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Let's Dance


Published: 05/08/2014

by Mark Noonan

With the spring renovation season in full swing, many of us are out there getting those required three quotes from contractors, excited about our final design decisions. The question is: what will those quotes represent and how accurately will they reflect our overall expectations?


Often, the steps we undertake in the quoting process are flawed, resulting in less than perfect results in our final project. Typically, each quote is unique and distinctive, and we pick the one closest to our general needs. Perhaps we negotiate price, adding or deleting elements while trying to get on our price target, but we fail to get full value because we did not get the contractors on the same page as us.


The typical reason for this failure is our budget and our reservations about sharing it. We talk in abstracts and broad strokes about our vision with the contractor and we leave it up to him or her to develop a plan and the associated costs. We’re afraid that if we reveal our budget, he’ll spend every penny and we’ll lose our competitive advantage without getting our best price. And so we dance around the issue, hoping that magic happens and our wish list is fulfilled without revealing that secret budget.


The truth is, we’ll get much better consultations from those quoting when they have a clear and defined understanding of all our expectations from design concept to financial investment.


Professional contractors will respect your budget and they’ll be able to provide fair and honest direction when they know what resources are available to work with. And by having each contractor work with a defined budget, we will have a much clearer picture of their individual efficiencies and capabilities, helping us make a much more informed

decision about which one should be awarded the project.


The first step, prior to putting a project out to market, is to do some initial research to understand what a project like this might cost. There will be a range. Make sure that the budget expectations fall somewhere within that range. Get good comparisons on-line or from neighbours – and even from contractors themselves. Then embrace the budget, make it public and put it to work for you. 


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