Why is remodeling so..... ugh?!?

For anyone that has been in the remodeling business, or getting prices for remodeling, you may have noticed remodeling seems to be getting more expensive, taking longer, getting more frustrating, etc. We thought we would take a few moments to talk about why some of this is happening from our perspective.

First, let’s take a look at the trades fields- people that are out there installing tile, hardwood, sheetrock, plumbing, electrical, etc. We have several subcontractors we work with that are all experts in their particular field. We feel we have some of the best there are around to work with. One common theme amongst them: maybe one is under the age of 40. This is physical labor, and people in these fields tend to get out of the physical labor sooner than people with desk jobs. If you figure people can get into these trades right out of high school, that means we have a 22-year gap of people not entering the trades. So as a result, prices have gone up, it’s harder to get someone to show up to your job because they have 20 other jobs they could be doing, etc. Why aren’t young people getting into the trades? Perhaps it’s the way society views their line of work? Perhaps it’s the way young people are being taught- either in school, being encouraged to sit behind a computer all day, or by the way their parents may talk about or treat the guy or gal picking up your garbage, landscaping your yard or installing your toilet. We’ve done this to ourselves.

Second, let’s look at costs. We have a lot of people coming in hoping to keep a bathroom remodel under $5000. Looking at our plumbing costs- this is labor only, no materials, keep in mind, our average plumbing bill for the last year on a bathroom remodel is between $2000 & $2500. A full-blown major overhaul ran as high as $5800. 7 years ago, when we opened our doors, it was around $1000. Of course, we are required to use certified licensed plumbers on our projects, so a do it yourselfer would be able to save a ton of money if they were willing to tackle the plumbing themselves. Another aspect of costs we have to look at is the lovely tariffs we have imposed on products coming from overseas. We wish we could absorb these costs, but if we want to stay in business, that isn’t an option.

Lastly, we’d like to mention unrealistic expectations generally popping up from TV channels like HGTV and the internet. Remodels don’t happen overnight, or even over a weekend. A typical bath remodel can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks depending on how major of a remodel it is. We’ve had them run even longer for complete overhauls. The problem is we like the job to be done right. We can’t get more than one person at a time in a bathroom to work, typically. Also, one part must be complete before another can begin. This can really drag a project out. As a homeowner, it can get frustrating during the drywall repair time, when all that can be done is a sand and another coat of mud that day. Unfortunately, that is how it has to be done to be done correctly. The internet has also made everyone an expert in a field they really don’t have much experience in. Look at all the people mis-diagnosing themselves on webmd! The internet can be full of very dangerous information, so it’s best to talk to a professional in the field before assuming you know how to do their job. If you can’t trust the people working on your project, you probably shouldn’t have hired them in the first place.

The take-away from this? If you are remodeling, be patient. Be kind. Be understanding. The boom in our economy has given subcontractors the option to be very selective of who they will work for. People get into the remodeling business & trades fields to feel accomplished at the end of the day. Walking away from a completed job that looks/ functions better for the client is all we want.

Written by Nichole Williams