Leading with Design


A friend of mine moved, from Minnesota to Texas, a few months ago and bought a house. She connected with a local remodeling contractor and proceeded to do a kitchen addition, which included a mudroom and powder room.

She called me up, one day last week, terribly frustrated because she was not seeing anything she liked in her budget for cabinetry, countertops, flooring, lighting and plumbing fixtures.

Her problem is a common one in my industry.

Many remodeling companies hurry to sell projects to homeowners. They do some rudimentary concepts and give allowances for materials and other items, and then put together a price. If a homeowner agrees to the project, they move forward, figuring out the details and making change orders along the way as they iron out the design.

I call this method of remodeling: “sell, budget, design.” Perhaps it should be called the sell, budget, design, frustrate, change order, re-price, redesign and visit a therapist method of remodeling. 

I think there’s a different way this should be done. What would
happen if the contractor, designer and homeowner were all an equal team?
What if homeowners were empowered to make decisions based on ideas and
budgets from the very beginning of the process? It’s far more time
efficient and results in a better, more satisfying process.

Here are 5 steps you can take to make the planning of your remodeling
project go smoother and to minimize change orders and frustrations:

1)      Discuss budget ranges for the project

2)      Go through a space planning exercise

3)      Figure out the details

4)      Ask for the project to be priced in detail

5)      Make final revisions to details and pricing as needed

Now, if you’re comfortable with the cost and plan for the project, sign on the dotted line.

Mike Otto, Fair and Square Remodeling


Written By

Mike Otto is owner and CEO of Fair & Square Remodeling. His goal is to provide homeowners a full-service remodeling company with a team of the most trusted and skilled designers, artisans and craftsmen in the Twin Cities area.

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