Design Build VS General Contractor

Which one is best for the homeowner?

It is no secret that working with a contractor can be excruciatingly stressful and costly because they increase the price once the project starts, make a mess of your house, don't return phone calls, lack communication skills, along with taking weeks if not months longer than what they said they would.

In the United States, 79% of homeowners agree that having lower risks is the primary reason they chose to work with a Design-Build company.

What is the Design-Build Construction Model?

Homeowners have much more power and control over things in the design-build process. Some contractors don’t like it, but we know it is the best business model for the homeowner.

A regular general contractor will spend 30-60 minutes in your home and then base that short amount of time on your remodel proposal.  This is why remodeling companies are notorious for drastically increasing the price on you once the project starts.

With the Design-Build construction model, you pay the company to develop the scope of work for the project, while adhering to your budget, creating the 3D design renderings, along with all of the planning upfront. 

We do an in-home evaluation and provide a proposal before the homeowner decides if they want to do the package.

Essentially, we put everything on paper before swinging hammers. 

You own the entire design, planning and scope of work package. So you can use it with any remodel company you'd like.
If you choose to use Phoenix Home Remodeling for the construction, the retainer is proactively applied to your remodel costs at the time of the initial proposal.

Why Design-Build & How It Helps Homeowners

Something to consider...

When you are looking to spend tens of thousands of dollars, having to commit to a construction contract so soon is risky.

This is industry has the 2nd most consumer complaints in the US, and you are paying a lot of money upfront for nothing tangible at first.

You don’t know exactly what you are buying. With design build, you pay for the feasibility, planning, and designs. 

Then you decide if you want to work with that same company or take the entire ready-to-go package to another contractor.

You own the entire package.  

Lets say a pandemic hits… you can hit pause at end of design package and hold off on the construction.

Remodeling is already so hard as it is regardless of how well the remodel company is organized, caring, and process driven.

When a contractor makes a lot of decisions on the go, numerous issues can arise that could be avoided through feasibility assessments, planning, design renders, and picking all design selections.

Imagine that you don’t have the feasibility assessment along with the designing and planning in the beginning and you are several weeks into construction and the company comes back and tells you - we can’t do what you wanted.

Well that's obviously very disappointing. Or worse, they say yeah we can do it but its going to be another $2k-$20k. 

You can avoid those bad surprises with the design build process.

Benefits of the Design-Build remodel process

The biggest difference between you going through contractor nightmares or having a good experience, depends on if you choose a design-build remodeling company versus a general contractor.

Luckily there are plenty of design-build remodeling companies in Phoenix to choose from.

To see how it benefits you, click an item below:

Minimize Homeowner Risk

It is extremely risky being locked into a construction agreement with a regular remodel contractor without knowing what design items you will go with, how much those design items cost, how much the total remodel will cost, how the remodel will look, and not having it all planned out. 

We plan out everything in advance which allows us you to know what items will be used, what it will look like, how much it will cost, and then you decide if you want to sign the construction agreement.

Accurate & Controlled Budget

A basic general contractor spending 30 minutes at your home and then giving you a correct price in unrealistic and irresponsible on their part.

The Feasibility, Planning, & Design phase ensures everything is planned and helps with having a more controlled budget before getting to the construction phase.

Communication & Transparency

As a design-build firm, you work with an integrated team of design and production staff who all adhere to our renown customer service standards.

Specific design & construction details are being developed throughout the entire process and the focus stays on owner “value”.

The communication benefits of working with a design professional and a construction expert at the same time ensures that potential problems are discovered before the project starts.

This creates transparency a general contractor cannot provide.

Lower Cost

The homeowner saves money by eliminating redesign fees and receiving valuable cost-saving advice during the design, planning, and construction process.

Potential cost savings due to a more practical approach to design since the design-build company is more likely to design with an eye toward construction costs versus a general contractor.

Having your designer, project manager, and contractor in one place saves you money. Rather than paying multiple companies for individual jobs.

Faster Project Completion

Design-build remodel companies get your project done faster since almost everything is planned out in advanced.

