Important New Client Information
We've found homeowners like being kept in the loop, provided proper expectations and understand the remodel process.
Homeowners don't remodel often and can not be expected to know a lot about the process, especially since most remodeling companies don't have a process or a mediocre one at best.
We've put together a lot of important information to answer questions, put your mind at ease, and ensure the remodel process is followed properly.
Please make sure to review all items on this page.
It will be obvious if you haven't gone through the items on this page so please take the time to review all of these items, but don't worry about reviewing all of them in one sitting.
Expectations are important and one of the main items we've found improves homeowners' experiences.
Homeowners like how we are process oriented, take communication seriously and care about our clients.
The below video is one of the most important ones we have created, so please watch to the end:
Due to demand in remodeling, everything is taking a lot longer. We ask that you are patient because things take about twice as long as homeowners often think.
Construction takes time and patience but now everything is taking longer than ever before.
Homeowner Remodel Portal
You'll love this simple software we use called BuilderTrend.
It allows homeowners to see progress photos, pick & approve their selection design items, make or approve a change order, make payments, view to-dos, all messaging in one location and much more.
You can be on vacation, an out of state investor, at work and still see the progress of your remodel and stay up to date with what is happening along with having all communication in one place.
With COVID & social distancing another great benefit of BuilderTrend, is it allows us to do communications online without having to meet each other.
If we have questions for you we can simply draw on a picture to show you instead of having to be right next to each other. You can also draw on a photo or comment on any element inside BuilderTrend.
Desktop Computer Tutorial
Here is the video tutorial for the desktop computer version of BuilderTrend which you can access from any website:
Here is the webpage to log into your BuilderTrend homeowner portal, preferably from a desktop.
Mobile App Tutorial
Here is the video tutorial for the mobile smartphone version of BuilderTrend which you can access from any website:
You can download the mobile app from Google or Apple below:
If you have any questions on BuilderTrend, feel free to email us or ask at the initial walkthrough meeting.
Choosing Selection Items & Lead Times
Your selection items are things you pick out like plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, tile, countertops, etc.
Your designer will help you find your items. Some homeowners like to look on their own, so we create a list of places to check out. If you find something somewhere without the designer, please make sure to add it to the selection items area in your BuilderTrend portal or send the designer a BT message with the information so they can add it in.
You pick out the items and we will pay for them and pick them up. We want to make this as easy on you as possible.
We ask that you pick out all of your selection items before we start the project. It may sounds strict but it ensures your remodel is finished faster. (Imagine having your house demoed and then an important items is taking longer than it is supposed to and that means your house is demoed way before it will be ready to be reconstructed)
We are more serious about who you get your plumbing fixtures from. Because of the risk of leaks, we ask that you stick to the proven brands like Kohler, Moen, or Delta.
Timelines & Shipping
The most efficient process is to have all items picked out and then we purchase them all at the same time.
One of the reasons is one item someone picks can have an impact on wanting to change other items that they had already chosen. So, it’s good to make sure all items are picked out first and then we order once you approve them for us to purchase.
The one challenge with that is clearance items might be gone by then or a different price. Clearance items can also be on clearance for a reason, such as not having good reviews or other issues that caused the retailer or manufacturer to discontinue or put on clearance.
To be clear, if you want to change things before we purchase, we are happy to help because we want you to be happy with your space when completed.
One factor to consider is if you end up changing several items that you already picked out, it can impact the timeline for the project to be started and the availability of the items
We just want to set proper expectations so that you aren’t disappointed if the availability or the price changes.
Another reason it is good to order everything at once, is you get a discount on freight shipping. They also often have a minimum requirement for freight shipping which is needed when ordering heavy items. Ordering all at once also saves time and ensures you are sure the items you picked are right.
As an example, imagine you pick your bathtub right away and it takes 2 weeks to pick the other items like countertop faucets. In the 2 weeks that goes by, that bathtub could be more/less money and it might not be available.
Due to remodeling being in such high demand along with some other political/and current events going on, it can create logistic challenges that extend the time that bathtub is ready for several weeks.
