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  1. #1
    erosenst is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default How much would you pay ?

    We are in the process of getting bids to gut a main bathroom - in our rental/vacation condo that is a flight/18 hour drive from here. It's not small but also not big enough to be easy to figure out layout, especially with immovable toilet and door.

    We've contacted five people about bids.
    * One never called back

    * One came, barely asked any questions about what we wanted, threw out a price, and got back to us in a day or two with a totally 'vanilla' bid - no layouts, allowances for materials, scope of work. Very reasonably priced but...bad vibe in general/not our style.

    * One came. Small company. Like a lot a about them, although still unclear to me if she's a licensed contractor. We do know they use licensed plumbers and electricians. (If we proceed I could ask for license - leave that out for now but just as background.) Asked good questions about what we wanted. Thought they would be best of the 'at the time' three. She kept pushing about the importance of meeting with her to pick out finishes, she would guide me, does design for a lot of people etc. I was going to try to get down there in January but realized how expensive it would be (condo is rented out, it's season, I'm probably not comfortable flying etc). We were there over break so I asked if it was possible she could meet with me then. "Usually don't do this til bid accepted/don't like people stealing my designs/etc but...I'll make an exception". I met with her - only to find out that she doesn't do her own CAD - someone at the store where we met does it. While we did pick out finishes, and I like them, I found them all -it wasn't like she had pulled starting points. The cabinets are stock - I'm not crazy about the navy, and a couple other picky things - although think I'm being picky. Have been going back and forth with her last couple days. "Going to be much more than I thought/this is now high end/don't want to put more work in if you're not going to commit". Net - my spidey sense says this will be an issue. (Note - we never told her price range. High end of what she thinks it will be is 10% over what I thought going in...)

    * Found last one after first three had come out. Bigger company, has all their own trades. Truly custom cabinets - can pick the paint etc. She did first cut of CAD (no mechanical/electric - just layout) while she was onsite, and sent two options today. It's not perfect but it's good - and more importantly DH likes it. (He's willing to change a little from what he's used to but not a lot - that's another post. . Bid is high end of what number three threw out. I think we *may* be a number, but also think more likely to get done in a reasonable time frame. Found them on Houzz - ton of five star reviews which I like - especially since we won't be able to check their work often in person.

    SO - with that long preamble - if we don't choose #3, and we're leaning toward not, I had agreed to pay her for 'additional design time". She chose to have the prelim CAD done (no mechanicals/electric - just layout) - which I still think should be part of the bid and am not inclined to pay for. She did spend 2.5 hours with me - partially because i had to find everything myself it took awhile. How much do you think that time is worth? Am I wrong to not pay for her to pay 'the guy' to do the CAD, which from what I saw was MAYBE 30 minutes of work?

    Lastly - if you're still here...if you've done 13x8 or close bathroom, with a full gut (take out bathtub, put in larger shower etc) - about how much did you pay? I'm still a LITTLE surprised how high it is as materials we picked aren't bad - $3.30 sq ft shower tile, $100 sq ft quartz, $16 1.5 sq ft shower floor tile, $4.25 sq ft flooring.

    Sorry for the novel but appreciate your input, in advance!

  2. #2
    AnnieW625's Avatar
    AnnieW625 is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Default How much would you pay ?

    Our bathroom gut (I donít remember the dimensions, but it was smaller than 13x8) of our old house in suburban Los Angeles was between $22,000 and 25,000 (iirc) including new tub, toilet, shower fixtures, faucet, sink, custom vanity, flooring, paint, lighting, and a custom cabinet above toilet. We had weird spacing so we had to go with custom cabinets. This was our lone bathroom so paying more for the custom cabinets was worth it because we needed to maximize space; plus we knew we would be selling the house in 2020 when we remodeled in 2018. We used an interior designer for that space and she recommended a few contractors and chose one.

    We are now gutting our current bathroom which is 6í x 12í, but the shower and toilet are in one space (with a closed door) and the sinks are in the other space, plus we did a small renovation (new vanity and sink, paint, and flooring) in our hall bathroom and the costs including all new fixtures, and cabinets for both jobs is right about $29,000. We are getting a whole new tiled shower area, new toilet, new exhaust fan, new lighting, new plumbing, dual sinks, and new mirrors. We provided the flooring (for both spaces) because we had extra left over from our kitchen remodel (at our old house) so that was nice to finally use up what we had. We were originally going to provide the tile for our shower walls (as we have extra from our old bathroom remodel), but the local tile store that carried our line of tile were a$$e$ when I went to order more so we ended up ordering different tile through the remodeling company. We ended up using a company I found in one of those home improvement magazines for this job and couldnít be happier. They had great Yelp reviews as well and stalked their Instagram site as well before getting quotes and eventually hiring them.

