By Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch, MBA
Predicting the future is something all of us has probably wished for at some time in our lives. While it may sound like nothing more than a nice daydream, making educated guesses about your future doesn’t take a crystal ball. In my last article I wrote about the importance of planning, with a good amount of my advice being to find a remodeling company or contractor that you can trust. Having a good remodeling professional on your side is a great start to predicting the future of your remodeling project. On the other hand, a remodeler that you can’t rely on is a great way to have things go poorly.
A friend of mine moved to Austin Texas a while back, and he and his wife bought a home there. It needed quite a bit of remodeling, but he loved the neighborhood. He did ask my advice on how to go about the remodeling and of course I gave him my top three tips.
- Your contractor is the captain of the ship; make sure his character and the way he runs a business line up with yours, read his reviews and check his references.
- If you decide to take the lowest bid just be ready for poor quality and probably lousy service.
- Get your contract, including plans, specs, and selections confirmed in writing before work begins.
I saw my friend and his wife about a year later and I asked him how it went with the remodeling. He gave me a disappointed look and said, “absolutely horrible.” The guy he hired, he ended up having to fire. He went on to say that he did interview three different contractors to do the job. He knew from experience that you’re not going to get equal bids from all three, but the one he ended up hiring said he could start within 30 days, while the guy with the best reputation said it would be six months before he could start. My friend said, “Now I know why you said to find a captain for the ship. The guy I hired didn’t have a clue how to keep the wind in the sails and keep the ship moving.”
He said he ended up spending probably 20% more on the project than he should have because it was such a disorganized mess, and eventually he had to find another contractor to finish the job, so he paid even more on top of that. He said, “If I just waited six months for the first guy, I would’ve been finished months ago!” If he had used my advice, he could have predicted the future.
Another thing I’ve come to terms with over the years I that I’m not getting any younger. The older I get, the more I notice when the remodeling projects my company works on are done for the homeowners’ safety in the bathroom.
I got an email last week from a woman whose bathroom we remodeled years ago. The remodeling project we did in her home was a tub to shower conversion with a shower seat and grab bars for safety, as well as a low-threshold shower pan that’s easy to step over. We originally did the project because she and her husband knew they were living in their “forever” home and wanted to make sure they would be safe for years to come. Over the past couple of years, her husband has had a run of medical issues, and between his heart and his lungs, she told me that it would be impossible for him to bathe without their shower. They predicted the future, because even if they didn’t know what their exact challenges would be, they knew they would need more safety in their bathroom if they wanted to stay in that home long term.
If you see a remodel in your future, pick the right company for the job, and plan for the way you’ll use your that space in your home as time goes by.
Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, is the president of Re-Bath in Shreveport. You can contact him at 318-216-4525 or by visiting www.rebath.com/location/shreveport.