Why We Did Not DIY / Our Contractor

Thanks for sticking with me through that little maintenance glitch and I hope you like the updates that were made to the site!  I’m still working on customizing some of it, but I’m happy with the new layout and fonts, so hope you are too.

I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the bathroom and I truly do have other projects to show you, but the last topic I wanted to cover was our Contractor since I know a lot of people out there struggle with when/who/for what and making those tough decisions.  So here we g0:

Why We Did Not DIY the Bath “Reno”:

  1. First off, and as I noted in the last post about the exterior, this was not just a bath gut and replacement of finishes and fixtures.  We knew this project was a whole heck of a lot more than that involving new framing, roofing, insulation, vapor barriers, relocating plumbing and essentially having a hole in the house for a while. The magnitude of the work involved made this a job for professionals without a doubt.

Demo 4

2. Another thing to consider was that this is our ONLY bathroom! We have a half bath downstairs, yes, but bathing is essential for us (crazy kids) and we really wanted to limit the duration of the project to weeks, not months for this reason.  We made arrangements with Jacob’s gym to shower there and thankfully that’s only a 2 minute walk from our house. Our family was also quite kind to let us shower when we’d be dropping Birdie off or running up to see them here and there.  I took advantage of that a lot!

Bath Day 1

3. Town requirements; look into them! We pulled the permit ourselves, but our town requires proper licensing of a contractor for this work plus multiple inspections. Our project even underwent a zoning review on our roof area ratio to see if we needed to apply for a variance. This all took a lot of time and research and I would advise anyone to just call their Town Hall and speak to someone in the building department to see what’s required. A lot of folks don’t want the hassle of pulling the required permits or dealing with the building department, and working in the construction industry myself, I can attest to how tiresome some of the hoops you feel you have to jump through can be. But at the end of the day the process is there to not only protect you as the home owner, but also your contractor and it’s worthwhile to have the proper inspections done when you’re looking at this magnitude of work.

Choosing a Contractor:

This is the toughest part and was the most time consuming for us. Everyone was so busy last year getting people to call you back is a constant battle. So those that do call you back, take advantage of that and get them to your house to meet them, look at the project, and get that free estimate! What we thought our project cost going into it and what it actually was going to cost after getting that first estimate was a jaw-dropping-shocker. And even more so is what we paid in the end, but for all of the following reasons, hopefully you’ll see why we went with our guy and why wouldn’t have done it any other way. Here are some of our recommendations and observations:

  • Paying a lower price doesn’t equate to higher quality. I know that low bid is enticing…you could save $$$! Who doesn’t want that? But in the end, I would almost always guarantee that you’ll be back up to the higher prices in changes, “missed items” in the estimate, poor assumptions and bad communication. And all of that will just give you headaches and heartache.
  • Current Workload and Crew Size. How much other work do they have going on? Are you talking to a contractor that has 4 or 5 jobs going? 1 job going? 3 jobs going? Is it just him or does he have a crew? If there’s multiple jobs going, how often will they be at your project and on your job? This is going to effect your timeline so definitely ask these questions. The last thing you want is to have your job sit there for a few days with noone showing up.  Nothing is more aggravating and all you see are dollar signs.
  • Is there a personal connection? Honestly, do you like this person? I mean, not enough to have them for Christmas or anything, but do you like this person and feel like you connect with them? You will be talking to your contractor an awful lot and it’s important to feel like you can talk to them, voice your concerns and that you trust them and that they are keeping your best interests in mind, as well as their profit margin. Likeabilty, believe it or not, is a factor.
  • Also inline with #3 and was personally most important to me: RESPONSIVENESS. I spoke with so many contractors and received multiple bids. We then would have questions and hear crickets. Not getting a call back or feeling like your job isn’t important to them is something to take note of. We had even gone as far to give the job to someone we thought we really liked, although we were ignoring a few nagging concerns we had. We went weeks without hearing from him after award on when he may start or how long the project would take.  He just never got back to us on anything and we were going to give him money!! The almighty dollar couldn’t even get him to call us! So although we liked him and felt we could trust him, if he wasn’t going to respond on when the project was going to start, what was he going to be like when issues came up during the renovation??  Fortunately we had not given him any payments and were able to back out and go with another company.

We happily introduce you to our contractor, Eduardo Muniz, owner of Boston Best Construction.

BBC Eduardo

He was not the cheapest. In fact, he was the highest bid we received. Eduardo was also very timely, very nice, trustworthy, polite, funny and easy to get along with from the get-go. He did have another job or two going while our was but has the connections and resources to have framers where framers were needed and tilers where tilers were needed ensuring we had the resources around when we needed them.  There was that time at the beginning when our framer had to commit his time to his family when his mom fell, understandably, but Eduardo listened to our concerns and responded by getting another guy on our job.  This gentleman, Paul, was wonderful to work with and we loved how much pride he took in his workmanship. He spent so much time on the exterior of the house and ensuring the details matched that of our 1890’s home we couldn’t have been happier.  Each and every concern we had inside or out was addressed every single time.  And he will text you – a lot. But no one ever lost their job for over-communicating and we felt more confident that he was so available for us. Our project was completed in the timeline laid out in our contract and, even better, for the price that was quoted! We changed the roof line, added some scope and altered plans and Eduardo worked with us and within the original number he gave us.  Having zero change orders gave us peace of mind and it’s a guarantee he’s proud to uphold and should be.

Bath 1

If you’re in the Boston area, I’d recommend giving him a call. You may not like his number, but as they say – you get what you pay for. We paid a lot, but feel we got a lot of everything positive we were looking for.  We love love love our new bathroom and enjoyed working with Eduardo very much.  These are just our observations and are not the case for everyone, but I hope this lengthy post will help someone else!

Bathroom Plans | Demo | FramingBath Furniture | Dormer | Inside | Reveal | Exterior Complete

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