You should have a budget in mind when you start your planning process. Discuss it with your contractor to see if the figure you have in your head matches the real world figures. You don't want to invest money and time into having plans drawn up and then realize you don't have the money that will be required to do what you had hoped. You need to have your wish list and talk it over with someone who knows about the general area of costs. Don't listen to the person down the street saying "My son knows someone who just had an addition put on their house for $3,000." There is another story there and it probably doesn't end well. When you are trying to figure out where your budget is, start putting that wish list together so you have a reference point. If you come up with an idea, write it down. Once you have your list you will be able to talk about the pros and cons of the items as you go down the list. These things add up very quickly so if you already have a budget and you hit that figure without getting through your list, either the budget goes up or the list goes down.
Is anything really free? If you have a small simple project we can actually give you a free estimate right there and then, but if it is a large scale project that needs research and the true time spent to cover every aspect of your project, that estimate could easily take 10 or more hours. There will also be meetings to iron out all the details. We do all of our estimates on the computer so there are minimal mistakes likely to occur. We feel once we sign on to your project we become a team. We will work just as hard getting the budget in line as we do on the project itself. Everyone wants the biggest bang for the buck and we want to deliver that, but we won't lie to act like we can get you there. So many contractors will tell you exactly what you want to hear but in no shape or form are they in a position to deliver on that deal. Isn't that why the state and federal projects are always over budget? They go with the lowest bidder but once work starts so do the change orders. This is where the whole trust theory has to come into play. You have to trust the person you are dealing with and know that everything is being done to bring your project in on time and on budget. That is the foundation of TRAM Construction, we are your advocates throughout your entire project. You will not find any contractor that is more faithful and honest, but these are not the only attributes that will deliver your project. Talent and vision are a big part of contracting and we have it.
We feel the easiest and simplest form of payment comes on a weekly draw. You are invoiced only for work that has been completed, construction materials that have been delivered or specialty items that a deposit is required by the supplier. This way you are assured that you control the project. Probably the biggest mistake a consumer can make is to give a sizable down payment to someone before they deliver any product. Why would you do that? You are setting yourself up for disaster. Even consumer advocates and the media alike support the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 theory. That has got to be the worst thing you could possibly do. Those same advocates are then reporting about how this unscrupulous contractor has taken advantage of this poor client, but yet they are the ones who started the problem by endorsing this ridiculous payment plan. Where do you think the contractor is going to be once that second payment is made? That is when things start to unravel and frustration sets in but if you had held onto the money you would have had the power to keep the job rolling along. Talk to anyone who has had a "nightmare"
job and the first thing they tell you is, "We started to see problems after the second installment was paid". Money is your power, that is what everyone works for, so by controlling the money, you control the job.