One of the reasons is the planning and design phase handles all those decisions that would normally happen after the regular contractor already demoed your space.  So by planning the majority of the remodeling in advance there are fewer changes that can cause project delays.

That means we are in your house for less time - weeks sometimes even months compared to some general contractors.

Detailed Scope of Work and Pricing

At the end of the feasibility, planning, and design phase, we produce a detailed written description of all work to be performed during your project, presented to you in the form of a proposal with a lump sum price.

Attention to every detail during the estimating process ensures that we will deliver your project without numerous “surprises” and unwanted additional change work orders.

The design build method helps to remove ambiguity that may arise in material and construction specifications. Since the designer and contractor are from the same firm, the focus remains on protecting the homeowner's interest.

accountability & continuity

A design build company manages a project from beginning to end; from the initial planning stages to post-construction cleanup.

Because of this, design-build contractors are able to work more efficiently, and the opportunity for things to be lost in translation is greatly reduced.

There are far fewer “places to hide” during the construction process because everyone is on the same page.

The smoother workflow and closer connection creates a more positive and supportive working environment.

single-Source management / Team Work

Single point of responsibility, so there is no finger pointing.

The design-build process eliminates the need for the homeowner to act as a referee between the general contractor and the designer/architect/subcontractors. If something is wrong or missing, there is a team approach already in place ready to resolve the challenge.

Because everyone on your Design-Build team works for the same company, everyone will be on the same page with all the design and construction needs.

This makes a significant difference in the team's ability to work together seamlessly with better understanding of what the homeowner wants to achieve.

Most importantly, you only need to contact one person to understand what's going on at any given moment with your house, rather than calling back and forth between 3 to 8 different companies to find out who has the "ball" right now.

experienced guide with specialized expertise

We have all heard the stories of construction getting out of hand and messy. However, design and construction should not be so stressful or chaotic.

The design-build contractor acts as a trusted advisor to homeowners throughout the construction process, guiding the way to the best possible outcome.

Homeowners can't be expected to understand all the intricacies and challenges with construction and the remodel process.  

The Design Build model is setup to walk the homeowner through all steps and the backbone of the process is the planning phase. This is a big difference in Design Build VS General Contractor.

higher quality

With design-build, singular responsibility drives quality and performance in every stage of the process.

During the design phase, we are highly motivated to generate designs that are accurate & error-free.

This motivation continues throughout the construction process, since we alone are accountable for the quality of the final product.

project management

Have a project coordinator saves you time from managing contractors, subcontractors, designers, architects, structural engineers, inspectors, etc.

If you go that route you have to collect all of their initial paperwork like general liability insurance, license, bond, workers comp, and all the other things you need to evaluate them properly.  Then you to get bids and evaluatee which ones will do a good job.  After that, you have to watch over them to ensure they are completling the construction properly.

Design-Build takes all of that is off of the homeowner so they don't have to be chasing people all day long for several weeks if not months.

The design and construction team and the homeowner work together as a team to create a relationship that would be impossible with each working in isolation.

No disputes between the designer and contractor over design errors or interpretations, or the “right” way to build.

All of the planning, design, demo, construction, clean up, project management, and other items are “under one roof”.


Construction is stressful no matter how good a contractors process is.

If a contractor doesn't have a process or a mediocre one, the homeowner will greatly suffer.

The Design-Build ensures there is a process in place from the first initial phone consultation, until after the project is completed.

This provides a smoother process that homeowners love being a part of.

Would You Prefer Design-Build oR General Contractor?

Here is a quick way to compare the Design-Build Remodel Company versus a General Contractor

Design-Build Company

  • Plan out the layout, design, feasibility, and everything else to then be able to provide a real fix price.
  • Transparency
  • Clear and documented scope of work from many hours of collaboration.
  • Excellent communication back and forth before "swinging hammers".
  • Defined and structured process to ensure a great homeowner experience.
  • Questions asked that improve your remodel project.
  • Quality craftsmanship.
  • Proven, quality products & materials that are chosen with the homeowner and certified in-house designer.
  • Best practices used for remodeling.
  • Certified design expertise.
  • Clean, organized worksite.
  • Your home left better than when we started.
  • Homeowner expectations met due to planning beforehand, homeowner approved design items, design renderings, and everything else before construction phase.


