Archive for the ‘Initial Consultation’ Category

10 Kitchen Design Mistakes to Avoid #2

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Tip #2 Don’t waste storage space.

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Tip #2 Don’t waste storage space.

Kitchens typically contain lots of stuff. Not only that, but kitchen items are often oddly shaped and require a lot of space, such as food processors or stand mixers. Finding a home for your kitchen stuff while keeping it easily accessible can be a tricky proposition. Because built-ins are expensive and the overall size of the area you’re working with may be limited, one big design mistake is not including enough storage.

Almost every kitchen design has wasted space, but this can be minimized with adequate planning and forethought. If the kitchen is small, consider installing extra-long upper cabinets with molding for extra storage space. Place lighting or greenery along the molding to draw the eyes up. Also remember to always install cabinets over the refrigerator. Not to fully utilize the space above the refrigerator is a waste of potential storage space for large or seasonal kitchen items. Install shelves across the backs of the lower kitchen cabinet, which can preserve about 4 square feet potential storage area. Otherwise, the kitchen will feel smaller than it is because you will constantly be trying to find more storage space.

Remodeler Best Practices: No Pressure Sales

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

As I mentioned in the previous blog post, design and remodeling contractors are under a lot of pressure in this down economy to bring on new projects. This doesn’t mean, however, that we should transfer that pressure to you!

I’ve never been a big fan of the hard sell. I know what it’s like to walk onto a used car lot. It feels a lot like being a guppy dropped into a shark tank. I never want anyone to feel like that when they pick up the phone to ask me a question, and I’m sure most of my remodeling colleagues would agree.

I’ve come across many individuals and couples who feel nervous about requesting a free consultation for their remodeling project. The fact that something is free almost always means there’s some kind of catch. In this instance, homeowners fear the catch is a hard sell.

Not with K B Design and Remodeling. I view the initial consultation as an educational opportunity for the homeowner and myself. I want to hear about your vision for the remodel and answer any questions that you have. In fact, many homeowners I visit aren’t even sure if they want a remodel yet. That’s fine. It’s important to get information on what is possible, how much certain changes will cost, and how long a remodel will take. A design and remodeling contractor can also propose great ideas for the project if you’re unsure of what you want.

On these visits, my main goal is to inform, educate and to be a resource. If I feel like the homeowner is ready to move forward with the remodel, I usually offer to quote the job. I also like to give a follow up call to all homeowners who request an initial consultation to see where they are in the planning process and if they think they might like to go ahead with the remodel.

This is about as salesy as I get. If a homeowner is ready for a remodel, I want them to know that my company can provide them with a great result for a great price. I think most people would agree this is a fair approach, especially in exchange for a free initial consultation.

What is not fair is remodelers laying on the sales pitch thick as soon as they step in the door. This approach is more likely to scare the homeowner off than provide them with the knowledge they need to make the best decision for their home, their budget and their future.

If you have ever considered a home remodel and want your questions answered, please call K B Design and Remodeling for a NO COST, NO OBLIGATION, NO PRESSURE, NO HARD SELL consultation at your home.

Contractor Best Practices: Free In-Home Consultation

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

An in-home consultation allows the contractor to discuss your vision with you in depth and to assess your remodeling project with you.

After all, how can a contractor provide you with a realistic price range for your kitchen or bath remodel if they don’t actually visit your home and review the room in question?

A free in-home consultation is a courtesy that any professional remodeling contractor should offer, especially before they provide a preliminary price range for your job. For instance, when assessing the room, a contractor may notice some issues or concerns that may affect the outcome you desire. They may also be able to make suggestions specific to the room that will save you money or give you an alternative design option.

For the first initial appointment as a client, you shouldn’t have to drive to a contractor’s office, wait until they’re ready to see you and then try to describe your remodel vision without being able to show them the room you want to remodel.

K B Design and Remodeling offers free in-home consultations, and I know that most of my peers do as well. If you come across a contractor who refuses to come to your home, you might want to think twice before requesting a price quote from his organization. If he won’t extend you this simple courtesy, where else will he cut corners in customer service?

