You know what they say, renovation is a big hassle. Your house renovation almost always gets delayed, and your budget almost always bursts. Contractors are difficult to work with. They take advantage. And many more. Whilst these things aren’t always true, there are a few things that you could do to protect yourself – and help you get the dream home you want.
1. Ask for Itemised Bills
It’s always easy to settle for single lump sum bills or notes for your renovation project. When the overall figure fits within your budget, it’s easy to get carried away and ignore the individual costs of each item making up the bill. Don’t.
Ask for an itemised bill or a breakdown – this sets out the work that your contractor will carry out together with its corresponding unit prices. This helps a lot in understanding what you’re paying for, and also what you shouldn’t be paying for. For example, if you didn’t have the prices broken down, you wouldn’t have a way of knowing how much less you should be paying if you decided not to proceed with the flooring works in your bedroom.
Itemised bills are also very useful in helping you compare prices between different contractors.
2. Is it an estimate or a fixed price?
For the sake of flexibility, many renovation, landscaping, electrical and other contractors like giving rough estimates of their prices, with a promise to remeasure the actual quantities of work done on completion. This isn’t a bad thing, and is often a good way to keep things fair for both parties – you pay for whatever work the contractor does, upon measurement.
The alternative to this is to go for a ‘fixed lump sum’ contract. With this, you pay a single lump sum for all works that fall within a certain description. Going this way can be useful to promote certainty, but there are risks. Sometimes, you just can’t foresee the full extent of work that needs to be done, so you end up paying more for work that goes beyond the lump sum.
In short, try your best to come up with a clear understanding of what work is involved to reduce additions or reductions mid-way. As a rule of thumb, the clearer it is at the outset, the better.
3. Sign & seal. Then deliver.
You may not be a lawyer. But that’s no excuse for not putting the important stuff down on paper – especially if you don’t want to end up having to see a lawyer because of your home renovation project. You can leave the legal jargon out. But put the essential details in writing – scope of work, price, time for completion, warranties, insurances and permits to name a few.
4. How long have you been in business?
Getting to know your contractor helps a great deal. Although the number of years in business is not conclusive, an established contractor is likely to have a network of subcontractors and suppliers to support him for work and supplies to meet your deadlines. This also means he has a reputation to uphold, and is generally a safer bet. Ask for a business card, business details and references if necessary.
Keep the communication lines with your renovation contractor open. Most of the time, it’s just a matter of approach and they’re often very willing to address any concerns you may have. Construction and renovation is a tough business in Malaysia, and the small gestures often make a big difference. Communication is key and goes a long way.
That’s where Gawin strives to provide value. It isn’t just about prices. It’s about quality, convenience, more choices, better decisions and an avenue for both parties to communicate quickly and easily. Visit Gawin and see the difference it can make for yourself today.