Getting an honest estimate

By Brian Martin (Special Exclusive) 

LOVELAND, OH (August 1, 2022) – Given the fluctuating building material costs, how can you make sure you receive an honest estimate?  

Handyman image provided

Currently, fluctuating is not an accurate adjective; it would be more accurate to say, escalating.

Let’s look at a couple factors:

ESCALATING COSTS  ––  In 2019, a 2x4x8 was around $2.94 and today it is around $6.98.  A 4×8 sheet of lumber called OSB, commonly used for subfloor and other areas was around $8.95 and today is $16.05.  This extends to drywall, tile, cabinetry, and even paint is as much as twice the cost.  The cost of gas per gallon was $2.60 and we all know it is now over $4.00/gal. and often closer to $5.00/gal.

STAFFING  –– We are often asked, “When can you start?”  In 2019, our answer was around 2-3 months which was pretty typical for quality remodeling companies.  Today, it is not unusual to find the best remodeling companies are booked for almost 12 months.  Why?  You can see a great example in restaurants and many retail stores where staffing is much lower than is necessary to provide good quality service.  It is the same in the home remodeling industry.  Additionally, these same stores and restaurants are finding they must pay much higher wages than they typically paid in the past. Again, the remodeling companies are likewise finding they must pay higher wages for entry level positions.

ESTIMATES  –– With the escalating costs for materials, fuel, and staffing, should you even think about a home renovation right now?  Every client and situation is unique. Only you can decide what is right for you.  If you would like to see some home improvements in the next year or two, you may be best served by beginning the process of searching for the right remodeling company now. Remodeling companies should be able to place you on their schedule with a relatively small deposit and begin helping you find the right products to fit your design and budget

Brian Martin, Christian,Son, Husband, Father, Survivor, Business owner, neighbor (Photo Courtesy Brian Martin)

“I always recommend and believe it to be very important for homeowners to do their homework and get comfortable with their contractor prior to signing up.” – Brian Martin, TMC Construction Services 

Seek Really good references –– Way back when, I didn’t seek out references. As time went on, and I was looking for a company to do business with, I read every review I could find. I learned early on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) was a great independent source for reviews for home services you can trust. Why? Because if a consumer files a negative comment about a business, the BBB includes it in their file.

Promises made and kept –– Pay close attention to the promises a potential in-home service provider is making.  I make a conscious effort to take notes so I can review the promises made. If promises aren’t kept, I confront the remodeler to remind them of the promises they’ve made. Get it in writing. Most consumers know written promises are the best promises.

Good communication –– Back in the “old days”, too many in-home service providers didn’t do a good job of communicating. I remember hiring a painting company that didn’t communicate at all. When they left midway through the day, we never knew when they were coming back. This personal experience taught me a great lesson. It had a great influence shaping communication when we launched TMC Construction Services. Then and now, each TMC team member goes out of their way to communicate what’s happening next. If, for example, they’ll be making a lot of noise the next day, they will communicate that to the homeowner so they can plan accordingly.

My message to anyone seeking to hire any company to work in their home is this: Think about and ask lots of questions based on the areas I outlined above. And, as always, if it seems too good to be true then it probably is.

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Brian Martin, his wife and two children have lived in Loveland since 1999.

He is the owner of TMC Construction Services based in Loveland.

Brian is always available by phone or text at 513-383-3600 or email Chat with him any time for conversation, prayers, or just to say hello.