General Contractor

  • Construction contract price developed from 1 meeting usually lasting 30-60 minutes.
  • Can't be transparent when you don't provide the time to walk through all of these items and plan vital items ahead of time.
  • Vague scope of work.
  • Subpar communication and trying to jump right into construction while rushing the homeowner.
  • Most general contractors have little to no process setup. 
  • Very little time allotted for planning and design questions in beginning, causing issues during the remodel project construction phase.
  • No planning design phase so risking chance the general contractor uses mediocre or subpar materials.
  • If not Design Build, they aren't using the best practices for remodeling.
  • Little to no design expertise.
  • Lack of organization causing errors and stress for homeowners.
  • Your home potentially left unfinished, incorrect, and possibly messy.
  • Homeowner expectations often not met.

Ready to talk about your remodeling needs?

Take the next step...

Thoughts on Design-Build

Here is a question to consider...

If we don’t design it, how can we price it? 

If your space isn't designed up front, how could you possibly get a correct price from the remodel?  If that part of the planning isn't done, think of all the issues that will come up as the project starts.

"How much can a 30-60 min visit at your home do to get all of your needs, ensure everything is functionally planned, and priced correctly? "

How Much Does The Design Build Package Cost?

Design-build remodel companies have 3 different ways they charge for the Feasibility, Planning, & Design Package:

   1) The first one is a flat rate of around $2,000 - $6,000 per room being remodeled.

   2) The second one is to charge 7% - 15% of the total project cost.

   3) The third one is to charge an hourly rate usually between $100 - $350/hr.

We charge $2,000 per full room remodeled for the Feasibility, Planning, & Design package.

We can often offer multi-project discounts. Small projects like a 1/2 bathroom or just a shower is considered a 1/2 unit so it’s usually $1,000 for a half unit.

We do not charge this package for projects not needing a design phase such as flooring or painting.

This per-room pricing model allows homeowners to know the exact price while not having any conflict of interest with the other options such as an hourly rate or percentage based retainer.

We do an in-home evaluation and provide a written proposal before the homeowner decides if they want to do the feasibility, planning, & design phase.

The Feasibility, Planning, and Design Retainer is proactively credited towards your remodel costs on the initial proposal when you move forward with Phx Home Remodeling for the construction phase to simplify the math and transparency.

What Do I Get With The Feasibility, Planning, & Design Package?

Design consultations with our Certified Designer

You be able to discuss your design tastes (even if you aren't sure what they are we help you discover them) and our designer will help with all aspects of the design, space planning and layout.

This eliminates any surprises that can normally happen with a remodel.

Expert advice from the design & functionality standpoints

While design is very important, so is the functionality, which is often missed with certain types of designers.

We will help ensure the functionality of the space(s) is well thought out and you love using it.

We help you solve the issues you have with your space.

Design renderings so you know what your remodel will look like

The design renderings will show any changes to the layout or structure of your space(s).

You'll be able to see the actual selection items you have chosen such as cabinets, countertops, backsplash, flooring, lighting, plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, paint and other items in color.

This ensures you get the look exactly as you want it before you start construction.

Get a budget estimation so you know what it will cost and adjust accordingly

One of the biggest complaints consumers make against contractors is having them increase the price after the project starts.  

One of the reasons for this is because the design and scope of work aren't planned out ahead of time. 

This package ensures everything is thought through, designed and prepared for when you are ready to remodel.

Scope of work with details on what needs to be remodeled and what is covered

Another reason contractors have the 2nd most complaints in the US is because items are missed and the contractor has to drastically increase the price on you.

We will provide a detailed scope of work that ensures everything is included and there is no big surprises later on.

This way you also know what construction elements are involved during your remodel.

Design selection items along with allowances for each item

From our years of experience we have noticed picking selection design items can be intimidating for many homeowners.

This eliminates that stress and makes it a fun process for homeowners!

It also ensures your designer helps you pick items that go well together and you know the total price for all design selection items so there are no bad surprises.

