Saving money when remodeling is often one of the biggest wishes you will have. Nobody can say remodeling is cheap, but you can definitely make it cost less, look good, and have the work done correctly. Below are 5 tips from GKing Construction on how you can save big when remodeling your home.
Tip #1 – Buy materials yourself
Buying materials yourself is a great way to save money when remodeling your home, even if you can’t find them cheaper than your contractor. Why? Because your contractor will mark up materials on his estimate. Yes, its true! Contractors often take the entire bid price and mark it up 10 to 15% or more. By having them exclude materials from the bid you can save quite a lot of money from the get go. Just make sure to purchase the right materials. Talk to your contractor and ask what he needs to complete the project. Your contractor should be able to provide a generic list before starting the project and a detailed list once it has began.
Tip #2 – Shop Online
You can often find materials for your project such as faucets, towel bar sets, shower enclosures, and many many more items a lot cheaper than in your local big box retailer. By saving with online purchases coupled with having the material markup removed from the bid, you can save quite a lot of money. Amazon is a great place to find cheap fixtures for your home at a discount. By shopping online you can save a lot of money when remodeling your home and you can find a lot of cool items you wont see in your local big box retailer.
Tip #3 – Plan, Plan, Plan
Before you consider starting any project make sure you know exactly what you want. If you need help with planning, make it clear to your contractor beforehand and only let the project begin when you both fully understand what you want and how it should look. Make sure you have all of the materials you plan to use on site and ready to be installed to avoid delays. By planning ahead it will ensure you have a clear plan to be executed by your hired help efficiently. If your contractor knows that the job will run smoothly, knows you are workable and easy to please you will get a better price and your contractor wont feel the need to add as big of a cushion for ‘unknowns’. Contractors will increase the cost for picky, rude, or indecisive customers. Another big way to save money remodeling your home.
Tip #4 – Compare bids and review carefully
As you will read a lot, get estimates from at least 3 different contractors. The key is to let it be known that you are seeking multiple bids, this way the contractors know its a competitive bid. By having a contractor submit a competitive bid you will almost always get a lower price. Another benefit of having multiple bids is you can see the style each contractor uses and see if any contractor missed anything in the bid. By having multiple bids you will also have multiple contractors visit your potential project and go over it in person, which can help in the overall planning. After you receive bids you can choose which contractor you are most comfortable hiring that offers the most value for your money. Notice I did not say to pick the lowest bid to save? Sometimes that can be a very costly mistake! While going with the lowest bid isn’t necessarily a bad thing (especially if its only slightly less than next highest bid) a bid significantly lower than others can also indicate that the contractor may have missed something while bidding. To make up for this he can use a change order to increase the cost of the job above the other contractors initial bids and cost you more money than you initially thought.
Tip #5 – Use a General Contractor
This may not seem the most obvious tip, but we are often called into projects where a homeowner has pieced together a project on their own. Most of the time this is after many problems and headaches during the course of the project. The homeowner has finally had enough and wants to have someone to come in and ‘just get it finished’ or ‘just get it done correctly’. Sadly, these scenario’s sometimes cost the homeowner double or triple what the project should have. By hiring a general contractor such as GKing Construction you don’t have to worry about finding a reliable and professional tile installer, a countertop fabricator, plumber, carpenter, drywaller, painter, etc. That is handled for you and your contractor will have already used his employees and sub contractors on many projects – meaning the people chosen to complete your project will be high quality. Installation will be done correctly and you will save on wasted time and materials in the long run, meanwhile having a higher quality finished product. Not only that, but if something bad does happen while your contractor is completing your project your contractor will have a contractors bond, workers compensation, and will optionally (but most likely) carry general liability insurance. You can check for a license and workers compensation insurance at the CSLB website. To check for a General liability policy ask your contractor for his insurance certificate and call the insurance company to validate the policy.
You’ve asked friends to recommend great contractors, picked your favorite, checked references — and maybe even conducted an online background check on our business. So you’ve found GKing Construction for your home improvement project.
Before you make a commitment, here’s what you need to know in order to get your project moving along
Even if you believe you found a few of the best contractor’s in the area, don’t hire us unless you’re sure we’re right for your project. I can’t speak for other contractors but GKing Construction has plenty of work year round, and we want you to feel comfortable in your decision to hire us.
You should solicit at least three bids from three different contractors before awarding a home improvement project. This way you can make an educated hiring decision by comparing costs, methods, and materials. This also helps by having 3 sets of eyes on the project, other contractors may find issues another didn’t address.
What you should do: Look on google maps, yelp, houzz, or thumbtack for contractors and schedule an estimate.
Although cost should be one of your deciding factors, other points to consider include scheduling and communication style. Speaking of communication style – GKing Construction is very responsive. We text, email, and do good old fashion phone conversations as well.