We will provide you with a list of preferred vendors. Working with these companies has helped us with getting the best quality products, at the best pricing and if issues do arise, that they work with us to resolve. Unfortunately, there are a lot of vendors out there that are not repeatable and we prefer to not to have a relationship with. They can have hidden fees or show availability of products that they don’t have and can cause delays/headaches.
There is no fault here and it is out of everyone’s control, but important to know up front. We are all about providing the best expectations and information to help you through this remodel process.
Letting Us Know Which Selection Items You Have Chosen
Your designer will help you find your items and can add them into BuilderTrend. If you would like to add one you find, feel free to message your designer or add it to the "Selections" area inside of your BuilderTrend homeowner portal. (There's a tutorial video below)
It is important to provide us the proper information we need to know which items you choose and have it inside of BuilderTrend.
Here are the 3 acceptable formats of info we need to know:
1. The website link of the item that clearly provides the:
• Name of the item
• Color of that model because they are usually offered in several different colors.
2. A CLEAR picture of the item that shows:
• The SKU # or Product #
• Name of the item
• Color of that model because they are usually offered in several different colors.
3. Typing the information into BuilderTrend that has
• The SKU # or Product #
• Exact name of the item (For example, NOT just writing “Kohler faucet from Lowes”)
• Color of that model because they are usually offered in several different colors.
How to add your selection items into BuilderTrend:
On A Desktop Computer
1. Once you are logged in, click “Selections” that’s located at the top
2. Click the selection item you want to provide information about
3. In the popup window click the name of the selection item
4. Scroll to the bottom and click “Edit Choice”
5. Type in the product information mentioned in the section at the top of this page with the name, color, price and other pertinent info.
6. If you have the URL, paste it in where it says “Product link”
7. If you have a picture, click the “Add” button next to the word Attachments & add your photo.
8. Click save. Then close the popup window.
On BuilderTrend's Mobile App
1. Open up the BuilderTrend Mobile App
2. Click Selections
3. Click the selection item you want to
provide information about
4. Scroll to the bottom until you see the
section called “Choices” and click the item
5. Type in the product information mentioned
in the section at the top of this page with the name, color, price and other pertinent info.
6. If you have the URL, paste it in where it says “Product link”
7. If you have a picture, click the “Add Attachment” button & add your photo.
8. Click save located at the top right.
As you can imagine, returns usually slow down your remodel and can hinder many aspects of your remodel project.
That is why BuilderTrends selection's area is a great way to add items you like and then once you make the final decision you simply click the approve button to let us know it is okay to order.
Returns increase the amount of time we have to work on your project. Many homeowners don't realize it is often an hour or two just to coordinate the returns when it is special order, heavy items, freight or when from certain manufacturers.
Not only does it cost more time for everyone, it can also extend your remodel project timeline.
For example if you pick a bathtub and then change your mind once it is hear, it extends the amount of time in these ways:
- 1You have to take time to research bathtubs again and find another one. This can take 1-14 days on average
- 2Then we have to order the bathtub, which might be a special order.
- 3We have to wait for the bathtub to come in, which could be 1-30 days.
- 4Any other tradesman or remodel work we had already lined up has to be contacted and rescheduled to a later date that might not be known until the bathtub actually arrives.
- 5We have to inspect the bathtub to make sure it is in good condition and then coordinate everything around that.
So returning one item like this could increase your project timeframe by 3 - 45 days. That hinders your remodel, your experience and it costs us money & time.
Now, if we do a return because something is wrong with it, that is out of everyone's control and there's little any of us can do about that.
For returns that homeowners don't like, where nothing is wrong with it, we have to charge a $100 fee for returns plus any shipping costs.
This applies to items that are heavy, special order, freight and a few specific manufacturers.
We like to bring this up now because it helps homeowners understand the work involved, helps them ensure they took the time to pick out what they like and they are confident when clicking the approve button in BuilderTrend for us to purchase all selection items.
Making Changes Once We Start
As you can imagine, making a change to the project once we have everything lined up usually slows down your remodel and can hinder many aspects of your remodel project.
We want you to be happy and make a change if it is important to you. Some changes don't have an impact, while others do.
It's important to know that changes can dramatically increase the time it takes to finish your project. If we have everything lined up and a change is made, that can have a "domino" effect on the other parts of your project.
