We are going on three months of planning, tearing down walls, chasing contractors, and working our butts off to get the studio ready for our move-in date of May 31st.
My husband did all the demo himself, saving us thousands of dollars on labor. So, if you have time (ha! is that a joke?) or have a group of buddies that can help and you need to demo a space, doing it yourself will save you a ton of cash. It also takes a lot longer to get the work done and patience is a virtue that will be tested. Here is were we are today with the remodel.
For starters, things always take twice as long as you imagined. A 3-day tiling job will more likely take a week; often delayed because the contractor can’t get the entire crew there, so he takes off a day to finish a smaller job that doesn’t need that many people.
Speaking of contractors, if you are not hiring a company to manage the job for you and you are contracting your own people to get the job done, you’ll save between 20-30% of the remodeling cost, but you’ll also have a few panic attacks and personal meltdowns along the way -guaranteed.
Take our electrical work, for example. We’ve had an electrician that is a friend of my husband’s family, do the work in our home a couple of times, and we knew he is good, honest, and reliable. However, in the recent months, he’s picked up a contract with a builder and is swamped. He kept putting us off for weeks until I finally had to step in and give an ultimatum. Needless to say, I found another electrician but that “waiting” delayed our remodel by almost four weeks!
There are two takeaways when it comes to contractors. #1, if you are hiring someone that your family knows, treat them the same as a stranger. Don’t put up with delays because they are a “friend.” and #2, have a backup plan or two. When I finally got involved in the whole electrician delay fiasco, it wasn’t pretty. What I mean by that is that I was already fed up and probably not the nicest to my husband and anyone else who got in my way of my delayed timeline.
Another thing I learned? Finding a “plan B” when you are in dire need will cost you more money. Contractors can smell desperation a mile away and understand when you need their skill to move on with the job.
Since the electrician delayed our timeline by three weeks, the sheetrock guy got tied up in a few jobs and sent someone else. This other person charged us 2.5 times more than the first estimate. As you can imagine, my blood boiled; but what were we supposed to do, not put up the walls? At that point, the walls needed to go up so we could lay the flooring and move on.
I should add, that while these delays were happening, I was at the beginning of a two-week business trip stressing out remotely. During this remodeling process, my husband and I established that I’d hunt down the contractors and he’d be at the studio supervising and managing the work. This way, I was the “bad guy” they never saw but was on top of their stuff, and my husband would make sure the job was being done.
As you can imagine, I’ve learned to not rely on phone calls alone to communicate with my contractors. I’ve resorted to persistence via text messaging, Facebook messaging, and lastly a phone call. If you want your contractors to get back to you, you must be persistent in all forms of communication, and if they are working at a job, they are probably not going to pick up the phone but will often reply to a quick text.
Now that the gas line is installed, electrical work completed, and the house prepped for flooring and framed for walls; it’s time to move on with putting up sheetrock, tiling the bathroom, and putting down the floors!
Have you remodeled your home? What are some of your tips to staying on schedule?