How to Choose a General Contractor (Part 2)


Harry Burns, President and Founder of Home Evolutions, recently gave a presentation about how to choose a general contractor for general design and construction work. Last week, this blog summarized the first part of his presentation. Here is the remainder of this important and timely information.

Remember, your home is your biggest investment, so improvements should be considered an extension and continuation of this investment.

According to Burns, 10% of your home’s value is a good base figure for beginning to establish your remodeling budget. “A good number of remodeling projects can be done for the money spent in relocation—and remodeling will add value to your current home as well,” he added.

Burns then provided the following chart which shows the difference between how the traditional remodeling method and the design-build method establishes cost.

Burns then noted the three mandates that all remodelers should practice and note:
  • Balancing goals with budgets requires a process of investigation;
  • Create the most value for clients;
  • Never discount their expectations.

Burns then stated that one of the biggest problems in home remodeling seems to be that, “whoever made the biggest mistake gets the job!” He explained, “Contractors that either don’t understand the scope of the job or those who take shortcuts to underbid competitors, and then use change orders to add-on to the scope of the work originally requested. Ultimately the customer pays extra in the end.”

For the conclusion of his presentation, Burns delineated how Home Evolutions is different:

  • Use of In-House CAD Design—Through a design agreement, Home Evolutions works with the home owner to establish the scope of the project prior to setting the budget. “Various alterations can be made and shown on a computer or large screen TV located in our office, allowing our clients to see a visual picture prior to hammering the first nail. Sometimes during the process, clients become aware that these changes will overprice their house and they choose not to move forward or alter the scope of their remodeling project.”
  • Consulting Services—Prospective homeowners can also use Home Evolutions’ consulting services to determine the extra costs to remodel a potential home purchase.
  • Finding Options—Home Evolutions’ specialists are trained to listen and sketch out different alternatives. “We can easily and quickly see how our clients’ lifestyles would be improved with one feature or another, how it would affect them, their home’s traffic flow, and their connection with the site—we have become very sensitive to what might ‘wow’ a client!”
  • Helping Clients Properly Budget—“Setting up a budget meeting involving everyone from day one is critical to getting a realistic budget established.”
  • In-House Staffing—Many contractors don’t have the capability to have in-house staff, but Home Evolutions proudly does. “This cuts down on customer changes, provides better client satisfaction, and ultimately completes a better product because it’s done to each customer’s specifications the first time.”