For example, cabinets can take 4-10 weeks to come in and if you make a change to the cabinet layout, it can extend that project by weeks or even months depending on what is changed and depending on the manufacturer.
Some contractors don't allow any changes once things have been ordered, but we don't want to restrict a homeowner from getting their dream space.
We think it's important to provide proper expectations and understand if you make a change it can cost more money and increase your remodel project timeline.
Since homeowners don't remodel often and don't see behind the scenes, they can't be expected to understand how much a change can impact the scheduling and cost of the project. That is why we want to let you know so if you do want to make a change you at least know the impact.
Anyone that has lived in Phoenix for a few years, knows we have bad hard water.
Even with a water softener and a secondary water filter (I have two filters on my home and still struggle with this), hard water ends up destroying plumbing fixtures over time.
One of the challenges is it often creates small leaks that go undetected at first. When this happens calcium, rust, and other scale builds up and can cause mold and/or damage to surrounding materials.
One of the best parts of remodeling that people don’t usually consider is when we remove the shower walls, floors and other parts of the remodel, we see what is going on behind the scenes and we can fix it so it doesn’t hurt your house anymore.
Often times, when we remove the old shower there is water damage and sometimes we have to fix the wood framing or any wood that is damaged along with mold issues.
Another plumbing factor to consider is toilet flanges and shut off valves. These aren’t a ton of money to fix, but it’s good to know these can go wrong and you often don’t know until you remove or demo items that are hiding the issue(s).
As mentioned earlier, It doesn't always happen, so we don't want to charge you if you don't need it. So we diagnose and then show you if anything needs to be done.
Electrical can get very complicated because there are so many variables.
For example, kitchen appliances may have a different amperage and we don't know until you pick or start to choose appliances. Your old oven might not be pulling as many amps as the new appliance you are ordering which might mean we need a different breaker, new wiring or something else.
Another example is sometimes your existing electrical wiring may not be “thick enough” for the new appliance or electrical item. Essentially certain appliances require a lower gauge wire (thicker wire) depending on the current and distance from the electrical panel.
Too-small of wiring can get hot. As mentioned here:
“If you have an outlet in your home wired with 15 amp wire, and you plug in a 20-amp appliance, you’re asking your wiring to deliver more current than its capacity rating. Your circuit breaker should trip and stop the flow of electricity through the circuit. The breaker disrupts the electrical flow to protect the affected wire.
When you overload a wire by plugging in an appliance that needs more current than the wire’s rating, the wiring gets very hot. Overheated wires can melt their protective insulation. If exposed wiring is located near flammable materials, the wires are an extreme fire hazard. Attic insulation and other flammable materials behind walls can ignite from the high heat of exposed electrical wires. If your circuit breaker doesn’t work properly, you could cause a house fire by overloading your home’s wiring.”
That article link above also mentions the benefit of larger wires and how they don’t lose as much watts of energy, so a thicker wire will save on your energy bill.
Another factor in electrical is how and where the new potential electrical lines need to be wired. For instance, can someone access the attic and wire through there or do we have to do it on the outside of your home? These factors change the amount of time, difficulty and cost.
Another example is we can't see where junction boxes are located or what the wiring looks like until the drywall or wall is removed or until we go through your attic. These all depend on the situation and houses are all wired different depending on the city, age of home and what the builder decided to do. Builders often took the shortcuts and electrical codes 15+ years ago weren’t nearly as strict as they are now.
Another example of an unknown variable is shotty work by a previous owner or handyman or unlicensed electrician. Depending on what was done, or how hard it is to access, it can take several hours just to diagnose it from our licensed and experienced electrician. That doesn’t include fixing it or remodeling the electrical, those hours are just to diagnose the situation by a licensed and experienced electrician.
We aren’t saying these things are going to happen to your house, especially if we aren’t changing electrical, but it is important to understand the potential situations in advance so it isn’t a bad surprise if your house has any of these challenges.
Understandably, no one knows what the flooring underneath will look like until we remove the current flooring.
Sometimes there is a second layer of flooring that someone incorrectly put on top of the old flooring and you don't know until it is ripped out. That adds more time and labor to the remodel which increases the cost. That isn’t your fault or ours, no one knows these things until the current flooring is removed.
