Although you may not realize it, even the smallest repair job around your house requires a brief or informal design process in order to determine the best approach. A more formal design becomes essential with larger renovation projects, full remodeling jobs or building additions to the house. The design process is usually formalized by the contractor, but it begins when you first realize the need for the work to be done and start considering what you hope to achieve when it is finished.
Why You Want Three Bids
In this day and age, most people understand for getting three bids from different contractors before starting a project. Although part of the reason is to assure you're getting a fair price, it's also part of the design process so you can incorporate ideas each contractor has into the final project design. Contractors recommended by a friend or neighbor are a good place to start, but remember that because they did a great job for someone else doesn't mean they're going to be the best fit for your project. You can also check with contractors who have been in business a long time and established themselves as reputable in the community.
Understanding Material Prices
The three contractors are each going to give you an estimate to start so you can have an idea of what the project is going to entail in cost and time, then after you express an interest in one they will get a more precise design and exact price for the contract before starting the work. Although some people just want to know what the overall project is going to cost, contractors will give you a breakdown of labor and material costs. This is an opportunity for you to discuss whether you want to use nicer or less expensive materials. It's not always an option if the contractor only uses a particular material based on previous successful projects, but it never hurts to ask what may be available.
The Design Process
Ultimately, your going to have to trust your intuition when discussing the design process with the contractor you plan to hire. Every contractor is going to be friendly and professional, and the one you hire should seem like somebody you can get along with during the course of the project. The building contractor should listen and address any concerns you have and thoroughly answer any questions you ask while explaining their plans for your project and while conducting the work.