Does it shock you that Brooklyn renovations contractors can completely guarantee a speedy and efficient gut remodel or does it sound like more just empty promises? I understand, I’m a consumer too just like you and I have to deal with companies over-promising and under-delivering also. Well, I believe there is a better way to do things and I run Picasso Expert Renovations differently.
We train everyone in our company to be dedicated to total customer satisfaction and as a result our employees display an exceptional level of pride in their work and will respect you and your home during your renovation.
Do you feel that businesses today are programming consumers to accept compromise as a fact of life? You wouldn’t be alone if you felt that way.Maybe you re starting to realize how many times in the day you are asked to compromise?
Most licensed contractors are competent, honest, hardworking and financially responsible. However, home improvement is a top source of consumer complaints nationwide. By avoiding these mistakes you will greatly reduce the chances of having a bad remodeling experience. Pay attention to the following points when searching for your Brooklyn renovations contractors.
According to Consumer Reports, the biggest mistake consumers make is “being seduced by price alone.” Would you hire the cheapest surgeon in town to operate on a member of your family? There is a saying, “Some of the most expensive work you will ever pay for is cheap work.”
Consider that your home is your biggest investment, and you should always think long-term when it comes to doing remodeling and also consider the effects saving a few dollars now will have over 3, 5 or 10 years of living there. “Some contractors use low quotes to win the job, then jack up the price later”, says New York Assistant Attorney General Nick Garin.
Your most important tool in evaluating the cost of a project is the value of what you are getting for your money.
Insist on a written contract. The contract should be dated and include your name and address, as well as the contractor’s name, address, phone number. It should also contain a detailed description of the project, (the scope of work) including plans, materials, sometimes model numbers, quantities, colors, and the approximate starting and completion dates. You also should outline how changes in work orders will be handled and the notice required for cancellation.
Finally, specify a payment schedule. The contract should allow you to schedule your payments at different stages tied to completions of specific aspects of the project. Have a final payment due upon completion and your satisfaction.
Avoid Brooklyn renovations contractors that require large down payments. A small deposit to schedule the work is fine, 10% is standard. If a company needs a large down payment this can be a warning sign that all is not right.
Stable companies don’t need their customers down payments to pay for materials or worse to pay for company overhead. Other warning signs, being asked to write a check to the contractor personally instead of to the company, or being asked to pay cash.
This is one of the most forgotten questions for customers. You wouldn’t buy a new car without a warranty would you? Ask about the warranty and ask if it is in writing. Never accept a verbal warranty of “If something breaks, don’t worry, I’ll fix it.” a verbal warranty will be worth the paper it is written on.
Always insist on a warranty in writing. The warranty should clearly spell out what is covered and what is not and how long the warranty is good for. A one year warranty is the minimum you should expect, two years is better.
Good Brooklyn renovations contractors will be happy to provide you with dozens of written references. When speaking to contractor’s customers, ask such questions as:
Did the contractor keep the schedule and contract terms?
Were you pleased with the work and the way it was done?
Did the contractor listen to you if you had a problem, and did he seem concerned about resolving it?
Did the contractor willingly make any necessary corrections?
Would you hire him again?
Would you recommend him to others?
Sounds silly doesn’t it, but not really. If you don’t know what you want, you might not like what you get. Also, if you change your mind and change the job halfway through, the contract
price will change also (Hint: it won’t get cheaper).
Know as clearly what you want done as possible. You don’t have to know the details of each and every facet of what you want done but you do need to have a good idea of the broad things you want. Changes midway will keep increasing the price, especially if completed sections of the project have to be redone.
Anyone who works on your house should provide you with a lien waiver that waives their claim to future payments for the project. For example, a general contractor will provide waivers for all the workers and for the businesses that supplied labor for the job. You don’t want to pay the final remodeling bill, yet leave yourself liable for payments to a subcontractor or a lumber yard.
I can’t stress how important this information can be to you, ask questions such as how do they perform their work, what time do they start, how will you protect my carpets, how will the trash and debris be handled, do you work straight through a project?
The answers to these questions will give you a clear picture of what type of contractor you are dealing with.
The time for a contractor to experiment or get on the job training is not on your project! For example, the more experience a contractor has with the work involved in your project the smoother, less delays and possibly cheaper you can expect your project to be executed.
Ask the contractor how many times he has completed gut renovations such as yours. What issues does he believe he may run into during your project? What procedures does he have in place to eliminate problems that might surface during the completion of your project?