When we remove the current flooring a few other challenges that can arise are squeaky sub-floors, foundation issues, and termite damage. We don’t find these issues in all houses, but you can’t know for sure until after.
Of course, we don’t want to assume all of these things will happen beforehand and charge you for them beforehand because that would be wrong.
If we do find any of the issues or challenges mentioned on this page, we ensure that it is communicated right away and explained what is wrong and what solutions are available.
Cabinets are the most time consuming aspect of a remodel with the longest lead times.
Here are some items many homeowners are not aware of:
- If you see any mention anywhere online or otherwise about cabinet timelines, they are using business days and NOT regular calendar days. So if something says 15 business days, that is not 2 weeks, it is 3 weeks. If it says 30 days that isn’t a month it is 6 weeks.
- Non-custom cabinets typically have a lead time of 6-8 weeks. Custom cabinets often have a lead time of 7-12 weeks.
- Existing cabinetry may need to be removed 1 to 14 days before new cabinets are installed. Are you prepared to be without cabinetry for that time frame?
- Delays: Typically delays come from the manufacturer (manufacturing issues, shipping delays, damaged goods in transit...etc.) A delay can be as little as 1 day to as long as 6 weeks. We make every effort to remedy delays as soon as possible.
- Be advised: Humans are involved in the ordering, delivery, and installation of your cabinets. Humans make mistakes, forget things, and are sometimes untimely. We make every effort to complete your project correctly, completely, and in a timely manner. We want to see the project completed just as much as you do. Please be patient.
- New cabinets typically take 1-5 days to install. Delays can and will happen. Causes are possible from missing or damaged cabinets/parts, installation needing to be delayed due to sickness/ weather/traffic, or other project delays which push timelines.
- During installation damages may occur to cabinetry (scratches, dents, scuffs...etc.). In the event the damage is beyond “touch-up” a new part can be ordered. This can take as little as 1 day to as long as 6 weeks. We make every effort to attain parts so the project can be completed as soon as possible.
- Anticipate a “punch list” day. This is after installation is complete you may notice an item needing to be adjusted, touched up, or replaced. Most issues can be fixed within a few days but if a warranty or replacement item needs to be ordered it could take as little as 1 day to as long as 6 weeks. We make every effort to get the parts as soon as possible.
Cabinet Refinishing / Refacing
Cabinet refinishing is a great way to save money compared to new cabinets.
The one thing to know about it is there will be a very strong smell that permeates through the house. It doesn't matter if we put up out plastic walls, the smells still gets through.
Even with our top-of-the-line air filters called Build Cleans, the fumes are still present and will linger for 24-72 hours.
With your permission, we can open the windows which really helps, but it usually isn't ideal to do in the hot summer months.
We like to let you know this in advance in case you want to make any plans, such as staying somewhere else, or moving to another section of the home.
We wish this wasn't the case (we have to breath it in since working on the project), but unfortunately it doesn't matter what product is used.
Luckily it is temporary and after a few days the fumes are gone.
What's In Writing Is Important
As you probably noticed in the proposal email to you, we always mention to please double check all items are included that you want done to your remodel and not to assume something is included that isn't in writing.
We also ensure everything we are covering is in the agreement.
If you would like to make changes to the project, it is usually easy to do and we are happy to make those changes for you. Changes that involve more work will normally cost more money.
As a project starts it can become easy for a homeowner to ask us to add things but forget that it costs more. We have found that occasionally homeowners will ask for something extra and think it's not a big deal and they may not need to pay for it.
It is important that we stay a profitable business for many reasons including, being around years later to honor our warranties, ensure we can continue helping Phoenix homeowners with a great remodel experience and much more.
Even small items can cost us time and money. Some examples of items that are small but still cost us money and time are:
It's important to understand that we are not trying to "nickel and dime" homeowners, but new items usually cost more money and time. You also can ask us to do something, we provide the amount and you can easily say no thanks.
Another way to think of this... You would not ask a lawyer or a surgeon for hours of free work, right? You also wouldn't ask them to provide products for free. It goes the same for us.
