|Due to a higher than usual volume of projects this year, contractors of most trades are in high demand.
Many homes have been on double duty for much of the year. Working and schooling from home, preparing more meals, and even socializing at a safe distance with friends and neighbors has caused many to reconsider how to effectively use living spaces.
Some of the more popular projects have been creating a home office or home classroom, kitchen updates, a place to exercise, and outdoor socializing spaces. For many, these types projects require the assistance of a home improvement professional.
In addition to increased contractor demand, vendors are experiencing a shortage of building materials, such as lumber, plumbing, and electrical supplies. City building departments struggle to keep up with the volume of construction permits. These are just a few things contributing to longer than usual delays and increased costs.
It appears current demands are not likely to ease anytime soon. If you plan to make home improvements in the coming months and hire a contractor to help, there are some things you can do to expedite the process. Preparing ahead of time and a little patience will go a long way toward getting the best results from your favorite contractor.
GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW
Depending on the size of your job there can be a lot to consider when planning a home improvement project. Prior to meeting a contractor, take some time to prepare. This will show the contractor you are serious and ready to proceed and will help you get that much closer to starting your project.
Larger projects may require plans prepared by an architect or designer. You can hire a design-build firm that can take you through the entire process. Alternatively, you can start with an independent architectural designer. Either way, you will need completed building plans to apply for a permit and an idea of finish materials (cabinets, countertops, flooring, fixtures, etc.) for contractors to be able to provide a comprehensive proposal.
The more research you can do in advance, the better. Keep your ideas organized in a paper or electronic folder, or both. Keeping a visual list of your favorite floor plans, finish materials, and colors will help the designer or contractor better understand your preferences and needs.
Decide on a budget before meeting with contractors. You may not know at this point what your dream kitchen would cost, but you likely have a limit as to what you are willing to spend.
Sharing your budget up front will help the contractor or designer steer you in the right direction. If your budget for a kitchen remodel is $50,000, but your tastes reflect a $100,000 remodel, you can spend a lot of time and money on design only to discover you need to revise your plan.
Many trades have a high and low season. Scheduling your projects during the off-season whenever possible is worth considering. Contractors may be more readily available, and you may save some money. Some trades even offer discounts during the off-season. Be sure to ask!
In the Pacific Northwest there are many opportunities throughout fall, winter, and spring where the weather cooperates for these often overlooked ‘seasonal’ projects. Following are a few.
Most roofs can be removed in a matter of hours, promptly followed by the installation of a waterproof felt paper. It usually only requires one reliably dry day for this procedure. The new roofing material can be installed during inclement weather. Most roofs will be completed in less than a week, start to finish.
DECKS & FENCES
Calls for deck and fence repair and new installations peak in spring and summer. Fall is a great time to start talking with these type contractors. They are winding down from summer and welcome your business in winter. Your project could be completed and ready to enjoy come spring and summer.
KITCHEN & BATH REMODELS
Remodeling contractors do not have much down time these days. That said, there is still a spike in spring and a slow-down during the winter months and holidays. This can be a tremendous opportunity to get your remodeling project completed timely and with less competition than the rest of the year.
Remember, a remodel requires some advance planning. If you are close to finalizing your plans, this could be a great time to get on your contractor’s schedule for winter.