 150,000 dollars. You want more details from the builders about how it can cost this much and can't they do it cheaper for you?

This is the point where most builders stop talking to you and you continue searching for someone that will do the job for the price you want.

You as the homeowner get frustrated because you don't understand why builders won't spend the time to educate you and also work in your budget cause your important, your special......

Here's the view from the builder;

You call them up and you start asking general questions like how much for a 800 sqft addition on my house, I want it in this style and I want hardwood floors and granite counter tops. I as the builder who gets this call two to three times a week with the same probing questions from people I've never talked to before ask you three questions.

Here are the three questions;

  • When do you want to do the project?
  • Do you have any plans?
  • What's your budget?
Those three questions will tell me mostly what I need to know.

Usually the answers to the questions go like this;
  • I was hoping to start in the early spring.
  • Not yet.
  • 75,000 to 100,000 at the max.
I tell you that basically you don't have any way I can price the job because you don't have any plans and that you are probably gonna need a bigger budget by the square footage size of the addition.

You start to negotiate, that's when I basically I can't help you, until you get some plans.

You start scanning the internet looking for the next builder, frustrated because you can't seem to find anyone that will work with you for free to get your designs and plans and then work cheaper then everyone else.....

 What happens is that eventually get cheap plans completed and you use those to shop for a contractor that will work for your budget. With your set of plans you get all kinds of prices from all kinds of builders and tradesmen. You choose the lowest price guy and your happy, that doesn't last long....

There is a reason for the lowest price (especially if they are claiming that they can stay in your budget that is to small to begin with), they either don't know how to price a job or they missed things or they purposely omitted things to get the job.

What will happen next is that your addition will turn into your nightmare.

Somewhere during the build you as the homeowner will start to realize that the quality isn't what you wanted, the costs seem to be rising as you are being billed for extra's that you assumed were part of the original price.

Eventually you either except that you are going to have pay the builder what he charges you until its finished or you fire them and end up trying to finish the project yourself. Either way its your nightmare.

I have seen this happen not just with additions, but with reno's, complete custom homes and even accessory buildings.

To avoid this you have to listen to the first 10 builders you called, have a realistic budget, find a builder that you can trust and let them tell you what the real cost of your project is going to be.

I you do this, if you find a builder with a good reputation and you listen to them then your project will be more enjoyable and the end product will be exactly what you want.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.