Many of our Rochester and Western NY customers have a lot of questions as to what to expect, as far as pricing and work scope for many of the projects they want done.
Many times I am the 2nd or 3rd contractor to meet with them and discuss their project. More often then not the first 2 contractors gave them a “number” but didnt explain actually what they actually get for their money or the work scope or outline invloving the project and timeline. This can lead to wrong materials bought and installed or even worse the dreaded, “2 month kitchen remodel during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday!” We have also seen a surge of rework for us the past few years due to contractors not pulling permits and having things built to code or properly inspected by code enforcement during the build process.
So here is a brief Q&A to help some of our Rochester NY and Monroe County customers with common questions regarding pricing and work scope , code enforcement and such:
Q: We are looking for someone to hang and finish drywall in a few rooms. How much do you charge?
A: There’s a lot of different ways to come up with pricing for drywall. Here’s some guidelines: Drywall installed in a old house usually runs around $2.00 a square foot installed and finished. 5/8 fire rock for an apartment or moisture resistant drywall is usually a little more. Square footage is always calculated on board used. So if we use a 12 foot board cut down to 10′ 6” for your ceiling length you would be charged for the 12′ board. Demo of existing wallboard or lathe and plaster is extra as well as debris removal
Q: My Bathroom walls and ceiling are a total of 210 square feet. I had a few estimates of over one thousand dollars to finish. What gives???
A: Many times contractors (including us) has a minimum fee for bathrooms or small rooms based on time used vs. square footage. One thousand may be a little high. We have a minimum fee of around 650 for a small bathroom.
Q: I am getting estimates for a new deck on my home. My brother-in-law can save me a bunch of money if we do it on the weekend. A few contractors said we didn’t need a permit and could do it in a day or two but I read somewhere that decks require permits. Is that true?
A: In most cases decks DO need a permit to be constructed as well as a deck drawing submitted to code enforcement prior to work commencing. There are multiple inspections from code enforcement including a footing inspection to determine hole locations as well as depth PRIOR to installing deck posts. You DO NOT need a permit in many cases if you are just changing the deck boards themselves. I would always lean on the side of caution and make a quick call to code enforcement.
Q: My contractor said it was easier to ask forgiveness than permission from code enforcement. We have a stop work order now on our project. What do we do?
A: First I would stop down to code enforcement WITH your contractor and sit down and try to rectify whats been done and get the proper permits. If inspections have been skipped they may have some rework to do. You should NOT have to pay your contractor for the rework as he skipped the inspections and permit process.
Q: We have the stop work order and I have been unable to get a hold of my contractor. I called some of the other guys I got estimates from and they said it will now be double the original price.
A: While we would sometimes like to charge double our original price. We pride ourselves on being fair with pricing no matter what the situation. . That being said, sometimes we do have to demo and start from scratch and sometimes the contractor priced the project too low to do the job with the right materials to begin with. We just did a large project in 2013 in the Eastwood/Syracuse area that the contractor took off and made a mess and we will provide before and after photo’s to your email if you ask.
Q: I have a small project north of Syracuse I need done. I have called a bunch of contractors and only one showed up. He quoted me $800.00 to install a few interior doors? I cant afford that! HELP!
A: We do small projects. Sometimes they are a bit harder to schedule in since we also do large jobs, so you may have to be a bit flexible with scheduling. We have a minimum labor fee of $300.00 but we are always interested in helping with small projects. We are confident that you will be impressed with craftsmanship and pricing which will lead to big projects with you in the future.
Q: How can we save costs on our small to medium projects? We need some remodeling done on our cottage in Rochester but are on a tight budget, any tips would be useful.
A: Here’s a few tips to save a few dollars but you have to be careful you don’t cost yourself a few in the process:
- Pick up material and have it delivered and ready for the contractor, make sure to pick up extra and return what he doesn’t use. If he runs out partway through the project I’m sure the money you tried to save will be spent on him going to get more.
