Why It’s Better than Selecting One the Way You Pick a Car Dealership
Many homeowners, including homeowners who are well-educated and financially comfortable, select contractors and builders much the way they select the dealer from whom they buy a car. But it is generally the worst way to make the selection.
If you buy a specific make and model car that contains a certain set of features, cars from different dealers will be identical no matter what price you pay. So, deciding to buy the car from the dealer with the lowest price is a rational way of selecting from whom you buy.
Purchasing a home remodeling project or custom home is totally different. You are not buying a product that will be the same no matter the price. Each contractor or builder will deliver a different quality project and a different level of service. Each will have staff members of differing experience and levels of skill. Each company will estimate and manage projects differently. You never get the same result from two different builders or remodelers EVEN if you pay the same price. And much less so if you select a company with a proposal that comes in at a dramatically lower cost estimate.
In some respects, selecting a remodeler or builder based on the lowest price is just as unrealistic as expecting to get the same fine dining experience from three different restaurants. Each may serve the same “meal.” But at one restaurant the meal costs $50 per person, another charges $150 per person and the third charges $175 per person.
The meals from each may have the same number of courses. The dishes for each course may have the same name. All three meals may come with an appetizer, salad, entrée, and dessert.
But no one would expect to get the same level of service, food quality, and dining experience for $50 as they would for $175. It is not realistic. The food and experience may be similar when comparing the two meals priced at $150 and $175 per person, but the $50 meal will not be close at all.
When you think of what you expect from a restaurant meal, you can see that the “restaurant selection approach” of relating price to experience is a much more realistic way to think of how to select a remodeler or builder.
But selecting the wrong remodeler or builder is much more consequential and long-lasting than getting poor service and a mediocre meal. A custom home or remodel is a much bigger investment. You will need to live with the result of your selection longer, probably for years. What your home will cost to maintain – as well as the resale value — can be impacted by whom you select. You will also have to work with the company you select for a much longer time than the few hours it takes to eat a meal. In fact, their workers could be in your home daily for several months.
It’s important to remember that when you sign a contract for remodeling or building a home, what you’re signing up for is much more than a product, like a car. It is closer to dining at fine restaurant: an experience that you’re likely to remember for a long time.