My suggestion is when talking to contractor be subtle and ask your questions. Ask if he/she will have a dumpster or trailer to haul away debris. If the don't get dumpster or have a trailer then you probably don't want them to work on your home. Tell them your concern with the only toilet in the house. Unless it is not safe I have always reinstalled the toilet so it could be used at night. A good contractor will work with you in anyway possible because you are the key to more business.
As the home owner, I am providing about $8,000 in materials. This includes the cabinetry, fixtures, faucets, countertops, lighting, toilet, glass in-line shower door and tile. Received two quotes. One contractor wants $25,000 to demo the bathroom, convert the existing tub to a tiled walk-in shower, tile the floor, and install my materials. The other wants $27,000. Using the previously mentioned 60/40 labor to material rate, I would be paying more than double for labor...that's insane. Some contractor's need a reality check.
And then the apples to bananas procedure of reviewing non-like proposals is just as frustrating. Some bring everything. From the paint to the tile to the fixtures and cabinetry. Others point you in you’re own direction for each of these and expect you to know what questions to ask when buying never-before, behind the scenes purchases that are required for a bathroom remodel. And you’re expected to review the costs a la carte vs as a package and come to a whole conclusion as soon as possible ‘cause if you want the remodel done in 5 months, we have to start in 3 and we’re booked for the next 6...wait, what??!?!?
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.
The more luxurious the materials for a bathroom remodeling project, the higher your budget will be. Using marble for your counters, custom cabinetry or handpainted ceramic tiles for your new shower walls in the master bathroom will look terrific. But it will also raise your material costs considerably more than installing a laminate countertop and low-end or mid-range tiles.

This estimate for a 2019 Typical Bathroom Remodel is derived from the unit cost method summarized in the American Institute of Architects Detailed Cost Estimating - Best Practices. This approach is used by professional designers, contractors, engineers and estimators and uses current wages, material costs, worker productivity benchmarks, supervisory overhead and markup rates.

Everyone wants to save money, but when you start by questioning material costs or markups it can indicate that you may be under budgeting for the project, or will question every choice the contractor makes in the hopes of saving $100. Time is money and when you have a customer who may cause interruptions because they want to buy something themselves to avoid "markup" it can cause major delays. Many times a customer ends up getting the wrong material anyway. This again slows down a contractor that may already be too busy.
Having an onsite dumpster should be your responsibility if it is something you are going to demand. They aren't cheap. Make suggestions or request a dumpster be included in the bid, but I would never start demanding anything when requesting proposals. They may have their own suggestions. We own a dump trailer and we bring it during demolition to handle the large debris. We have the trailer to avoid having to rent a dumpster on the job. If asked we can share this information, but if you require a dumpster instead we would have to take the time and research getting a dumpster to your house and add in costs we aren't accustomed to adding. That takes time and effort we may just not want to expend to give you a quote. Good contractors are generally very busy.
Don't underestimate the importance of lighting in a bathroom. Sconce lighting at the vanity is the ideal way to get even lighting on your face, and installing it at eye level will help diminish unflattering shadows. Dim lighting is nice for a relaxing bath; bright lights are great for shaving or applying makeup. Adding more overall lighting can make a small bathroom seem larger.

Everyone wants to save money, but when you start by questioning material costs or markups it can indicate that you may be under budgeting for the project, or will question every choice the contractor makes in the hopes of saving $100. Time is money and when you have a customer who may cause interruptions because they want to buy something themselves to avoid "markup" it can cause major delays. Many times a customer ends up getting the wrong material anyway. This again slows down a contractor that may already be too busy.
We own a kitchen and bath company. If you are going to do the work yourself, you will save money....if you act as the GC, that is great as long as you have the time to manage the project. If you are using a guy out of his truck, the job will be less expensive. BUT check their references and insurance. WE run a legitimate business and a showroom. We are not inexpensive but are not high priced. YOU MUST have realistic expectations of what things cost, both in material and labor costs. We pull permits also....all this costs money. We have 30 years in business. Do not expect a full demo of a bathroom to be $11,000 in CT. If someone gives you a price like that RUN, it is too good to be true. You are looking at 18,000 and up. Cheaper does not mean better. If you are buying all the materials at HD or Lowes, good luck. You will redo your space one more time before you move. Spend a little more on a good, experienced contractor now....in the end it will be worth it.

The things that may scare someone away is agreeing on cost and deadline before they could know what they are getting into. The last thing they want is for this job to cost them money. I think a good way to talk about deadline and reimbursement it to tell them your concerns. Be honest, tell them it is costing you time and money having to shower somewhere else. Ask them if it would be possible to be reimbursed if it goes over deadline. If they agree put it in contract. What I think the trick is, is to bring up the topic and let it be their idea or have them agree to an idea rather than coming to them with something seeming like demands. Offer a drink or something, seem friendly and easy to work with. Kindness goes a long way. Their reputation is on the line not yours.


If someone was to come at us with their own additional contract, we would probably decide that we had given them enough of our time and move on. As Nick mentions below, the contractors reputation is the one on the line. They have every reason to do right by you. The crooks of the world generally don't have a reputation to stand on, and as a customer it is your job to research who you are hiring. If you can't find anything about them, they probably aren't who you want to be dealing with. If they ask for money upfront, they probably aren't running a stable outfit. We never take a penny upfront. We collect when the job is fully complete even when we are working on weeks long projects.
There are so many beautiful things to notice about this bathroom that it's hard to know where to start. The concrete sink? The wallpaper? The sconce lighting? The tarnished mirror on the door, reflected in the main mirror? The barely-there ultra-modern faucets? Whatever you notice first, though, you can't but admit that this space is a masterpiece.
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