Successful handling of orders & delivery is a simple way to save money while remodeling and keep the project on track
Every homeowner wants their home remodeling project to be finished by a specified date and on (or under) budget. For example, a basement remodel that is contractually expected to be finished by Christmas for visiting relatives, must be done by the specified date. Yet, it is not uncommon for homeowners to wonder why the project isn’t following the schedule or if the job will finish on time. How can homeowners (or contractors) keep a project on schedule, while also saving money during remodeling?
Sweeten highlights one part of the process that both parties have relative control over to help keep the project on schedule. The logistics of ordering materials, including selection, payment, and delivery, is one area that both homeowners and contractors agree upon as being vital to that common goal. Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.
Mythbuster: Contractors want a project to go on and on
One thing that might surprise homeowners starting a project is that the contractor is equally or even more anxious to keep the project on track. This is because a smoothly running project means that the contractor can keep the client happy and within budget. Plus, this allows the contractor to successfully manage concurrent projects or move onto the next project on time.
Who does the ordering: contractor or homeowner?
Before anything else happens, draw up a contract which both the homeowner and the contractor can sign. With this contract in place, a creative union with a common mission can begin: completing the project outlined in the contract.
The logistics of ordering materials and their delivery is one factor that the homeowner can easily control in either direction to suit their style better.
When should the contractor order materials?
Generally, the contractor handles most of the supply chain of materials in a home improvement project.
First, the contractor will order the materials specified for the project. Materials are typically paid out of an initial deposit made by the homeowner and by scheduled progress payments or draws.
The contractor rarely orders all materials at the same time. In fact, it makes more sense to stagger orders according to when they will be installed in the home. This also benefits the homeowner, because materials are paid for on a rolling basis.
The contractor or a representative takes delivery of the items and holds them either at an off-site storage location or on the building site. When it’s time to install the item, the contractor’s crew will shift the item to the building site.
However, the contractor is not the only person responsible for managing the selection of building materials. Except for raw building materials like drywall and two-by-four studs, other materials are the homeowner’s choice. The contractor and the homeowner will sit down together and select materials that match the homeowner’s taste and budget and satisfy the project specifications.
When should the homeowner order materials?
Occasionally, the homeowner and contractor arrange for the homeowner to order materials. Once the homeowner consults with the contractor, the homeowner then controls all aspects of this supply chain.
The homeowner chooses the materials, pays for them directly, accepts delivery, inspects the items, and stores them. If any items are damaged or incorrect, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to arrange for replacement or refund.
The secret: handling logistics and specs issues
Contractors understand why homeowners want to be on top of the managing of their own materials—it’s their dream space. However, a mix weighted on the side of the contractor handling most logistics often works best.
Reasons why homeowners may want contractors to handle the logistics:
- Homeowners often focus on showpiece items such as frameless shower enclosures, natural imported stone, and one-of-a-kind sinks or cabinets. These pieces often require special parts or unique installation packages.
- Homeowners who order their own items often lose sight of the bigger picture. By focusing on particular items, they may lose sight of how the components fit within the project as a whole. Spacing is crucial, with components fitting within code-required spatial areas.
- Delivery acceptance can be a hang-up for many homeowners, both due to size and quantity of materials. Large slabs of granite, countertops, assembled cabinets, doors, and bathtubs are often delivered curbside. Plans must then be made to immediately move these items to a secure location. Large-quantity items, such as the numerous boxes of flooring that arrive on pallets, are equally important. These, too, must be moved to a dry, secure area.
- Delivery timing can be difficult for busy homeowners to manage. While small items might arrive on a no-signature basis, most home-related items require that a person accept delivery and sign for it. For instance, when taking delivery of countertop materials or windows, you don’t want your neighboring signing off on it. A qualified person must inspect and sign for these items. With tailgate delivery items, you typically have the opportunity to view the item before it is off-loaded. This is also not something you want your neighbor to do!
- As a homeowner who happens to be available to take delivery of materials, should you be doing this? Most homeowners do not know how to properly check for order amounts, damage, and missing pieces. Many fixtures come with very specific pieces and parts. For some items, if a tiny screw is missing from a particular piece, installation can be help up for days or weeks while the exact piece is reported, matched, and shipped.
Pros of letting professionals handle the logistics:
- Orders delivered on time
- Correct lead line
- Specifications controlled by the contractor
- All parts correctly ordered
- Delivery acceptance and storage
- Contractor expertise with materials
- Trade discounts possible
How to save time and money while remodeling
According to many contractors and veteran homeowner-remodelers, the easiest way to save time and money while remodeling is to master the logistics.
To do this, you must ensure that you purchase the correct items on time, in the right order. Materials purchased too early may sit in storage for too long, or might be unreturnable later on if they cannot be used.
Even worse, materials bought too late slow down the project or bring it to a complete stop. When the project stops, the subcontractors go off to other projects. The contractor may direct his or her attention to other clients. Completed work, particularly exterior work, may become damaged.
How the homeowner can be involved:
This is your home, your renovation project. You want to help manage the project, especially in the area of materials ordering and logistics (and certainly if it’ll help you to save money while remodeling!) What’s the best way to do this?
Communicate with each other
Establish a healthy flow of communication and information between you and your contractor. Phone, e-mail, video chat, and text each other on a regular basis over logistics matters; this is a best practice to follow which sets the tone for the renovation as it progresses.
Establish clear responsibilities
Establish an agreement between the two of you as to who is responsible for which part of the logistics.
Aim for completion
Conclude with a complete list of responsibilities. Be sure to spell out every aspect in writing.
These options are open for you and your contractor to discuss. Take stock of how much you want to personally be involved in the logistics and what feels right to reach your dream space.
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Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.