Are you planning to remodel one or all of the bathrooms in your Massachusetts home? Many homeowners are in the dark when it comes to knowing and understanding the actual costs of their bathroom remodeling projects. This article will help you understand the estimating process and what contributes to the cost of remodeling a bathroom.
Sometimes homeowners are surprised when they hear the actual cost for a professional contractor to remodel their bathroom. Depending on the size of your bathroom and the vision you have your remodeling estimate could be $8,000 – $20,000 to $30k or more if you have big dreams and luxurious tastes.
Many homeowners just aren’t prepared for a price with so many decimal points and need further clarification and an explanation on why it costs so much to remodel a bathroom. It’s not always a case of the contractor being high-priced, sometimes the homeowners, just don’t fully understand exactly the scope of work that might be involved or the fluctuating cost of materials.
In the world of home remodeling, specifically bathroom remodeling the problem becomes much worse when there are many guys with nothing more than a pickup truck and toolbelt advertising on Craigslist masquerading as professionals. Often unlicensed, uninsured and qualified these guys are able to grossly undercut the real professionals in the industry. You know those remodeling horror stories you always hear about? That’s what happens when you choose the lowest bid or had unrealistic expectations going into the project.
Thankfully, with a little bit of knowledge it’s pretty easy to understand your remodeling estimate and spot a professional contractor from a hack.
Professional Bathroom Remodeling Contractors in Massachusetts Use Contracts!
When you have everything in writing it protects you as a homeowner and protects the contractor as a business owner. A rigid set of requirements and milestones for your project will help everything run smoothly. Fly-by-night contractors don’t like contracts because they usually constrict the shady way some of these guys conduct business.
Here are a few clues to look for… Was the scope of work and materials list pretty vague? That’s your first clue that the contractor you’re dealing with isn’t on the up and up. If you’ve received an estimate from a professional it will likely be several pages long and highly detailed and itemized. Fly-by-night contractors don’t do this because it takes too much time and effort.
When a professional remodeling contractor provides you with a home remodeling estimate it will probably be on company letterhead. You’ll receive a thorough description of the work involved, the materials being used and any and all requests or special considerations you’ve asked for in writing.
Remember…. Just to come up with your estimate your contractor already has to invest a great deal of their time and expertise. We must drive to your location, we must inspect the project, answer your questions, bounce ideas abck and forth and essentially consult with you, after this process (which can sometimes take a few hours) we then need to create a very detailed estimate.
This is time a professional should be compensated for. It’s not cheap to have proper paperwork drafted by a legal professional. If your remodeling estimate looks professional, it’s a good first indication that the contractor behind it might be professional too. If you received your estimate on a scrap piece of paper, with a handwritten quote and vague descriptions, it might be a clue to keep looking.
Professional Remodeling Contractors in Massachusetts Must Be Licensed and Insured
Licensing and proper insurance both for employees and the projects a home remodeling contractor works on are business expenses, that don’t come cheap. You’d think this one would be obvious but make sure the remodeling estimate you’ve received has come from a licensed and insured contractor. Believe it or not, many contractors have neither.
Either because they never were licensed or they simply never renewed it (which is actually very common). Think about this for a second… What if you’re contractor damages your home or property? Do you think they are organized enough to handle it? Your estimate from a professional remodeling contractor will probably mention the fact they are licensed and insured to do business in your area. Don’t risk your largest investment to an unqualified person.
Professional Contractors Have To Pay Employees
Most professional contractors although talented craftsman themselves, couldn’t do it all on their own. They need a team of talented craftsman they can call upon to help them on every project. Employees and sub-contractors cost money. If you want good, reliable employees and subs that continually do amazing work, they cost even more. If you look at the remodeling contractors in your area that consistently put out the highest quality of work you’ll find they almost always pay their employees very well. The contractor earns the respect of his crew and other contractors who work with him, and they put more effort into your project.
A large portion of your estimate will go to paying the wages of your contractors employees or sub-contractors for the labor required to complete your project. It is NEVER fair nor good practice to ask your contractor to lower the labor rates for his crew.
If you think they are priced too high you might be better off trying to acquire another estimate from one of their competitors or consider choosing less expensive materials to trim the budget down.
Beware, the contractor with the lowest paid employees (uncertified tradesman) won’t put the same level of craftsmanship, knowledge and expertise into your project.
What Building Materials or Products Are Being Installed?
This is an area that can greatly affect the cost of your final estimate. Most contractors (if they are good business people) will get a pretty generous discount on materials from their local building suppliers. Often remodeling contractors will then mark these materials up when they bill them to you, and make a little money off the top. This is a common industry practice.
However, there are other contractors who opt to pass the savings onto you and instead earn their money with their expertise and the labour they put into your project. When you have tile that goes for $2.00 a square foot up to $30.00+ per square foot and every other building material follows the same scale you can see how the cost of materials will greatly affect your estimate. It’s important to set a budget early and listen to what your contractor has to say, they can help you stretch your dollar further than you might think.
Professional Bathroom Remodeling Contractors Offer A Written Warranty
This is an important one and it’s a little bit deceiving because while some contractors will offer you a warranty on their work, they simply just won’t be around to service it. This is very common with the lowest bids on any home remodeling project.
These contractors under value their time because they need the next dollar quick. It’s not a guarantee that they’ll be around in a year to fix that messed up tile, or the leaking shower pan. A professional home remodeling contractor will offer you a rock solid warranty, in writing and while that’s still not a guarantee you’ll just have to look at the contractors reputation, the length of time they’ve been in business, the quality of their finished work and how they conduct themselves to make that determination for yourself.
If your warranty information is clearly detailed and explained on the estimate you’ve received then it’s a good sign the remodeling contractor you’re working with is reputable enough to stand behind it.
Does Your Contractor Have Lots Of Overhead?
This is pretty important if you are trying to make a good financial decision. You can learn a lot about your contractor based on how their business appears to you (as a consumer). Does your contractor drive a $65,000 1 ton pickup truck? Do the employees drive brand new company vehicles? Do they have a large showroom staffed with sales people? Do they have commissioned sales staff? These are all business expenses that will be passed on to you (the homeowner) under the guise of “you get what you pay for”… That’s true… But you can also find a great contractor with high quality work standards who runs a much smaller business. Thus, your estimate could be lower if the contractor doesn’t have as much overhead. Do your research.
Who Provides Bathroom Remodeling Estimates in Massachusetts?
JEMM Remodeling and Design is a full service bathroom remodeling contractor based out of Medford, Massachusetts. We specialize in complete bathroom makeovers and remodeling projects. If you’d like to receive an estimate from a professional remodeling contractor with an eye for detail and reputation of high quality finished bathrooms then give Michael Malerba at JEMM Remodeling and Design a call today! Call 617.538.7137 right now.