5 Tips to Avoid Remodel-astrophes

Johanna Macalalag

Johanna Macalalag

October 2, 2018

We have all heard of them; the remodels that go so badly they became a total catastrophe. All things considered, remodeling can be a tedious process, however, at Bamboo, we believe that there is a much easier way to handle things, and avoid catastrophe altogether. Im sure every home owner has had nightmares of their house being torn apart and never put back together again.
So how do you avoid them? Here, we offer up 5 golden rules to help:

1. Have a clear and concise scope of work:

In case you have never heard this term, a scope of work is an item by item list that goes through every task to be done in a contracting project. The less clear your scope is, the greater the chance of confusion for everyone is, especially when doing fixed price contracting. You wouldn’t go into a car dealership and say, “I’ll give you $20,000 for any blue car with four wheels”, but sadly so many home owners do just that in remodels. If you don’t know what you want yet, work with an interior designer or someone to help you really lock it down – the greater the detail, the better.

At Bamboo, we split our design and planning phases into separate “pay as you go” phases. Each phase has tangible results that you can see and track on the app, as well as continue the work with a different contractor at each point, if you so choose.Bamboo operates on an open cost model, which means you can add changes when or if you need to! Our scopes are interactive and let you tag each item in a room so that nobody gets confused.

2. Always ask for references:

Although some contractors might seem great, it is so important to ask for references from your prospective general contractor and even look for reviews they might have online. To be honest, it’s pretty easy for general contractors to buy reviews on sites like Yelp, Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor, or just get their friends to give fake reviews. Asking for portfolio's or pictures of previous work is also a great "reference". Here is another handy list of questions to ask your contractor.

At Bamboo, we diligently check each of the Pros we use for our jobs. We conduct video interviews that you can watch with every Pro and we’re here to make things right, on the off chance that something does go wrong.

3. Check that your general contractor has valid insurance:

Get the policy number and certificate, call up the insurer, check that the policy is current. Also ask the general contractor about the identity of the subcontractors and trades or labor. Based on a University of Cincinnati survey, 52% of day labor / construction workers are convicted felons, so if you just “hope for the best”, it’s extremely likely you have convicted felons walking around your house.

At Bamboo, we get the right insurance (general liability and worker’s compensation) for every project done via our platform, and we run criminal background checks on every individual Bamboo Pro / trade who could enter your property so you know that you, your family and your home are safe throughout your entire remodel.

4. Checking (and double checking) Quality throughout:

With most general contractors, you are the quality assurance, which at the end of the day can be quite time consuming and realistically unreliable. Most crews are paid on daily rates, and the general contractor has likely taken a fixed price contract. This means that, the sooner the general contractor can get the crew out of your house, the more money the contractor makes. The best general contractors will do their own quality assurance because they take pride in their work, but a lot of mid-tier general contractors work on a “can’t see, can’t tell” basis (how scary). Since most homeowners aren't contractors themselves, its hard to know what to check for, or where to even look. There are a few active steps you can do to check for things like plumbing leaks, tile flatness, wood floor buckling, electrical shorts, etc here

At Bamboo, we have multiple layers of quality assurance and oversight – both a local project manager and a remote construction operations team who do daily check-ins on the project. We also review every Pro on the project, and pay them more than they can earn with other contractors, so they are incentivized to keep doing good work.

5. Include Contract Penalties:

If you are working on a fixed price basis, it’s worth considering penalties if the general contractor doesn’t execute all of the tasks in the time agreed. Its also worth understanding how your contractor wants the payments split up at the very beginning. Sometimes its possible to keep a large percentage of the payments until the work is executed. We often hear stories of general contractors leaving customers stranded, without a part of their house, for months. As much as we cringe when we hear stories like this, we understand, it happens. The more you can protect yourself by laying out project phases or ensuring daily communication and progress reports with your contractors and general contractors, the better.

At Bamboo, we don’t walk away from customer projects, and our contracts are “pay as you go” based on a cost-plus model. Our projects are consistently lower cost than any fixed price competition. We also do more detailed project management, and we give you a better sense of where the project is at using visual dashboards and progress summaries.

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Customer testimonial

“Working with Bamboo App on our remodel project has been a breathe of fresh air. The use of technology to facilitate the project moving forward while also giving the homeowner oversight into the scope of work, timeline and budget is a true revelation for the industry.

Mike M.

August 18, 2018

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