Frequently Asked Questions

A:   Yes, we provide a preliminary range of cost estimate free of charge. And it is just that, an estimation: an educated guess. This is typically given to our clients during the free consultation, or within a few days after, depending on the project. It is NOT a promised final cost of your project. (On rare occasions, a range of cost estimate cannot be given due to too many unknown factors. In this case, demo & discovery must be completed before a range of cost can be given).

The only way to know the true cost of your project (and avoid costly surprises during construction) is to spend time planning and designing. We will complete layout drawings, make material selections, receive bids from subcontractors, and complete an accurate labor and material take-off for each project. This takes time, expertise, and of course, costs money. Learn more about how we help our clients with their project design to ensure the final space they want here.

We know cost plays a huge role in deciding whether or not to undertake a renovation project, and we want our clients to have as much knowledge as possible before entering into our Professional Services Agreement. Our free range of cost estimates are simply meant to assist our clients when deciding whether or not a particular project is within their budget.

Schedule a free consultation here.

A:  Why we’re different from competitive bid contractors:

A competitive bid contractor is usually only focused on one thing; getting you to sign their contract and pay whatever deposit is associated with that bid. These are the contractors who will do one or two site visits and give you an “estimate” within a week without having any materials selected, met any subcontractors on site, completed any layout drawings, or any other type of planning. The problem most consumers don’t see is that competitive bidding rarely puts the necessary time into the details. Their contracts are usually populated with many allowances and are ultimately no more accurate than the preliminary range of cost you are given in our initial meeting.

Buck the Builder’s number one priority is NOT to get you to sign a contract because we present the lowest range price. Our focus is to earn your business through our attention to your needs and expectations. Design & planning takes time and money, but in the end, you are paying for this time one way or another. It’s your choice if you want to spend it up front, where you can take your time making decisions, weighing options, and visualizing the end result. OR, you can spend those design costs during construction, through change orders, re-makes, and hasty decisions that never quite give you the space you envisioned.

A: Why we’re different from other design-build contractors:

Our in-house carpenters are a huge benefit to our clients and differentiate us from other design-build contractors. Controlling the carpentry means our projects run more smoothly and predictably. In addition to completing the demo, framing, trim carpentry, and other aspects of the renovation, our carpenters are regularly shuttling around to different jobs to make minor adjustments, keeping our projects progressing. Without in-house carpentry, we would have to wait on a subcontractor to have availability to be on site to tack in some trim or adjust some framing. Because of this, other design-build contractors experience more delays in their projects than we do.

Another differentiator is our in-house cabinet shop. We have a Lead Carpenter dedicated to the cabinetry on all our projects. Cabinets play a HUGE role in the function of a space, especially in a kitchen. Being able to truly customize them, make on-site adjustments, and control the quality of our cabinets is a huge benefit. Even gaining a 1/4″ to a cabinet, or adding a pull-out tray, can be the difference between a kitchen that functions okay, to one that functions seamlessly.

Lastly, your financial risk is low with us. Many design-build contractors require you to either pay for an initial consultation or commit to a construction agreement (with a down payment) before starting design. While these contractors may still be honest and do great work, we try to minimize your financial risk. We only require a $1,000 retainer when signing a PSA to enter project development. If we only complete a few hours of design work and you decide to back out, any unused time is refunded to you. Likewise, amounts paid during project development are credited toward your final construction agreement. We only ask for a construction deposit after most of the design and development is done, and you know what you’ll be getting from us during construction.

A:     Allowances are an estimated cost for any given item in a remodel. For example, you may be told you have an allowance of $4 per square foot for floor tile. When it comes time to pick a floor tile, you will either need to pick a floor tile that cost $4 per square foot (or less) or pick something more expensive and increase the cost of your estimate. A competitive bid contractor can use this to his or her advantage by providing low-end allowances for each item, making their final contract appear low.

We have no problem with allowances. In fact, in certain cases, they can be quite beneficial for arriving at a final contract in a timely manner. However, that is usually only necessary for large projects such as new construction or whole home remodels.  Instead, we have a problem with how many contractors use low allowances to get their competitive bid signed and deposit paid by the client; knowing full well that money will be made on the numerous upgrades and changes orders to be had. Change orders that are only necessary because, when it comes time to finally make selections, a client will come face to face with the fact that their allowance does not cover as wide of a selection as they thought.

A:   When you sign a Professional Services Agreement with us and pay a retainer fee, you are paying for our commitment of time and resources to put together a Scope of Work / Design Package and provide a fixed bid contract by way of our integrated project development and design process. We believe the time spent planning a project can make or break your client experience and greatly affect the final product. We are passionate about the level of service this process provides our clients.

A:   We provide in-house consulting design services for all our renovation projects. This means we will present layout and design options to you via 3D renderings, assist with material & color selections with our color undertone system, and get accurate bids from our subs with on-site visits. Spending time designing & planning your project not only results in a smooth construction experience, it also ensures that you know what you’re getting and for what cost before your home is torn into. You can see a full overview of our step-by-step remodel process here.

Learn more about consulting design and what makes our design services unique.

A:   Through our project development process, all of which happens before construction, we will come to a fixed bid contract. Project development consists of:

  • layout drawings and 3D renders (for projects that are more than just a facelift)
  • material selections (countertops, tile, flooring, fixtures, etc.)
  • subcontractor site visits, and receiving fixed bids from our subcontractors
  • other labor and material calculations for our in-house items
    • framing, trim carpentry, cabinetry, project management, etc.

Having costs associated with all of these items tells us the exact cost of your project. This means we can promise you the project will be a certain price, along with a contingency budget for the unforeseeable, so you are not hit with surprised costs during construction.