Every journey has a starting point, and this is where ours will begin with you. You can show us the spaces to be remodeled and describe to us what you have in mind. We will bring along some examples of the work we have completed for other clients. We will go over references, licenses and insurance and get to know each other a bit.
During the initial meeting we will be asking a lot of questions and we also will be doing a lot of listening. Suggestions, options and alternatives based on listening to your unique project goals and challenges will be given. These suggestions will be based upon your budget considerations and your key objectives. And then we will work out your best solution so that your return on investment will be maximized.
Depending on the complexity of the project we may need to schedule a follow-up meeting after we research the project. This will allow us to gather material costs and all the information required to complete an accurate budget. However, on smaller and less complex projects we are able to present you with a solution and budget at the same time as the initial meeting.
A complete solution will be presented for your approval in the form of what is called the “Scope Of Work”. This document lists in writing exactly what will be done, what products and what materials will be used and the associated costs. The document will explain what we will supply and be responsible for and in some cases what you might supply and be responsible for.
As your Brooklyn renovations contractor we try to be as detailed as you like so there is no confusion and you are completely comfortable knowing there are no surprises. A budget, a timeline for completion of your project and a tentative starting date will all be discussed during this time.
Once we have an acceptable solution and budget established an agreement can be signed and a deposit can be collected. You will be provided with the tools needed to make your selections of materials and /or products going into your project. This may include product tear sheets, website addresses and names and addresses of showrooms to visit.
Before we start your project we will organize and gather all products, materials and permits that will be required. Our objective is to have absolutely everything in order before construction begins. This way everything will proceed smoothly and without delays.
We don’t mind taking a little extra time to ensure we get it right the first time. That’s why we spend so much time pre-planning your project, making sure everything is in place before we begin. That’s why we have a reputation for smooth running projects that are on time and on budget.
We begin your project! For example, demolition takes place, out with the old and in with the new. Your space begins to transform from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan. We have high standards, and believe in aiming high and always trying to exceed your expectations.
Each day begins on time and you won’t find us jumping back and forth every few days between your job and someone else’s . Once we start your project we want to be there until it is done.
Not only will you see real progress, but this helps to minimize the time you have to live on a construction site.
I’m on your job everyday so when you have questions it’s easy for us to communicate.
We finish your project! Everything has been installed and checked to make sure it is working properly. We do a final cleaning of the area and leave your space ready to use. Now is the time you do your final walk-through and inspection. When you are completely satisfied your project is complete.
This is your final meeting with your Brooklyn remodeling contractor. The only thing left to do is to thank you for using our services and fill out your warranty and collect your final payment.
Ask your contractor how he would like to communicate with you, on a day by day basis, to exchange ideas and information. It’s a good idea to have a set time of day to meet with your Project Manager. These informal daily chats allow you to be briefed on the day’s schedule as well as giving you the chance to bring up any recent concerns or questions.
With Picasso you will have George’s personal cell phone number so that you can call or text him at any time. George is perfectly OK with this!
However, nothing really beats the old fashioned, “walk the job” approach that George likes to take with his clients. This allows you and the project manager to stay up to date and on-the-same-page.
When you “walk the job” you can take photos of possible problem areas and talk about solutions. George encourages his clients to keep a log or a journal where they can record the job’s progress as well as any questions they may have.
Best times for walking the job with your contractor are :
1.Early in the morning before work starts.
2.At noon when workers are taking lunch.
3.At the end of the day.
Your project Logbook/Journal should be your best buddy as it will provide you a day-by-day account of what’s happening at your property. This simple journal will be your record of who said what and when they said it.
Any questions you may have for your contractor should be written in the journal, along with the contractor’s answers, suggestions and solutions.
Here are some suggestions for what to include in your Logbook:
PROJECT’S STARTING DAY…Not to be confused with the dates permits were applied for or ok’d, or when your first payment check was dated. The starting day is when workers first show up on your job site and “go to work”.
PROJECT’S MAIN MILEPOSTS…Write down when primary mileposts are completed. This can include work such as “completed gutting demolition of bathroom” or “finished drywall of dinning room”.
CITY/COUNTY INSPECTION DAYS…I suggest writing down the inspectors name and if
the inspection doesn’t pass then recording the reason why.
WHEN YOU NEED ORDERS CHANGED…If you and your contractor decide to make a“change order” then this needs to be in writing. Once the change has been approved and signed by you and your contractor then this work can begin.
You will want place a copy of the change order in your logbook. And it doesn’t hurt to send a text or email to your contractor to confirm and back up discussions you and the contractor may have had regarding the change order.