Homeowners can actually enjoy the remodel with this process & package.

Ready to talk about your remodeling needs?

Take the next step...

Example of Design Renderings you receive:

(Use the arrows on the side of images to view more)

Everything you need for design and construction

Design Renders, Scope of Work, and Help Choosing Selection items

  • We meet at your home to discuss the layout you want.
  • You provide pictures and photos that inspire you.
  • We'll discuss your options from both a design & functionality standpoint.
  • Measure all affected areas for written documentation of exact size and location of all physical features.
  • Includes design help for all design aspects.
  • Create design renders to your liking.
  • A detailed scope of work so its clear what is happening
  • Help to pick your design selection items to ensure they look good together and are quality items 


  • Design renders specific to your wants & needs. 
  • What is possible for your remodel and what will be required.
  • Detailed scope of work along with all items you'll need.
  • Detailed list of selection items along with amounts.
  • Our designer helps you choose all of your selection items.
interior remodel in ahwatukee arizona
design build bathroom

We do an in-home evaluation and provide a proposal before the homeowner decides if they want to do the package.

You own the entire design, planning and scope of work package.  So you can use it with any remodel company you'd like. 

If you choose to use Phoenix Home Remodeling for the construction, the retainer is proactively applied to your remodel at the creation of the initial proposal.

When you work with us, your remodel project is going to be so well thought out and detailed which will keep us on budget and keep us on schedule.

When a contractor does the demo and tears up your space, it going to be a major inconvenience and we don’t want this project to drag on for 4-18 weeks longer due to not having things planned, all design items chosen, and all materials on site ready to go.

What Your Neighbors Are Saying

"Easy to work with this team. I've worked with many contractors over the years and I must say this is the first time I've ever really been impressed.

They showed up daily on time, worked hard the whole time they were there, listened to what we wanted, did an awesome job, completed on time as promised, fairly priced and cleaned up their job site daily.

Would definitely recommend and will use them again if needed.  Thanks to Jeremy for reaching out to my request, and thanks to Mark and Ben for helping us create our dream shower!!"

Dawn | 2018

"I recently had Phoenix Home Remodeling complete renovations in both my master,  (2) guest bathrooms, kitchen, and entertainment wall in my home. I can’t tell you how happy I am with the results!! 

The process they set in place and communication on a daily basis made the entire project so much easier than expected.

The use of BuilderTrend software helped to keep me on budget and communication between the team and myself seamless. The team of employees were amazing to work with; especially given this was my first time remodeling a home.

The work and amount of care for my home, lifestyle (we lived in the house during the construction), and quality of work was evident from day one until completion. I would highly recommend this company to anyone who is in need of a home project or upgrades.

I am pleased beyond measure with my newly updated home and cannot thank Phoenix Home Remodeling enough for their time, effort, and personalization they put into making this project well worth the investment. Thank you PHR!!"

Julie | 2020

As a commercial contractor my experience with residential contractors has been less than stellar so I am generally jaded towards them. These folks are not like residential contractors.

These guys have a good business model in my opinion and do excellent work!

On time, reasonably priced, and quality installation.

Our first remodel and largest expense outside of the home or auto purchase and they made it as easy as possible for us. If you can wait for this team to do your remodel you will not be sorry.

Colin | 2019

"We recently used Phoenix Home Remodeling to remodel our early 2000’s Kitchen.

The process was very easy and we enjoyed getting to know the team that came to do the work!

We appreciated the straightforward approach to the overall plan, expectations, timing, and cost.

This is a local to Ahwatukee company which was very reassuring that these folks not only work but live in this community with their name on the line.

Communication was seamless and the work was exactly what we wanted!  We will definitely use them again for future work and highly recommend them.

Thanks for a great experience, and fantastic results!"

Maggie | 2021

Schedule Your Phone Consultation

By scheduling the phone consultation, it ensures everyone gets a call back at an exact time that works for both parties.

Our Admin Manager will review your remodel needs, provide advice, answer your questions, and give a price estimate. If it's a good fit at the end of the call, we schedule the in-home evaluation, and then provide a written proposal.