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These are three great questions; in fact probably the most common questions we’re asked, but they simply don’t provide you with enough information to make an informed and intelligent decision. Following is a list of questions that we get asked the most beyond those above (along with our answers of course).
If you’re interviewing other remodeling contractors, we encourage you to ask them questions similar to the questions listed below along with the one’s found here.
How long has Upscale Remodeling been in business?
Upscale Remodeling Corporation has been remodeling homes in and around Ithaca for more than 25 years. It was founded in 1992 by Stephen L. Nash, Jr. who comes from a family of remodeling contractors from the Ithaca area (Click here to visit our about us page and learn more)
Tell me about your warranty/guarantee…
The workmanship on every project we do is covered by our warranty and guaranteed for a full 5 years—in writing. We’ll even come back each year to inspect the work to make sure everything is okay. We don’t RUN FROM warranties… if there is a problem, we’re the one on the hook to pay to fix it. We’ll do everything in our power on the front end (great work!) and back end (annual inspections) to protect your investment… and ours!
Do you provide free estimates?
Absolutely! We’ll meet with you in your home to discuss the project and get a general feel for what’s involved and what it will take (time, materials, resources, etc…) to do. This usually allows us to estimate at least a “high-low” budget range; this also gives you a chance to determine if you think we’re a good fit for you. If you’re comfortable with the range (and with us), we will then ask for a small deposit, then work with you on all of the finer details required to provide you with a thorough, accurate quote. To read all the details of our process, please click here.
Will you complete my project all at once… or skip around between multiple jobs?
While it’s true that we have the ability to manage multiple projects at a time, we are also very skilled at scheduling and planning. Problems occur when contractors take on more work than they can handle—which leads to projects with no progress for days—or weeks—at a time. We do everything possible not to spread ourselves too thin… we respect our clients too much to do that. You will have somebody working on your project just about every (working) day until it is completed.
Do I need to move out of my house while you remodel it?
In most cases, NO. Obviously, remodeling can be somewhat messy and inconvenient. But at Upscale Remodeling, we’ll go to great lengths to keep the mess to a minimum, the time as short as possible, and the project moving along on schedule. However in some cases, usually only on very large scale remodeling projects, it is in everyone’s best interest that all or some of the work be performed while you are not living in the home. This is determined on a case by case basis and discussed up front before work begins.
What costs should I expect beyond the contract price?
Many remodeling contractors will tell you that the “price they quote is the final price, period.” This attitude is naïve at best, and intentionally misleading at worst. The fact is there are two major components that routinely come up that will indeed INCREASE the final price… 1) unexpected conditions that are not visible when formulating the quote (hidden pipes, decayed framing, faulty wiring, etc.) and 2) Upgrades and change orders requested by the homeowner.
Naturally, we do everything we can to anticipate the unexpected and we are quite good at it but despite this, most projects end up costing about 5% to 12% more than the original contract. We strongly recommend that you budget this additional amount to cover these costs. This allows for flexibility… and happy customers!
To be clear: Upscale Remodeling will not charge you more than the original estimate unless one or both of the factors above (unexpected conditions or client-requested upgrades) occur.
What’s the difference between an estimate and a price?
An estimate is a rough approximation of how much a project is going to cost based on a preliminary discussion about your wants and needs. We provide our clients with a “high-low” estimated range usually after the first meeting to give you an idea of what the project will entail.
If the initial estimate is acceptable to you, we will then work to create a fixed price for you based on gathering more detailed information on the exact scope of work, including finishes, fixtures, and materials. A lot of pre-planning and design work is required to provide you with an accurate fixed price, so we only proceed once you feel comfortable with us as your remodeling contractor, and vice versa.
Once the price is set, it will not change unless unforeseen circumstances arise, or unless you specifically request changes and/or upgrades during construction (see above).
How do you handle Change Orders?
Any changes will be handled with written change orders. This keeps both parties 100% on the same page, and eliminates the chance of unpleasant surprises on the final bill. The written record also allows you to track your extra spending and monitor whether or not a given change fits within your pre-determined budget.
Should I get other estimates before proceeding?
Homeowners who get multiple bids usually do so because they want to make sure that they are getting the best price possible for the project. But it’s nearly impossible to get a true “apples to apples” comparison.
A better idea is to thoroughly vet any remodeling contractor before asking them to provide the detailed estimate. You want to make sure you’re 100% comfortable with them in terms of trusting their character and competency. You should check their references, inspect previous jobs, talk to previous customers, and investigate how they stack up against the Contractor Standards Guide.
In a surprising twist, a survey conducted by NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) showed that 91% of homeowners who seriously considered just one or two contractors were very satisfied with the final product… whereas homeowners who considered many contractors were far less satisfied.
First and foremost, make sure you trust and feel comfortable with the contractor! That’s the most important thing.
(To download a FREE copy of our Consumer Awareness Guide click here.)
How can I be sure I will get a quality job at a fair price?
It all comes down to reputation; make sure any remodeling contractor that you are considering has lots and lots of happy clients who will sing their praises. We’ve gone to a lot of effort to provide you with everything you need to perform your “due diligence” on us—just check out our Reputation section in this website.
If possible, make sure you actually visit previous customers and see the work they’ve done first hand. Any reputable remodeling contractor will be proud to “show off” their work… and past customers won’t mind letting you come take a look (after all, they’ve been in your shoes before!).
How can I be sure I will get what I want?
We have a thorough process that allows you to see the design and materials before we ever pull a permit or pick up a hammer. Our job is to take the remodeling dreams out of your head, design them for you to look at on paper and then deliver them in real life in your home.
What can you tell me about the workers who will
actually be in my home every day?
At Upscale Remodeling, we hire people that we would trust in our own homes, around our own families. Our people are all clean and presentable. They are enjoyable people with friendly personalities. Many of our clients have even commented that they missed our workers when the project was complete—that’s what we’re aiming for! When you talk to our references ask them about our workers—you’ll see that we’re a cut above the rest.