WEEKLY PROGRESS REPORT…I often suggest to my renovation clients that they put together a simple weekly progress report. This can include a few up-to-date photos and comments like “drywall complete”,“demolition done” or whatever stage of the project you want to document.
You can compare what is actually happening to the schedule in your contract. If your progress report shows a possible problem then contact your contractor right away.
WHEN TALKING WITH BROOKLYN RENOVATIONS CONTRACTORS…Misunderstandings are a common problem with renovations. That’s why it’s always good to document, to some degree, your daily and weekly contractor conversations.
Most contractors aren’t out to take advantage of you, but rather because they have a lot on their minds they might not have a perfect understanding of the changes you would like to make.
That’s why it’s good to send your contractor an email to confirm that you are on the same page, whenever there are any doubts in your mind.
A well kept Logbook, along with dates and photos, can quite often settle disputes before they get out of hand.
1. Setting Limits on the construction crew
George, like many good contractors, likes to know in advance where the no-go zones in your home are. This is information he would want to pass on to all of his crew before they even start the job.
For example kitchens and dining rooms are usually off limits for George’s crew—unless they are working on those particular rooms.
If the project is huge (like adding new addition) then many contractors will order a portable out-side toilet. However, for most remodeling projects this won’t be the case.
If you have a guest bathroom that the workers could use then we suggest removing your good towels and wash cloths and replace them with a couple rolls of paper towels.
2. Protecting your valuables
Money, jewelry, prescription drugs and anything else that’s small and of value should be placed in either a home safe or a bank safety deposit box.
A construction site can become a very busy place…. with strangers, like delivery people, entering the home at times….why take chances?
3.Furniture, large rugs, paintings, electronics and big things
If you are able, it would be good for you to remove all the large items from the work area and wrap them in plastic. If this isn’t possible then usually your contractor can do this for you for a moderate fee.
This tip should be obvious as it’s just human nature. Ask any construction tradesman about the clients he’s worked for.
For sure, he will remember the sweethearts as well as the jerks.Fortunately, for us, a majority of our clients turn out to be sweethearts (our 130 5 Star reviews on Angie’s list is pretty good proof).
Most Brooklyn renovations contractors dream of working on a 100 year old
Prospect Park South Victorian home. And we actually had the good fortune to thoroughly
remodel a three story Victorian that was built in 1897. One of the most
exciting parts of that remodel was taking a large bedroom and converting it
into the master bathroom. Some of the photos of that newly constructed master
bath, with an antique claw foot bath tub, can be seen at the top of this page.
Danette, the owner of the 3 story beauty, left us a wonderful testimonial after we finished the complete interior remodel, as well as the exterior painting. She mentioned that she decided on George because he guaranteed he would complete the renovation within 5 weeks. Her other bids all had timelines ranging from 12 weeks to 6 months. You can read Danette’s Google verified review here .
We love renovation and remodel projects in the area of central Brooklyn known as the Victorian Flatbush. Our previous home remodel clients located in Prospect Park South, Ditmas Park, and Midwood Park have been very kind to us.
In this area you can find hundreds of Victorian and Queen Ann style homes, many of which are at least a century old. Most of these antiques were built on Brooklyn farmland which became attractive for residential development when the transit lines began connecting Manhattan with Coney Island and the rest of Brooklyn.
Due to the Covid 19 scare, as well as the occasional urban rioting, it appears one of the longest economic expansions in U.S. history may be coming to an end. It may sound counter intuitive to suggest this would be a good time for your renovation project. However, if you stick with me, I think I can make a decent case for selective remodeling projects during these somewhat difficult times.
In times of economic slowdowns, the number of large scale renovation projects may decrease. This can mean that top-of-the-line contractors and tradesmen who would otherwise be booked up will be more likely looking for a project on your scale.
During slowdowns in the economy there is more competition between contractors. This can mean that the cost of labor will go down as there will be a limited number of projects happening. This can play to your advantage as you can spend more time shopping for special discounts. This means that during this downturn you can get the best work and products at a lower than usual cost.
In an economic downturn you can pretty much count on paying less for labor. Building materials can also frequently be picked up at a deep discount, compared to boom times. For example, in 2010 there were some beautiful office properties where the investors were able to save from 40% to 45% on the price of lighting fixtures, cement, drywall, rebar, plumbing fixtures and more.
If you’re curious as to what your business or home remodel will cost, either now or in the case of a major economic downturn, then get in touch with us so we can share our information and best deals with you. Contact us now for a no obligation consultation.
Picasso Expert Renovations
21 Bay Ridge Pkwy,
Brooklyn, NY 11209
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