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Are Cost Effective Subcontractors Really Cost Effective?

By Ryan Siebert

As a general contractor I find myself often and the dilemma of choosing the best subcontractor and making my clients budget work. Often times when building a custom home we have to make a decision that fits the clients budget, or we do not get the business at all. Today I’d like to discuss the importance Of understanding the types of subcontractors that your general contractor can utilize for your custom Naperville kitchen, bathroom, basement or new home build project.

“Wow, They Are Expensive.”

The top-of-the-line subcontractors know their business hands down. Their systems are flawless, the quality is second to none, the communication is always spot on. Typically these subcontractors come with a full-time administrative assistant who keeps everyone organized. Their field operations reps are top-quality. They tell you how they’re going to install, and do not wait for you to suggest how to get the job accomplished. Sounds great, right?  However, these crews have overhead to pay for.  In other words, these subcontractors are expensive. I’ve been in this business for over 12 years now and I have yet to run across a client who didn’t pay attention to their bottom line for custom home building, regardless of their net worth. I’d love to use high-quality subcontractors for every single one of my traits but unfortunately the numbers don’t always make financial sense.

“How Do They Do It For That Price?” 

Second level of subcontractors is the group that has not quite figured out how to run a business. They have the knowledge, they have the manpower, but they haven’t figured out the organizational structure. This makes their prices competitive, but there is a lack of follow through. Whether it’s systemization or they’re just not quite ready to scale the business up, these subcontractors will be the ones that start off great and cannot complete the job.  This doesn’t affect your bottom line for pricing, however, sticking to a timeline is not going to happen.

Do you want to know the process of building a custom home from start to finish? Click here!

“I Got a Guy.”

The unicorns of the custom homebuilder industry are the ones that are excellent at what they do and have a great price. The quality is top notch. These are rare and as I always tell my project management team when we find them we have to hold onto them and keep them busy. The challenge with these subcontractors, is they are often running a one man band operation. Using them on every project is not possible. Expecting them to know all the details of a complicated project is not going to happen. I often get a high-quality product with a great price, but a lack of order giving. Typically these contractors our order takers. That means myself and often my clients are going to be involved in helping make the decision of exactly what steps need to be taken to get the work done. When it comes to crunching numbers in creating a budget that makes sense these guys are great. However, if you need someone to guide you from start to finish your project I try to avoid bringing these guys on the job site.

Part of my job as your general contractor is to help you understand what is most important to you. Budget, quality, timelines? We do our best to give you all of those things, but often times decisions are made knowing what’s most important to you so we can help make your experience one that you’ll be proud of, and of course refer us for business.

Hey if you’re looking to do a custom product of your own I would love to help you out. Whether it’s a bathroom basement kitchen home addition or a full new construction house we are able to flex and help you with whatever project may be on your to do list. Give me a call or text my cell phone 847-602-7641.

countertops

What Type of Kitchen Countertop Should You Choose?

What Type of Kitchen Countertop Should You Choose?

How are you supposed to remodel your kitchen without knowing the kitchen countertops?  With nearly all of my Naperville kitchen renovations the clients hit a bottleneck in the process when it comes time to select the kitchen countertops. So to help today I put together a list of kitchen countertop choices.

Countertop

Granite Countertops

Granite countertops, once a mainstay of homes for only the rich and famous, are common in many homes today.  Granite kitchen countertops are a natural stone that is forms under the ground from volcanic pressurization. You can view a great article on the process of how granite is formed today and how the production technology dramatically dropped the price by following this link via Marble.com.

Countertops

When dealing with clients the ones that love granite are looking for a very customized piece, something that no one else will have.  With the natural stone selection the odds of having the exact slab are slim to none. Where clients will get frustrated when choosing granite for their kitchen countertops is blending the natural veins together for their kitchen.  Most countertop fabricators will be able to match up the lines the way you want them, but the odds are you will need to be willing to make some sacrificing, especially if you want fancy edging done to your countertops.

Custom Renovation

Quartzite and Quartz Countertops

They are one in the same right? WRONG Quartzite kitchen countertops are also a natural stone.  This is a sandstone that also forms over time from the heat pressure in the ground. Quartz on the other hand is a man made stone.  The funny thing about quartz is that manufacturers are getting better about making their man made product look more natural. Recently the quartz and quartzite countertops have taken over in popularity.  The natural thought is that they are more expensive, but it is not always the case. Quartzite, like granite will have inconsistencies in the veining and overall appearance from stone to stone. Quartz is known for being more uniform with veining and designs, which allows you to make easier choices when selecting a stone that you like. MSI, one of the leading stone suppliers has a great article on the difference between the two here.