This isn't to be negative, but simply to show that things take more time & money than some homeowners realize.
Another example to relate to:
If you have ever done a small project and it takes 3 times longer than you thought and you had to make several runs to the local hardware store. We don't expect homeowners to know how long something takes, but that doesn't mean we should be asked to do other items for free.
So if it is not in writing it is not included. We have to go off the scope of work and agreement that is in writing. This makes it very clear so there is not a gray area.
Communicating With Our Trade Partners / Subcontractors
We have some amazing trade partners that are licensed, bonded and insured.
It is fantastic working with people that specialize in only 1 or 2 trades because they are really good at that specific skill.
The one thing to know, is it is important not to communicate changes with them without us involved. The reason is because if you make a change to the project, it can increase the price and also increase the amount of time it takes but you won't know that if we are not involved.
That causes a bad experience for you the homeowner, where you made a change without knowing it would cost more and increase your project timeline and then we have to let you know those changes cost more and will extend your project.
An easy example to use is shower walls. When discussing the layout with your installer, they might recommend adding/removing items that were in the original scope. They aren’t trying to upsell or down-sell, but trying to provide helpful feedback based on the look or layout. They aren’t in charge of managing the budget but we just want to make sure to catch it and discuss price to reduce the chance of any surprises.
We order a little extra tile because of cuts we need to make and tiles can crack sometimes. That being said, if you increase the height, we may not have enough tile and it could take another week or two to get your tile if it is not in stock.
There are so many tile options, that most retail places cannot keep everything in stock. Retailers change their stock all of the time too.
If you want to increase the height of the shower, we are happy to do that, but we need to know any changes no matter how small they seem so that we can communicate any impact it might have.
If you want to make a change, just run it by us and we can let you know if it has any impact. Sometimes it does not, but it is worth bringing this up here to ensure you get the best experience possible.
Accessing The House
It is vital that we can access the house being remodeled during normal business hours.
We cannot depend on a homeowner coming home from work or somewhere else, every time we need to get work done at the home.
This is not logistically possible and it hinders the progress of the project, increases the costs we incur and it usually extends out several other parts of your remodel project.
It's also not a good experience for the homeowner to have to run back and forth or always be there watching. I can't tell you how many times we have had a homeowner comment on something before it is finished because they don't know about remodeling, they stress out but everything turns out great. We don't want you to unnecessarily get stressed - that's why you hired a full service remodeling company.
If you are worried about something valuable being stolen, please move it somewhere safe. We hope you trust us, but if not no worries, simply put the valuable item somewhere else.
If you are worried about us doing a good job from a quality standpoint, that's the reason you chose us and not "Chuck in a truck". The Project Manager, our employees, and trade partners ensure high quality work and we stand behind it so if something needed to be changed, we can address it.
We normally access the home with a lock box like the ones Realtors use. Another way is with a garage code or door code that is changed as soon as we are finished with the remodel project. This ensures we can get your project done on time. If you hinder the project, you can't expect us to meet our deadlines.
It is a much better experience for the homeowner to allow our Project Manager to take care of all of the coordinating so you don't have to be running home all the time to meet us. The Project Manager ensure the remodel gets done on time and you have a good experience.
We have out of state investors who are rarely in the home and they see all of the progress from BuilderTrend with daily logs, progress photos and videos. It's just another way to ensure our homeowners are kept in the loop.
If you are still worried about this aspect, we can give you plenty of referrals of past clients who have had us in their home for weeks if not months depending on the project and everything went great.
To Help Put Your Mind At Ease
We Look Forward To Working With You!
That may have been a lot of information you just went through.
Depending on your mindset, you may have seen that as really helpful or intimidating... or maybe both.
We don't want you to worry about your remodel because everything is going to go well. Even if an uncontrollable issue were to happen, we are great at communicating, explaining and fixing it.
This may have seemed like a lot of information but it is important and best to provide now unlike many contractors that don't say anything and then everything "blows up".
Not providing this information would create more headaches and stress for you.
So we try to eliminate anything that could reduce your experience with us.
If you have any questions feel free to write them down for our initial walk-through meeting.
We look forward to working together with you to create your dream space!