Handling the Surprise!

Surprise! There’s always one lurking when you’re remodeling. Whether it’s a rotted sub floor or a mold-infested attic, your jaw will be dropping when the news is inevitably delivered by your contractor. Whether or not it will interfere with the remodeling of your dream kitchen or your second floor addition will be determined by your contractor. The surprise will usually be accompanied by a recommendation for next steps, and of course, a budget. It likely will include a higher budget than was planned for the renovation.

You ask, “Why wasn’t this included in my estimate?” The reason is that no one was aware of it. Your contractor doesn’t know everything, and he doesn’t know anything about the pitfalls of your house unless he built it himself. He is as surprised as you are by what he finds – although he may have seen it before. When a contractor estimates a job, he looks at the space, determines what the materials will be and the amount of time I will take to do the job. He might also include an allowance for unexpected items, but he can never be sure to cover everything that’s unexpected. A good contractor will ask you about how you’ll live in the space, what your ultimate dream is for the area. He’ll make recommendations for more cost-effective strategies and he’ll share ideas to make the best use of the space.

While you should not accept an invoice from a contractor that is grossly over budget without explanation, you should know that surprises are inevitable. A good contractor will communicate both the good news and the bad news, and make you part of the team to solve any issues to your satisfaction.