General contractors often don’t do the physical work themselves. GKing Construction does maintain our own employees and a reliable list of high quality subcontractors. We typically handle all electrical, carpentry, plumbing, tile, windows, painting or carpentry work in-house. We always sub out work such as countertops, roofing, landscaping, plastering, carpet, linoleum installation, or other highly specialized work that would be better suited for a specialist. This is a process that ensures that we deliver the highest quality work at a pace that is reasonable.
When you sign a contract, your usually expected to pay a deposit. But that’s not for covering the contractor’s initial materials or set-up costs. It’s to ensure you are dedicated to using us for the project.
Up front payments for materials and labor are a red flag
GKing Construction is financially sound and in good standing with our suppliers, we don’t need to pay for most materials up front. In fact, many states limit a contractor’s advance. California limits deposits at contract signing to 10% of the job cost, or $1,000 — whichever is smaller. We do occasionally require a down payment if a job is scheduled more than 6 weeks in advance. We prefer to collect payments when work starts and work with a progress based payment schedule up until final payment. We do allow a 10% retention of the final payment if the client requests.
About our contract: Our contract is a standard contract you would want to see from any contractor. There is no fine print, and its a quite lengthy 24 page contract due to the multiple duplicate notices required by the CSLB. We always give a blank sample contract when we submit our initial estimates for you to review beforehand. Our contract is required by the CSLB and meets the requirements set forth by the CSLB. It is designed to protect both the homeowner and the contractor by laying out all of the terms for the work to be done. We are a no pressure company, and we don’t use any sales tactics to get you to sign a contract with us. If you choose us to complete your project that’s great, but if not we wish you the best of luck with it as well.
Sure, there are contractors who have strong design abilities. Chances are, however, they’re spending a lot more time designing than running their businesses.
Depending upon the complexity of your project, you may need a number of skilled pros to get the job done. So don’t count on a contractor to design your space and add clever details. Contractors are not designer’s or an architect. Generally, a contractor will be willing to help you out if you need it though. Contractors can draw plans for permits and help with minor design elements, most small bathroom or kitchen remodel projects typically do not need a designer or architect. We recommend reading our article How to Decide Between Hiring an Architect or a Designer if you have a project that’s very complex or high-end.
If you’re planning on remodeling your bathroom, you’re following the trend of many homeowners across the U.S. in fact, bathroom remodel’s and kitchen remodel’s are the most remodeled and improved rooms in the home and provide the best return on your investment. One way to improve your bathroom is to add a stand-alone shower. To do this, first you have to decide on a shower base.
What’s a shower base?
The shower base is the foundation of your stand alone shower. It’s the bottom of the shower – the part that rests on the floor. It contains the drain that carries the used shower water out of the home via the sewage system.
Why a stand alone shower?
If you already have a bathtub in your bathroom, many newer types like Jacuzzis and whirlpool baths lack a shower, as do the ever-popular claw foot tub. Showers use less water than bathtubs, and provide a place to get clean quickly. Obviously, they’re also much more efficient for tasks like hair shampooing.
Be sure that before you start your bathroom remodel, you have a clear and concise plan for your shower base. Custom shower pans are easy to do if you do not have a standard size shower, simple have a tile shower pan installed.
Different shower base types
Shower bases come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. If you can’t find the perfect shower base for your bathroom, you can always have one custom made. Of course, this will cost more.
The shower base also comes in several different materials:
Acrylic – This is the least expensive type of shower base. On the down side, the acrylic often weakens over years of use.
Acrylic and fiberglass blend – This is acrylic strengthened with the addition of fiberglass. This shower base is usually very affordable, but it’s more durable than the shower base constructed of acrylic alone.
Tile – Tile is another popular choice for a shower base. To tile the shower base, purchase an unfinished one. Be sure to purchase more tile than you need so that you’ll have replacements for the future that will be an exact match. You can find tiles on sale that are inexpensive, but the real cost is in the labor involved. If you lay the tile yourself, a tiled shower base can be a fairly inexpensive remodeling project.
Corian – Corian is a hard, resilient material that’s often used for kitchen counter tops. It’s very durable and resists scratches. Corian is available in a wide choice of colors and patterns.
Stone resin – This is a material that’s made from ground stone, sand, and a bonding medium. The mixture is molded and hardened to create the look and feel of real stone, at a much lower cost.
Cultured stone – Real stone is the most expensive type of shower bases. Popular choices include marble, granite, onyx, and limestone. These shower bases are practically indestructible and usually last a lifetime.
Copper – Copper is gaining in popularity as a material for shower bases. It’s a natural material, and copper has inherent antibacterial properties. It also ages well and is easy to maintain.
Which material do I choose for my shower base?
When choosing a shower base before your bathroom remodel, think of your individual needs. How much can you afford? How long will you be in the home? How much use will the shower get?
Another important aspect in choosing a shower base during your bathroom remodel is its visual appeal. You’ll want a material and color that complements the rest of the bathroom. If you have clear shower doors, remember that the shower base will be visible to anyone who visits your bathroom!
On last thing to remember when remodeling your bathroom, it will increase the resale value of your home – but only to a certain point.
If you are interested in remodeling your bathroom, give GKing Construction a call today!