Enjoy remodeling. Seems like a simple idea, right? Remodeling your home should be enjoyable. You should be able to engage with a remodeling partner and talk about goals, wishes, and long-term plans. You should be able to review and iterate on different designs, so you can understand what all of your options might be. You should be able to have honest conversations about money upfront to avoid pricing surprises later on in the process. You should have a single point of accountability so praise, questions, comments, or concerns only have one place to go. You should know when your project is going to start and when it will be complete. You should be given a warranty that will provide you with peace of mind and have a team in place to make good on that promise should the need arise. These things, and many more, should happen for every person on every project. As we’ve all heard too many times, these things are unfortunately rare. I hope by now you see where I’m going with this – rare, yes, but not impossible. In fact, these services have been part of BOWA’s process for the last 35 years. We’ve been doing them for so long that when we started, the Washington Commanders was the best team in the NFL, George Michael had just started singing about Faith, and Dan Quayle had just learned he was no Jack Kennedy.
You know the proverb about a thousand miles and a single step? I’m not sure that it will take a thousand miles to get from reading this blog post to you having a beautiful new space – although it would be interesting to strap a FitBit to everyone who works on the project to see how close we get. Anyway, point is, a lot happens between now and then. The most important part though? The first step. Luckily for you, we make that easy.
Executive Summary & Guaranteed Budget Range
Our process starts with a complimentary in-home consultation. Here, we spend around 90 minutes chatting about your home and your project – what works, what doesn’t work, what are your goals. And we’ll chat about more. We might be at your place to talk about remodeling your kitchen, but what if your 5-year plan is to also remodel the homeowner bathroom upstairs? Let’s make sure that we don’t build anything now that would preclude you from building something you’d love later. This is how master planning works. We think of your home as a whole, even if we’re only working on one section at a time.
So we have a chat, see your space, explain/share/discuss our process and why it’s awesome (after all, over 80% of our business is repeat or referral) – what comes next? We’ll write an Executive Summary (E.S.), which is an overview of the project. Included in that is what we call a Guaranteed Budget Range, or G.B.R. for short. This is how you know there won’t be pricing surprises later on. We start Phase 1 with a $5,000 deposit, which is credited to the project. When we get to the end of Phase 1, if we can’t deliver on the G.B.R., we’ll give you the deposit back. Simple as that.
CONGRATULATIONS – we’re on our way. Here’s where the fun really starts.
Design & Iterate
We are a full-service design build firm (the largest locally, btw), meaning that design and production are in-house. When we come out to measure your space, your Project Leader (whom you met [and loved] at the consultation) will bring along an architect and/or a designer, who will become part of your project team. We measure the space and take pictures, then bring that information back to the office, draw it up in CAD, and start sketching out options. Once we have a few plans that show varying options, you’ll come to our office (or we’ll meet via Zoom) to review them with your project team. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of each scheme and revise the design based on your feedback. Once we agree on a direction, we’ll meet back out at your house with our partners.
Because we don’t like pricing surprises and you don’t like them either, we spend a lot of time in Phase 1 listening, learning, and planning (which is why we’re so confident with the G.B.R.). It is all in preparation for, and facilitates our ability to, offer you a fixed-price contract at the end of Phase 2. Part of this Phase 1 planning is conducting a walkthrough to make sure the people working on your project will see it – in person – before we ever talk about the construction contract.
After iterating on the design, we’ll have confidence in a general direction – we don’t know the exact layout or the specific selections for every surface yet, but we have a feel for where things are going, how big they’ll be, general material selections, what walls are getting opened up, etc. At this point we call on our partners – most other companies call these people sub-contractors. For us, that would be doing them a disservice. Are they technically sub-contractors? Yes. But that would be like saying George Harrison was technically a guitar player – he’s a Beatle, and our partners are an integral part of our team. We’ve been working with them for decades, they know what we (the largest design/build firm in the area, remember) expect from them, they know your happiness is our priority, and they know they would be crazy to jeopardize their relationship with us – and vice versa.
After the walkthrough, our partners will send us info on their particular specialty, and your project team will regroup in the office to review it all. We’ll also review how much time BOWA employees will work on your project – in addition to your Project Leader, Architect, and Designer, you will also have a Production Manager who oversees the project, a Project Manager who is at your house actively moving the project forward every day of construction, and other carpenters and helpers as the project requires.
Finishing up Phase 1
We’ve met, guaranteed a budget range, looked over amazing design options, iterated on those designs, did a walkthrough, and had an internal review. We’ve now planned about 80% of the project. Congrats! Feels great, doesn’t it? Oh yeah, and we’ve done it all for only a $5,000 deposit. If Value City weren’t already the name of a cheap furniture store, that’s what I would call Phase 1 of our process. We do more for $5,000 than any other firm around – 35 years’ worth of thrilled clients gives us that kind of confidence. If you’re a visual person, like me, check out the chart below for a snapshot of Phase 1.
The only thing left to do now is talk about Phase 2, but that’s another post for another day…
Bye for now,
The above chart shows what happens in Phase 1. Because other companies span these services over more than one phase, or don’t offer them at all, I’ve used the term “informed decision” as it relates to the cost and the services. That is, after all, what you’re looking for, right? You want to be able to work with a company that you can trust – one that can give you the confidence to take on this project knowing as early as possible what it will cost, how long it will take, and what it will look like.
What will it cost you to get to an informed decision? With us, you get there at the end of Phase 1 for a $5,000 deposit, which is fully credited to the project. Other companies may mix fees and deposits and spread them over multiple phases.
What services are offered to get to an informed decision? Based on our 35 years of experience, we feel strongly that all of the information we provide in Phase 1 is necessary for you to be able to make an informed decision. Most companies offer some of these services, but no other company offers all of them. The ones that get close, charge much more.