The Three Approaches to Remodeling Your Home

The Three Approaches to Remodeling Your Home

Thinking about remodeling your home? There are three approaches to consider when it comes to remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, creating more space with a room addition, or other home improvement project.  We’ll cover the various options in this blog.

Approach #1: The Do-it-yourself approach:  (DIY’er)

Mother and daughter painting a wall smiling

  • There is an obvious benefit to the DIY approach, and that’s reduced labor costs; because you do all of the work!
  • Another benefit may include the opportunity to learn new skills, as well as the ability to work on (or at) your own schedule. You and your spouse may not mind a 12-mo+ DIY kitchen remodeling project because the savings are beneficial.

With those benefits also come plenty of risks: 

  • Will your home hold up its end of the resale value bargain or will you realize decreased home resale value because of the DIY projects?
  • What will the additional costs be if you have to re-do any of the DIY projects to pass building codes or home inspection if you sell?
  • There are plenty of safety risks to consider for yourself, or friends and family that may be “helping out”:
    • A simple plumbing leak could turn in to a major problem, causing some serious damage to your house
    • Is it possible an improperly wired light switch could start a fire in your home?
    • Does your buddy that’s helping out during his weekend off have a true understanding of how to work power tools? What will happen if he has an “accident”?
    • How will your “day job” be affected if you injure yourself while working on your home remodel project?
    • And many more; we’re just scratching the surface of the inherent risks of DIY remodeling and renovation projects.
  • Don’t forget the hassle and lost time involved
    • Do you have time during your regular workday to properly research and plan for your upcoming DIY project?
    • How much valuable family time are you willing to give up for this commitment?
    • There’s also the hassle of having to re-do something you’ve already completed because it doesn’t look or perform like it should.
  • No warranty
    • While you’ll still benefit from the manufactures warranty on the items you purchase and install, what you won’t have is a warranty or guarantee on the installation of those products
  • Don’t forget Design
    • You’ve seen all the great ideas on Houzz, Pinterest, and all over the internet and DIY TV shows; are you confident you’re pulling it all together in a design that matches your style and desired level of longevity?
    • What about space planning, layout, and functionality? Are you sure you’re maximizing the available space in the room?

Approach #2: The Low-Bid Contractor:  “Chuck-in-the-truck”

Good looking handyman fixing a door in a kitchen

The Chuck in the truck contractor is pretty self-explanatory, this is the contractor that not only works on your project but is also running himself ragged bouncing from sales to estimating to working to billing to collections to warranty to ……..

  • Possibly the only benefit to using this type of contractor is the low upfront cost. “Chuck” usually doesn’t have any sense about how to properly run a business, and has no concept as to whether or not he is even covering his costs to do your home remodel project.
  • If you catch him just right or are bold enough to bargain with him, you are likely to get the deal of a lifetime for your home improvement job.
  • Simply an "Order-Taker".  If you know exactly what you want, how you want it done, who you want to do it, and the price you want to pay, then this remodeling contractor may be a perfect fit.
  • If you’re the gambling type, then another benefit would be the opportunity to “roll the dice” and hope for the best. You may be better off just going to Las Vegas though.

With the limited benefits also come plenty of risks:

You face many of the same risks as the DIY route, but at least you have some control if you were to go the DIY route.

