That's Not What You Said it Was going to Cost! How to Work With Your Builder to Set, and Keep, an Exterior Remodeling Construction Budget

Scope Creep.” In the world of project management it’s what happens when things keep getting bigger and more complicated than planned. And it always happens after the project begins. If you’re not careful, you can get a taste of this as a homeowner undertaking a remodeling construction project.

You tell your contractor you want X, and your budget is Y. Not long after work gets underway, you decide you want to change a few things. “Well, that’s not X anymore,” the contractor says. “That’s R. If that’s what you want the cost is no longer Y, it’s actually R minus X, where R is greater. So the new cost of the project is Y plus the difference of R minus X.”

Good grief! And you thought you were done with algebra back in high school.  

Get thee to a building contractor

We’ve all done it at least once in our lives. One of two things has happened after we see something we want to purchase:

  • We don’t act on it because we think it’s too expensive, but it turns out we could have bought three of them if we wanted.
  • We flip over the price tag and nearly have a heart attack because boy, oh boy, that is so much more expensive than we ever dreamed

“Yeah, but shouldn’t I be able to figure out all the prices by spending some time online?” That’s a way to get a general estimate, but we probably hate surprises more than you do. Wouldn’t you rather have a cost proposal based on details?

That’s a process with real people taking accurate measurements and finding out detailed requests. Sorry, but an online calculator won’t do that for you.

It’s a partnership

We’re not going to get married, but we have to create a strong working relationship. And like most relationships, the big arguments are usually about money – and usually because somebody wasn’t completely forthcoming with all the details. Here’s what we’ve learned from past relationships with clients that keep those surprises from happening.

  1. Say what’s on your mind. We’re expert exterior remodeling professionals, but we’ve never been good at mind reading. You’re going to be asked to make a lot of decisions. In this partnership, we’ll be straightforward and transparent so there are no surprises. Do the same with us.
  2. Make the decision to trust us. We love it when we get to work with clients who take a genuine interest in what we’re doing to the exterior of their home. Partnerships are based on trust. Our reputation is on the line, so you can trust us to do the right thing. If you see something you don’t understand, ask us.
  3. Take the time to be sure. There are a lot of articles online advising homeowners that they need to know exactly what they want. These articles also talk about how making changes can cause big budget-busting problems. Both of these statements are true, but only up to a point. A true partnership acknowledges that things can change. We take the approach that it’s better to work longer and harder with you during the planning stage, making sure you’re completely comfortable with the exterior changes you’re asking us to make. We’ve discovered this greatly reduces the possibility that you’ll ask for a change that can impact the budget for the project.

Have you noticed a theme running through what you’ve read so far? All successful relationships are based on a foundation of communication. We’re going to put in writing what’s going to be done to your house. It’s a legal contract. You might say it’s like a marriage contract. That’s the way we prefer things. In fact it’s our mission statement:

To treat all of our customers like we would treat our own family, and work on all our  projects as if they were our own homes.

We can stay within the budget we agree on. We will make the changes to the exterior of your house that you envision. It happens when everything up there in your head makes it to our ears. And we’re really good listeners!

Talk to us about how we can be your partner in creating a new exterior look for your home. The partnership starts with us coming to your home. We’ll listen to what you want to accomplish and share our professional insight. Next step? A free estimate.