Countertops

What you will find with stone selections, granite, quartzite and quartz is the selection process can be frustrating.  There are only a few places to pick out the physical slabs of stone, yet there are hundreds of fabricators out there. I recommend finding a knowledgeable representative that can walk you through the process and help make your selection enjoyable.  

Epoxy Countertops

One other style of countertops that I am seeing a lot of attention for lately is epoxy kitchen countertops. Much like finished basements and garage flooring epoxy countertops are becoming a very popular and economical choice. There are not as many professionals available who offer this service, but it is something that looks fantastic when completed.  Also, this is something for you DIYers out there that you can try on your own. I recommend looking at Countertop Epoxy and their methods so you can learn the steps and tips they offer.  They provide incredible knowledge for FREE on how to use epoxy for your project.  

As always, if you are looking for more information and ways that you can custom renovate or custom build you own home please feel free to reach out to us and we would love to partner with you. Ryan@SGHomeBuilders.com

ceiling

What Will The Future Ceiling Look Like?

The Best Ceiling for Your Custom Renovation

For a lot of my Naperville renovation work clients are telling me they want open concept homes. That’s great but with open concept you have to be able to designate areas using the ceiling. This can be done with light fixtures for the different textures for the ceiling material. Below is a list of different request that we get from our renovation and custom home building project.

Coffered Ceiling‘s
Ceilings 
Coffered ceilings are very trendy and also take a classic look in appeal to them. We typically get clients are requesting the coffered ceilings to help define that open space. The dining room is a great place to use coffered ceilings.  The extra millwork and combined with wainscoting can give a very detailed look. The ceilings can come in different sizes shapes but the most popular comes and symmetrical squares. The cost for adding coffered ceilings vary in range. The reason for the range often times comes in the preparation and planning. If you are able to make the selection for coffered ceilings while you’re home is still being framed then your builder can design and prep the area well ahead of time. This allows the builder to properly add electric and reinforce the area before installation. Where we see a lot of clients get frustrated is when they want to add the conference feelings after we’ve already installed the drywall. Hey, we are your contractor, but please do not kill the messenger.  This means we are now affecting electrical we are affected potentially plumbing and HVAC work but it’s hidden behind the drywall. Most importantly we have to be able to reinforce those beams and secure them. Adding the coffered wood material over top of the drywall is not always the most efficient way to do it.

Tray Ceilings

Tray ceilings give you more room added depth, or ceiling height. It’s what we like to call a way of cheating to add height in your room. You often see this in bedrooms on the second level. Your ceiling height maybe only 8 feet but by adding a tray ceiling in the bedroom you were now raising the height to a 9 foot plus level. Added height gives the perception of a larger room and for you canopy bed lovers allows you to put that big bed up without having to worry about hitting the ceiling. The cost for adding a tray ceiling is very minimal. There are a little bit more particular ways to install the drywall, but overall the cost is very effective to your budget. You can add multiple layers to your tray ceilings like we did in one of our custom home building projects in Naperville in the picture below. I particularly love this as it shows the skills of our framers are electrician and our painters and carpenters all in one shot.

ceiling

Vaulted Ceilings

There are very few custom home building conversations I have with a client doesn’t ask for a vaulted ceiling somewhere on their main level. It does make sense most of the grandiose houses that we grow up seeing on movies and television have an open huge ceiling space. The challenge I have with vaulted ceilings comes down to your budget. Using common sense and math, having a vaulted ceiling on your main level means you likely are not going to be on able to build any square footage above that space on the second level. As I often find myself telling my clients it’s much easier on your budget for me to build up rather than to build wide.

Unfinished Ceilings

For some of my Chicago suburb clients they hate the thought of a main level unfinished ceiling. Often times we have a discussion with our Naperville finished basement clients about leaving the ceilings unfinished. This allows us to go after that industrial looking ceiling. Think of being in a restaurant or bar with the ceiling unfinished allowing you to see the duct work, electric, and any structural beams. The possibilities are endless with how you can design the ceiling to give yourself something very unique. I am a big fan of the rustic look and on top of the fact that it will save you money. By not paying for the ceiling to be finished and choosing to paint those beams and you can save between $2,000.00- $5,000.00 in your basement.

Who knows what the trend of ceilings will be in the future.  Maybe the main level will go away from the traditional white ceilings like you see in specialty rooms such a powder room or dining room. I don’t think think we will see popcorn ceilings come back anytime soon or drop ceilings in the basement. At least I hope not.

More information about how to custom build a custom remodel space of your own. Please email me ryan@sghomebuilders.com. Thanks so much and have a great day.