A punitive approach to what could be unforseen and atypical delays may be a bad idea. I would suggest offering a bonus for the job being completed early rather than a penalty for it being delayed. If material is ordered, we can't make it arrive faster if something delays the shipment. We recently ordered a bathtub requested by a customer. It was promised by our supplier for a Wednesday delivery. Bad weather hit Texas and it just didn't leave the warehouse until the following Monday. It blew up our schedule for the project and it wasn't anyone's fault or mistake. If we have an employee critical to the project get sick or injured, we may not be able to get things done as originally scheduled. Jobs can get off schedule for a lot of reasons outside the contractor's control. Charging them for those things is likely to turn them away.
Going "green" is not only good for the environment; it’s also good for you. Green products have great design, tend to function better, which lowers utility bills, and they’re also chemical-free, making them better for your health. Having an eco-friendly approach to remodeling isn’t just about buying new products, doing something "green" can be as simple as painting a cabinet instead of tossing it in a landfill.

As I contractor if I am installing a customers product or supplying my own, I am charging full overhead and profit above the install cost. I try not to allow customers to supply materials and when they do I tack on my overhead and profit in to the labor. Remodeling is one of the most time consuming services and if your not covering your overhead and profit in the materials and labor you will not last long in this business. At the end of the day after all said and done, making a 15% profit is respectable. Think about it, your the designer, the gofer, the physiatrist, the builder, shopper and the banker until you get paid. Never be intimidated to support your price, deliver a quality product and support it with proper pricing. Never let the customer supply there own materials. Movie theaters don't let you bring in your own pop corn, so why should contractors be any different.


The remodel is needed due to water leakage from the tub surround into the wall cavity. I recommended she get an estimate of extra costs that cannot be foreseen until demolition occurs but would be entailed if the contractor has to do any structural work like putting in new studs and or has to install new insulation. I urged her to get at least an upper ceiling estimate before work begins lest the contractor make her an offer she can't refuse once the room is gutted. I urged her to be flexible on any adjustment to the estimate that can be made only after demolition begins. But I told her to insist that the rest of the estimate be binding. No surprises.
Don’t want your budget to skyrocket? Don't move your plumbing. On the surface, switching your sink and toilet around may look easy enough, but the problem lies underneath and all the costs involved in moving that plumbing. Besides, if you spend less money on moving fixtures, you’ll have more to spend on that new sleek shower system or vanity you’ve been eyeing.

We’ve had a number of contractors to our house for a number of items from roof tear off & redo, to gutters and corner boards, whole-house carpet replacement and a basement completion. We know the lingo and the big picture but - whether it’s the timing or the unknown - this has been the most frustrating process ever! If you find a nuts & bolts, studs to baseboards and crown-molding to carpet contractor you can trust, consider yourself one of the lucky 10 across the country. The rest of us are stuck in the wild-west and unfortunately left with an article that’s not even worth updating over the past 2+ years.


I acted as general contractor and did all my own demo to remodel my 6x8 bathroom. I hired subs individually to do most of the work - an electrician, a plumber, a drywall guy and a tile guy. I painted the walls and the ceiling. I replaced everything except the cast iron tub. Materials and fixtures cost around $2000 and labor was about $3000. My subs had no problem with me supplying the materials, because I discussed their job scope in advance. This project took 6 months but I did have another full bath to use in the mean time.

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