Bad Estimator = Bad Results
Why Your Estimator Is Key To A Successful
Exterior Home Renovation In Utah
The Quality Of Your Remodel Hinges
On The Quality Of Your Proposal
When you call a Utah exterior home solutions company out to your home for a project estimate, you are embarking on the single most important part of your renovation. What your estimator sees or doesn’t see can be the difference between your project lasting a lifetime or falling apart in under ten years.
It’s an unfortunate truth that many contractors send out someone better versed in sales than they are in, say, inspecting a proposed work area. Their goal is to offer as low a bid as possible, knowing that they can make adjustments with change orders later on.
We can’t tell you what our competitors’ estimators look at (mostly it’s their wallets), but we can tell what we check – and why.
Focusing On The Big Picture
We’re sure you’ve heard the term, “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” Well, that’s what can happen with an estimator who is solely interested in getting your signature. They are so focused on what you want that they ignore what you need.
When our estimator arrives, they’ll spend time learning what you want, why you want it, and why what you have now is a problem for you.
As they look at your home, they go through a mental checklist of actions that will need to occur to get you where you want to be. And since homes are built with combined strength in mind, much of the exterior is puzzled together, with each part adding to the strength of the next.
So, if you want new siding, we have to look at how your siding ties into other parts of your home.
Will the soffit and fascia need to be removed?
If so, are your gutters tied to the fascia? Can they be removed carefully, or are your gutters going to fall apart or bend if they are pulled away from your home?
What are the chances that we’ll find wood rot or mold?
Does it make sense to leave the old material on (rarely a good idea), or should it be removed?
How old is the home, and what are the chances that what lays beneath your siding will be up to modern code?
And on and on.
Other companies just ask you what color you want and then start measuring.
But we consider every potential problem and need before coming up with a proposal.
Educating Vs Patronizing
Our goal for every first visit is to give you the information you need to understand the renovation process, understand the potential problems, and understand why seemingly unconnected issues are essential to realizing your dream result.
The standard competitor’s first visit is all about taking. They take the knowledge of what you want, take measurements, then take as much of your time as necessary to take your signature back to their boss. The only thing they give you is a crazy low bid that has no chance of remaining the same once the work is completed.
Instead of wasting time by dazzling you with a pile of numbers and pipe dream timelines, we take the time to get a full grasp of what your project will involve. And we don’t just tell you what we’ve found – we show you.
When we are through, you’ll have a better idea of what you want, what it will take to get there, what could go wrong (the aforementioned mold and such), and the true cost of a completed project that will last you decades.
You’ll also know what a reputable, trustworthy contractor looks like. You’ll know what questions to ask, which answers to expect, and which answers are red flags.
Of course, we want the work, but we only want it after you’ve been fully informed of the ins and outs of the process and can then sign with your eyes wide open. Plus, our quotes are good for 30 days to give you time to think it through. That way, when installation day comes, you’re excited, not nervous.
OK, But What Does Any Of That Have To
Do With The Quality Of My Project?
You may find yourself wondering what any of the above has to do with your new siding, windows, or gutters. Well – EVERYTHING!
Let’s split them into two scenarios – RGS and the Other Guys.
The Other Guys – The estimator was super fast with the inspection and told us everything should be fine. You get an amazing quote because you’ve taken advantage of their once-per-year “Guy’s Named Dave” discount. What luck! Plus, the quote is just a couple of sheets of paper, so it’s easy to understand.
RGS – After listening to your answers to their questions, the estimator then discusses how renovation works and describes the problems that can crop up on an older/newer home like yours. They then spend a lot of time inspecting your home, peering behind things, taking measurements, and writing in their notebook.
Your estimator eventually presents you with a much longer proposal than the Other Guys, full of a detailed description of the work and the costs of potential problems that can occur in this type of renovation.
Whether they just discuss it with you, or put it into the quote, you are now aware of the potential for added costs and can include that possibility when you make your decision.
The Other Guys – Halfway through the renovation, they uncover a section of wall that is rotted and unable to hold your new siding. It must be replaced to finish the original work. Now you have to make an $8,000 decision under duress. Had you known, you wouldn’t have started the project in the first place, but now you’re stuck.
Or worse, they just do the work and bill you for it with no warning because they “had no choice.”
RGS – Halfway through the renovation, we uncover a section of wall that is rotting and unable to hold your new siding. It must be replaced to finish the work.
But that’s no problem because the work has already been discussed with you or is already written into your proposal. We replace/repair the bad portions of your wall – and look at that, it cost us less than we thought it would, so that’s $1500 off what you agreed to or expected to pay if that problem came up.
There’s a third scenario – the Other Guys know you can’t add a single penny to your project budget, so they don’t tell you what they found and just cover it up. Besides, it’ll hold at least until their six-month workmanship guarantee runs out, so – win-win!
Which scenario would cause you less stress? Which one runs the risk of forcing you to stop the project before it is finished? And which one may leave you with an expensive mess in just a few years?
Quality Through Relentless Honesty
Most hidden problems with home renovation projects are predictable if you know your business. The home’s location will often tell an estimator if he needs to consider termite damage as a possibility (some areas just don’t have termite issues).
How well the home has been maintained is another indicator. Even when it was built can tell an estimator what problems may lurk behind your siding, fascia, or walls – because certain failed techniques or materials had known timeframes when they were used.
Our estimator takes those facts and gives you a complete price for a project done right, even addressing those worst-case scenarios. Will it be your lowest bid? Not likely. It’ll fall somewhere in the middle.
But that low bid you got from the Other Guys is almost certain to go up. Not because they are dishonest, but because they treat their bids as a foot in the door and rely on mid-job change orders to pay for doing the job properly.
The key thing to understand with RGS Exteriors is that, while the final costs may go down as problems fail to show up, they are almost certain not to go up unless you add to the project.
That’s why we are so careful with our estimation process. Our extensive and detailed proposals cover every possibility and puts a price on them, just in case. That way, we know we’ll be allowed to do the work correctly, and you know that 99 times out of 100, the worst thing you’ll hear from us is, “We came in at budget, and you’re all set for the next several decades.”