A:     Yes, absolutely! We talk a lot about the importance of making design decisions ahead of time, and that is true. However, some design details are hard to visualize until construction is underway. Our clients can certainly change their minds, or find new inspiration and ideas, and decide to make changes. We are absolutely willing to work with those changes, and have a change order process in place to clearly outline the change in the scope of work and adjustment to the project cost as needed.

Likewise, in any renovation project, surprises can arise. Our goal is to limit those surprises and changes as much as possible by making sure we put in the work during the project development period. However, our clients are given a recommended contingency budget to cover unforeseeable surprises, and are made aware of that budget at the signing of their final construction agreement. That way, should we need to use any, that money is purposefully set aside, and they are not caught off-guard. If we do not need it, great! They have some extra money for their next remodel!

A: Through our design-build process, we spend the necessary time up front creating a clear plan, detailed design, and fixed cost for every project. Most project development takes anywhere from 4 – 12 weeks depending on the size of the project. Our process ensures that once we begin construction, we are more likely to stay on schedule, minimize “dead days” (days where no construction progress occurs on site), and limit inconvenience to our clients.

After you sign your construction agreement, there is wait time for our construction schedule availability and material arrival. Depending on the time of year and our current work-load, you may wait anywhere from a few weeks to 3 months for construction to begin. However, we can typically make an educated guess at this time frame early in the design process, so you’ll have an idea of what to expect before entering into a construction agreement.

A:  Of course, this varies depending on the size of the project. For our smaller projects (think shower renovation, kitchen or bathroom facelifts, or something similar), it may only be under construction for 1.5 – 3 weeks. For a full gut and redesign of a large kitchen, 9 – 11 weeks. For multi-space or whole home renovations: potentially 3+ months.

Included within every construction agreement is an approximate project length. We schedule our projects out day by day from the beginning. Material arrival dates, our own in-house labor availability, and our subcontractors’ schedules are all considered before setting a schedule. Of course, this is remodeling with many, many moving parts, and our schedule is subject to change by a day or two. However, having a schedule set from the beginning ensures that we will hit our target end date as closely as possible.

We know how disruptive remodeling can be, and sticking to the timeline originally promised to our clients is one BIG way we can provide great customer service.

A:   Yes, the majority of our clients continue to live in their homes during the entire construction process. It is one reason we are diligent about sticking to our schedule and protecting the areas of the home outside of the construction zone from dust and debris.

If another living situation is available, we do recommend our client’s move out when the following construction tasks are completed:

  • flooring throughout most or all of the home
  • redoing drywall texture in most or all of the home
  • repainting most or all of the home

Even in these cases, we have worked around clients continuing to live in their home, and we can always create a plan (typically completing the project in phases by area) to allow you to stay in your home.

A:   There’s no getting around it – remodels are messy. However, we have multiple steps in place to minimize the levels of dust outside the construction zone. We use temporary plastic walls with zip doors to section off the construction zone from the rest of the home. A HEPA filtered air scrubber will be installed at the nearest functional window to route dust outside of the home, and to prevent dust and other airborne particles from circulating within your home. We also apply heavy duty contractor board to your floors to prevent scratches and wear and tear from foot traffic, both within the construction zone and as a path from the construction entrance.

Furniture and fixtures that cannot be removed during the remodel will be protected as well. Debris, tools, & materials will be placed in labeled bins or stacked neatly designated areas, either outside the home, within the garage, or inside the construction zone. All designated storage areas will be cleared by the homeowner.

While all of these steps minimize the mess, we never guarantee a 100% dust-free renovation. We do recommend that clients plan on additional cleaning for areas outside the construction zone during a renovation project, and for a few weeks after. Some construction dust, especially from tile demolition and drywall, will escape the dust walls and air scrubber. However, rest assured, your home will be dust-free again, and much more beautiful, too!

A:   Yes, most projects require materials and tools to be stored on site at some point in order for the project to run efficiently. However, we understand the need to keep you, your children, and your pets safe. We also want those tools and materials to have a minimal interference in your daily life.

About a week before construction begins, we will have a project walk-through with the homeowner, Renee or Buck, our project manager, and our lead carpenter. One of the items we discuss is tool and material storage. Our first plan of action will be to store these items within the construction zone. However, many construction zones are too small, and we do require some storage areas outside of this zone. Garages are the most common area. Occasionally, we will use another room in the home, such as a guest bedroom or bonus room.

A:   YES! We carry a $1 million liability insurance policy that covers potential damages to your home. We value the trust you have placed in us when you choose us for your renovation. Our employees and subcontractors do everything within their power to minimize risk to themselves and your home. However, accidents can happen, and we are prepared to respond to the unforeseeable.

A:    Buck the Builder has been in business since the summer of 2013. However, our four field workers have a combined 100+ years of experience in project management and carpentry. We’re also a firm believer in the adage, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.” Thus, we work with a small team of expert tradesmen in his or her respective field. Meaning, not only are you getting the combined experience of our staff, but you’re also getting the decades of experience offered by our team of subcontractors; all of whom are dedicated to their trade.

A:   Customer Experience!  We genuinely believe that general contracting is a service focused profession, but often the bottom line or a quick dollar is all many contractors are concerned about.  For us, our income means nothing if our clients have not enjoyed the experience of working with us throughout the course of their project.  We not only want to make sure you walk away from this experience happy with the result of you project, but we also strive to change the negative stereotypes often associated with the remodel experience.  Through our design-build process, clear Scope of Work / Design Package, high quality subcontractors and materials, and our relationships with our clients, we are rebuilding the remodel experience.