News and Commentary

Commentary on pricing

We built Unique Environments on a number of premises, one of them being that we wanted to protect customers from bad contracting experiences by leading with a professional and customer-centric design and build process. We have done that, and it is something we keep in front of us every day. 

Because we are currently working on a Bathroom Renovation and we haven’t gotten to the point where we understand how it is going to price out, an article I saw last night really intriqued me. I won’t mention the site, because if you look at it, you will not be as wise as you were before you hit <send>. 

That website will help you establish how much your construction project should cost based upon the averages reported to the site by the contractors who pay to be on the site. Take a breath and process that sentence. Given that parameter, I learned the average bathroom renovation in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach MSA was $9300 based on a range of $6000 - $23,000. How valuable is this information to you? If you guessed more than Zero, then I truly believe that you lack what it takes to specify and budget your own renovation. There, I said it….But why?

First and foremost, bathrooms tend to be PRODUCT DRIVEN. Because the space for normal bathrooms consists of a bathing area, storage area, toilet, sink, lighting, and window, it is pretty easy to cut and paste (my guess) 2/3 of a bathroom cost. That last 1/3 would be labor and professional so, if 33% of the projection ends up being 80% of the cost, you have one out-of-control project that you might very well blame on a contractor. 

Why did that happen? Generally because potential clients have been convinced through the plethora of Reality TV shows that they are capable of doing things that contractors do a heck of a lot better. One of them is pricing, but there are many more. 

1. Design is something that many claim to do well and few actually perform to the level of that illusion. Design drives everything, and should be done initially and professionally. What one can and should do is have available a range of items and concepts that can be integrated into a vision or design. Now THAT is helpful. 

2. Boundaries are things the client should spend far more time with than they do. For example, you should know what your TARGET investment is and how you came up with that. You should know your MAX investment and not be so coy that you lose the interest of capable providers by thinking you have saved money by being evasive on budget. You should have a strong sense as to what value the investment you propose will bring to the overall value of the property, long and short term. 

Another boundary is Time. If you need your project right now, you will be buying your contractors’ flexibiiity. That will cost their resources and your money to get better timing. Make sense?

Finally, you have products and how their quality and pricing drives projects. Can you do your own procurement? Yes, understanding that you will pay extra for integrating your selections into somebody else’s process. Would you rather be totally responsible for product quality, warranty, and support? Then have at it…

There is more to come, one day, just not to day. 

First Post is a good one


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