    We live an hour or so east (about 60 miles) of Downtown Los Angeles and the cost of living is much closer to a the high end of medium to the low side of high COL than LA which was high to very high COL to very HCOL, and I have a feeling that it wouldíve been at least $40,000 to do both jobs in our old area if not closer to $50,000. We didnít have to do custom cabinets this time so that saved us as well, but I do think COL plays a huge role in how much you are going to pay.

    Good luck!

    ETA: for design fees for our bathroom we paid $1500 , which for me was worth it because I needed a designerís eye to help me see what we were going to be able to do with the space.


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    Last edited by AnnieW625; 01-09-2021 at 11:39 AM.
    Annie
    WOHM to two wonderful little girls born in April
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  3. #3
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Iíd expect to be out about $300-500 for the drawings. Why not use an architect for the plans then simply hand them off to a contractor bs trying to find someone who can do both? Thatís how we did all of our remodels. Our contractor has great skills and could have figured it out but he would never be making CAD drawings for us. Our architect was a friend starting up her business after being a SAHM for 15 years. We didnít have her figure out the HVAC, electrical placement...but my contractor and his licensed workers did fine figuring that out (we werenít looking for anything unusual).
    I think finding 1 person to do it all will be frustrating (which youíre experiencing) and more expensive.
    Iíve only done renovations how I described and only used the same team of people for all (2 bathrooms, laundry room and complete finishing of basement). I am still a rookie.


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  4. #4
    erosenst is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Thanks to both!!

    Oddly I think using an architect is regional. Iíve redone bathrooms elsewhere too, and all want their own designers to do it if youíre using a licensed contractor. Having said that we were thinking $250-$500 for what she has done so far (closer to $250 to be honest). especially since at least one other had given us even more detailed design than she did and isnít expecting to be paid if we donít choose them.

    Bids are coming out really really close. (We have gotten two since I wrote this. ). One is $43xxx and one $45xxx. The more expensive has a better design and in-house trades people, plus custom cabinetry. Weíre waiting for all terms but are leaning heavily toward them. Just wish it werenít so high ...

    I think a lot is the market. Itís relatively HCOL and a ton was built 15ish years ago and being turned over and/or just upgraded now.


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  5. #5
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    I feel like it should always be able to be a 3 party plan. A designer. A builder. An architect. Architect draws up the plan. Builder builds that plan. Designer helps you pick out supplies/ finishes (which you can do on your own too if you know what you like- no reason to pay someone to shop for you ). I think if you look outside of design-build firms then you open up more choices. But, I can't tell if you already did that. It doesn't sound like the money is a problem for you though so you probably are looking for ease vs savings. One stop shop certainly does that. My licensed contractor doesn't work with a designer. He is just a builder. And he loved having the architectural drawings to just build from.

    For a rental, do you think high end, custom is necessary? What are the other condos in your complex? We had a bathroom built from scratch (lots of jackhammering of the basement floor!) and we didn't go crazy cheap but didn't go crazy spendy either and it was way, way less than $45k. I know it is all regional though. I would just make sure your upgrades are necessary and in line with the expectations. If you overdo t and expect renters to care enough to pay for your unit vs a cheaper one that might be a gamble. Would you be raising your prices to accommodate the upgrades? You've been thoughtful with your condo stuff based on past posts so I have no doubt you've done your diligence here too.

    Will the #3 people asking for money invoice you? If they don't, how can they expect payment? Just making up a number sounds so weird- on their end, not yours. Poorly run business.

  6. #6
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    Yes. You need to pay her for design time and the CAD guy when you donít use her company. I would pay what she invoices vs what you think and if she didnít say what the amount is, $500-1,000. It is not less than $100 an hour for a designer alone and they add costs for their CAD people as hard out of pocket expenses for them. And it isnít just 30 minutes. To do a decent job they familiarize themselves, designer and even CAD person, a bit with the project and what is required. It isnít just the key strokes. The market in our area is incredibly hard to get a contractor for even much bigger jobs and that drives prices. Also, building supply prices have gone up lots this year with issues of scarcity and not being able to have manufacturing running at full capacity. Weíve been doing addition and refresh to our vacation home and yes, costs are way up for tile, lumber and more (even the leather for custom build furniture is way more $$$).