What to Expect During an Initial Contractor Consultation

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Requesting an initial consultation with a contractor is a big step toward starting your remodeling project. The consultation is a chance for you to clarify your vision of the project, get answers to your questions, and receive initial feedback on the viability of your ideas. Depending on how far along you are in the planning process, the contractor may also be able to provide you with an approximate forecast or price range  for your project and a possible timeline for what you want done.

Many people, especially those who are considering their first remodel, don’t know what to expect from the initial consultation. Below, I walk you through the process and provide tips on how to get the most out of your consultation. Please be aware that this information is based on how we at K B Design and Remodeling perform our consultations. Other firms may operate in a different manner, though most of the fundamentals should be the same.

Firstly, the initial consultation should take place at your home so that the contractor can have direct access to the potential remodel area.

Secondly, the first part of the consultation should include a lot of listening on the part of the contractor. This is your project, and the contractor needs to know your story and your ideas before offering any suggestions.

Once you have described your vision, the contractor will use their experience and expertise to provide potential remodeling solutions, which may include design suggestions, cost saving tips, and remodeling strategies.  Ask lots of questions, especially if you don’t understand something the contractor is saying.

A contractor will also tell you about their company and past projects. They may share a portfolio of pictures of other projects that were similar to yours. They should also provide an explanation of how their team works on a project and what you, the client, can expect during the actual remodel.

Always ask lots of questions during the initial consultation! Many folks are just curious with what is possible and what certain ideas would cost. In some cases, the contractor can forecast a potential cost range for your project for preliminary planning purposes. Just be aware that until the exact specifications are confirmed, no contractor can accurately provide a final project cost sufficient for honest evaluation for comparison bidding purposes.

Cost estimates may vary widely between contractors and may not be the best way to choose a contractor. That’s why another important function of the initial consultation is for the client and contractor to get to know each other. Determine if the contractor was knowledgeable, if you connected with one another, if the contractor seemed to understand your vision and if you liked their suggestions. Remember, you will be spending a lot of time with your contractor throughout the remodel process, so it really helps to go with someone you respect.

After the initial consultation, take some time to digest the information you learned. If you are serious about your project, it is probably in your best interest to bring in several contractors to bid on the project (learn about our contractor proposal review guarantee).

It is also a good idea to bring back your top contracting choices for a second meeting, especially if some time has lapsed since the initial consultation. The second meeting is usually more thorough, and provides you and the contractor an opportunity to fine-tune your vision. On the second meeting, K B Design and Remodeling will often use a category cost worksheet to develop a more accurate forecast of a project’s realistic price range.

That basically summarizes the purpose of an initial consultation. Read the tips below to get the most out of your meeting.

Maximize Your Initial Consultation:

  • Free up at least two hours of time for the meeting and try to limit any possible distractions.
  • Make sure all the major decision makers are present at the meeting.
  • Provide the contractor with as much detail as possible for what you envision for the project. You don’t need to have every last faucet figured out. The contractor can help you fill in the blanks
  • Come to the meeting with an open mind. The contractor may offer advice or alternative solutions based on their extensive experience in the remodeling industry.
  • Come to the meeting with a general budget in mind. This will help the contractor suggest solutions within your price range.
  • Ask lots of questions. This is your house and your money on the line. Make sure you are completely comfortable with the entire process before moving forward.
  • Assess the contractor. The initial consultation isn’t just about getting details and suggestions for your project. It’s also an opportunity to test out the personality and working style of the contractor. Make sure to look carefully at their portfolio to determine if their style and results are what you want for your home.
  • Make certain that you contact two or three of the references that a contractor offers you. This will often give you more confidence in your choice.

If you think that you are ready for an initial design consultation for your remodeling project, we would be happy to listen to your goals and provide you with our knowledge and recommendations. Call (619) 448-2927 or E-mail us at Frank@KBDR.net