- Do the cleaning up of the project- masking off of the area yourself as well as the final cleanup.
- Demo! Doing the demo yourself can definitely save you a good deal of money.WARNING:Be sure to communicate clearly with your contractor AND take notes on what needs to be demoed and removed and what needs to stay untouched. Removing and destroying important pieces doesn’t save money.
- This may be taboo to other WNY contractors to talk about with consumers but if you are flexible with your timeline of your project started, you may see if he can fit your project in during a down time and ask for a discount. Depending on the project this could save you 5-10% which could be very substantial. Be prepared to have the contractor call a day prior to wanting to start work to give you the heads up. We routinely offer this discount to our customers. Usually product shipments are delayed for our next project or we are ahead of schedule and need something to fill in.
Q: We have had a hard Rochester winter; Ice falling from my roof just put a big hole in my deck, patio, door, etc. What do I do now??
A: The first call should be your homeowners insurance. The second should be us or your contractor. He can come up with an estimate for your homeowners and mitigate the damages.
Q: We got a few estimates but our insurance adjuster offered us much less than the contractors proposals. He said he needs more info from the contractors but I am getting nowhere?
A: Call me asap. Many contractors don’t provide a detailed enough work scope for adjusters which leads to you not getting enough money to properly do the job.
Q: Great so I can get what I need from you?
A: Yes. There is a fee we charge you to provide the very detailed project scope to get you the correct money from the insurance company. This fee is credited to your bill once we finish your project. We also like you to sign a work authorization form so we have permission to do any work necessary to mitigate damages.
Q: Great! SO I won’t have to pay out of pocket?
A: If you have a deductible you will have to pay at least that. Depending on what type of homeowners policy you have, you may also be responsible for part of the costs if repairs are deemed a home improvement.
Q: What do you guys do? Carpentry is very general.
A: The better question is what DON’ T we do. In counties or cities that require licensing we don’t do plumbing or electrical. We sub out these trades to comply with the cities and counties. We use only the best plumbing and electrical guys to give you the best value. Our specialty, however is Roofing and Vinyl Siding.
Q: Are you fully insured?
A: Yes we are. We have liability insurance (covers roofing as well) as well as workers comp and disability as per state law.
Q: Does your liability policies cover roofing?
A: Most liability policies in the Syracuse don’t cover roofing but ours does.
Q: What does this mean to me?
A: If you have a storm ruining the inside of your house while he is working on it , the insurance company will not pay you for the damages.Your homeowners will probably not cover it either.
Q: How do we know if a company’s policy does cover roofing or not?
A: Ask to speak with his agent or ask for a copy of his liability insurance with it specifying roof tear off or roofing on it.
Q: Since we are talking about your company. Why should we hire you?
A: We provide the same or usually better quality than the biggest guys around and most of the time save you 10-30% off their prices with the same or better materials.
Q: Glad you brought up pricing! Do you offer any type of price matching to other companies if you are higher?
A: Yes and no. Let me explain:
- The first thing I would do is compare work scope and materials to make sure we are a “apples to apples” comparison. If I am pricing a Cadillac and he is pricing a Yugo there will be a big price difference.
- If we are doing a more in-depth type of work than our competitor then we may be higher priced. If I believe our higher craftsmanship is neccassary to do the job right on your home I will not deviate from the proper proposal. I always have YOUR home’s best interest at heart.
- We price match if work scope and materials are the same and they are one of our competitors. Competitor has to be in good repute and fully insured and established.
- Burt and Ernie showing up in a 1979 f100 pickup that is more than 3 colors is not a competitor. Them being licensed and insured probably means between them they have 1 drivers license and car insurance.
Q: What do you have against 1979 f100’s?
A: Nothing really. I once owned one at age 16 for a very short period of time. 3 on the tree with a straight 6 cylinder engine. It may have even been 3 colors. I cant remember . I do remember it had an untimely fate.