    No. 3 sounds like a good company from what you posted and Iíve never heard good outcomes from going with the low bid, so Iíd strongly consider using them. And if there are things your husband doesnít like, they can work on the design. There is a huge range in finishes too so may be able to find alternative finishes to help control costs. Good luck, home improvement is hot right now in our market. And $$$$.


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  7. #7
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    Default How much would you pay ?

    Quote Originally Posted by SnuggleBuggles View Post
    Iíd expect to be out about $300-500 for the drawings. Why not use an architect for the plans then simply hand them off to a contractor bs trying to find someone who can do both? Thatís how we did all of our remodels. Our contractor has great skills and could have figured it out but he would never be making CAD drawings for us. Our architect was a friend starting up her business after being a SAHM for 15 years. We didnít have her figure out the HVAC, electrical placement...but my contractor and his licensed workers did fine figuring that out (we werenít looking for anything unusual).
    I think finding 1 person to do it all will be frustrating (which youíre experiencing) and more expensive.
    Iíve only done renovations how I described and only used the same team of people for all (2 bathrooms, laundry room and complete finishing of basement). I am still a rookie.


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    It might be a design build contractor, where they will only do the project if they do the design and all in-house. We have one prominent company like that in our area and weíve twice used them to get bids for two different houses but ended up buying a new house vs remodeling. They are pricier but if good (and our local one does amazing work and design) can be great if you can afford it. We used a great architect for our current project and then bid out the project with architectís guidance and have used architect to oversee it even though the contractor could do it all. The extra expense we could bear and worth it to us to have ďourĒ representative interfacing. Itís gone smoothly so far. It is a big project - I wouldnít need the architect to oversee for a kitchen or bath alone.


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  8. #8
    erosenst is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Thanks for the additional thoughts and inputs.

    Yes - this is technically for the rental although will only have 2-3 renters after itís done. One has rented from us before so the risk is even lower than it would otherwise be. (We can have renters for a minimum of one month.). While I havenít seen pictures of any for sale with a redesigned main bath, itís in line with the current fit and finishes being used in the smaller baths. We donít plan to sell soon either.

    The market is sort of split between design/build people and those that use unlicensed handymen - thatís part of why she is concerned about us ďstealingĒ her design ideas and I also think that drives some of the pricing - thereís a benefit to ďwe get the subs and they show upĒ or ďwe have licensed people in house.Ē As was also pointed out, material prices are driving some of it as well as other just general market conditions. Heard a couple times that five years ago could do a standard 5x8 bathroom for $8-10k and now itís $13-15k.

    Agee that full CAD is a lot of time. This is layout only - no mechanical or electrical. I could and did do variations, with a program I hadnít used before, in 30 minutes. #4 did while at our house - including measurements and she wasnít alone for more than 40 min at most. I also watched the guy for #3 make a couple changes - itís quick. Not trying to undervalue the work - just saying I think the part is part of ďstandard biddingĒ.


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  9. #9
    erosenst is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Ugh on my phone and donít know how to quote easily from a long thread - but about #3 invoicing. Itís a bit unclear, but one more thing that I agree is a bit ďpoorly run businessĒ and makes me nervous / why we are leaning toward #4. I asked twice and didnít get a real answer. In this case I agree with DH that she had the opportunity to tell us a price and didnít so we will pay what we think is fair when/if she invoices and call it a day. Thatís part of why I was asking on input about ďfairĒ.


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  10. #10
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    I agree with the suggestion to just ask number 3 for an invoice. We had a similar situation with a landscape architect that we interviewed and she told me beforehand that she charged $100 an hour for her time just for an initial meet. No one else we interviewed did, and it was a red flag to me that this company wasn't positioned as well as the larger companies and we'd likely be asked to pay for things like equipment rentals for machinery others would have, etc. . . Of course, we did pay her for her time.

    Does this renovation need to be done right now? If I'm reading right, you were quoted $43,000 to 45,000 for the bathroom, is that right? We recently moved to a "new to us" older home that needs a fair amount of work -- we are really focused on what we have to do right now infrastructure wise v. aesthetic improvements because both material costs and labor costs are sky high due to covid and increased demand. I really do think pricing will be better in 18 months or so. Not sure if waiting is an option for you, may also give you opportunity to do more in person.

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