  • If Chuck isn’t licensed or insured, you run the risk of being personally liable for all the work he performs on your home. As well as being liable should he, or someone he has helping, get hurt on your property.
  • You may find yourself micro-managing him and/or any subcontractors he has hired to work on your home remodel.
  • Because “Chuck” runs himself ragged, there is the certainty he will need to disappear from your project to tend to another. Will he bother letting you know?  Will you be able to get a hold of him to find out where he is?  Is that a headache you should be dealing with to begin with?
  • Do you really have any idea what the schedule is?
  • Are you 100% certain what you are receiving for your investment? How much $$$ in change orders or “oops, I forgot that” will be added on to your bill?  Will you even have the opportunity to approve those extra fees?
  • There’s the risk of this contractor disappearing after you have paid a hefty deposit towards materials for the project. Or, worse yet, he may have to use your deposit to fund someone else’s job.
  • Don’t forget to consider the added stress of filing a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, or BBB, or writing bad online reviews to warn others. How much time and aggravation will you feel if you have to file a lawsuit?
  • What are your expectations of the Warranty? After “Chuck” spends a couple of years low-balling home renovation projects, will he still be in business to provide warranty services on your home?
  • Again, don’t forget about Design
    • Just because “Chuck” has completed a certain amount of home remodeling and renovation projects does not mean he is qualified to offer space planning, layout, and design suggestions as a Professional.
    • Frankly, you’re likely better off showing him a picture you’ve found on the internet and hoping he can pull it off without interjecting his own ideas.
  • Probably the biggest risk is the emotional toll you’ll feel while riding the waves of uncertainty and having to live with the sub-par satisfaction for your home remodeling investment.
  • “Chuck-in-the-truck” isn’t always a bad guy, and in many instances is a great craftsman. What he lacks, however, is any sort of business sense.  Home Remodeling is a Business; a business of properly accounting for overhead to cover expenses, a business of properly considering the required labor and materials for each project, a business of customer service, follow-up, and follow-through, a business of earning a small profit to invest back in the business for better people or benefits for good people, equipment, and processes, a business and responsibility of staying in business to serve your clients.
  • You can stay up to date with the "Most Wanted" list for unlicensed contractors in Arizona on the Arizona Registrar of Contractor site.

Read More: Risks You Face Hiring the Low Bid Contractor

Approach #3: The Enjoyable Remodeling Approach  

2 story addition in Phoenix

In the past two approaches, we mentioned the benefits and risks of doing the work yourself (DIY) or hiring “Chuck” - the low bidder contractor that offers the “free estimate”.  Let’s now take a look at how the Professional Design/Build Remodeling Contractor approaches a home remodel project.

Benefits to the Professional Approach

  • The opportunity to work with a reputable and financially stable company
  • Honest and Caring advice about what can or can’t be accomplished with your remodel
  • A Team environment that breeds collaboration. When daydreaming about your perfect Contractor Team, would you prefer someone that works with you to bring your remodeling dreams to life – or – the age-old feeling of the contractor vs. client?
  • Master Craftsmanship. Specialty tradesmen are just that, specialists in their trade.  
  • Detailed proposals and contracts that include a guaranteed price for your project before construction begins
  • Would you like to be kept ‘in the loop’ throughout your home remodel? A professional contractor will utilize a detailed scheduling system that allows you the opportunity to know exactly what is happening on your home each day
  • Properly licensed and insured goes without saying!
  • Workers that are “house-broken”. Clean-cut and courteous employees and subcontractors that you are confident are looking out for your best interests
  • Completed projects that look “Award Winning”, or that they should be featured in a magazine
  • A stress-free experience with no surprises
  • Warranty for 2 years or more
  • A finished project and experience that you’re proud to share with friends and family
  • Increased home value, and resale value when you decide it’s time to sell
  • The benefit of Educated Design Services
    • Comfort in knowing the design and materials are not just a recent “trend”,
      or something the contractor gets a bulk-deal for purchasing and suggests you use
    • Every design is different for a professional design/build remodeling firm; built around the clients wants and needs
    • Do you know what you don’t know? A professional keeps up to date with “what’s out there” and available, and likely attends yearly Industry Shows that announce new products
    • Space planning to ensure proper, and efficient, use of the space

So what are the risks?

    • Honest advice you may not want to hear
      • A professional contractor will listen to your needs/dreams/ideas and may advise you the cost vs. benefit may not fit based on your target investment amount. (Isn’t that also a benefit to dealing with quality & trusted design/build remodeling contractor?)

      The higher investment amount for your home remodel project
    • Do you think the old saying, “You get what you pay for” fits when it comes to home remodeling and renovations? That doesn’t always mean products’, it’s relevant in terms of service, organization, communication, and attention to detail too.
    • Would you prefer to sit at your desk being unproductive because you’re wondering what’s going on at your house, or would you prefer the satisfaction in knowing “things are getting done”, and done right, while you’re plugging away at your job?

As you see, the benefits of working with a Professional Contractor far outweigh the risks….. unless your sole determining factor is the price.  Are you ready to work with a Professional?  Learn more about the Owners of Hochuli Design & Remodeling Team, take a look in our galleries of completed Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Remodel, Room Addition, Wine Cellar, and more! 

Get in Touch with Scott Hochuli

Project Planning, Design-Build Remodeling