One of the questions that I ask these people is what is their budget for their project. I do this to help both of us,
- It helps tell me if you can afford the renovations that you are proposing to me
- It lets me guide the client to things that will fit in their budget.
Sometimes people will either ignore the question or tell me that they don't want to tell me their budget.
The reasons that they don't want to share this information varies widely but it does happen more often then it should.
When you don't share your budget with your contractor you might think that you are then getting a price that isn't set off the budget that you told them, its the same mentality that people use when talking to real estate agents. They tell the real estate agents that they want to spend a 1 million dollars on a home and the real estate agent proceeds to only show you houses that are between 1 million and 1.5 million dollars and never shows them the houses under a million dollars.
Well that is not how it works in construction. In construction most contractors don't raise and lower the price depending on the budget. Most good contractors are estimating jobs all the time and don't have the time or the patience to make up new markups and prices for every single job that comes across their desks. They have figured out the cost of doing things and they know the mark up they need to charge to make a profit and pay the bills and that's how they price jobs.
Knowing that, what you need to understand is if you tell your contractor that you have a budget for $100,000 for renovations on your kitchens, bathrooms, living room and great room and they figure out the cost is $140,000 then they give you the choice of what you want to renovate for the $100,000. They don't ask you for more money they just help you renovate what you can for your budget. Its means that you might not get your basement renovated or maybe the kitchen. They adjust to fit your budget.
Contractors will work with your budget, they will help you spend your budget with the renovations that you can afford, if you decide that you don't want to spend the entire budget then they will adjust the renovations so that you save money. Maybe they recommend a less expensive tile in the bathrooms or the deletion of some cabinets to help you lower the budget.
Every contractor wants to do more work but they also want to get paid for their work, if they allow the project to go severally over budget they then risk you not having enough money to pay the final bill, nobody wants that.
When I meet with people for renovations I spend a lot of time talking them out of things that don't fit in their budget. I'm basically talking them out of giving me work, but they have shared their budget with me and that tells me if they can afford it or not. This happens a lot with people who want additions, they have underestimated what additions cost per square feet and they have asked for too large of an addition compared to their budget. A simple shrinking of the additions helps it fit in your budget.
As a contractor I try to make my clients happy, my clients won't be happy if they end up way over budget, so if you can change their minds and adjust their thinking about what they can afford and what they really need right from the starting line then the rest of the job will go a lot smoother and at the end everyone will be happy and paid!
So when you meet with your contractor for that first renovation talk don't be afraid to tell them what your budget is, it will be beneficial for all parties. The contractor will have a budget to work from and a clear direction to lead you too get the renovations you want (and renovations you require) while keeping you within the budget that you have specified.