A Detailed Job Scope: The Window Sticker of a Home Remodel

plastic house with contract

What makes a home remodel successful? Surely, there are many components, but one of the most important aspects of a home remodel starts prior to the demolition phase even commencing. A successful remodel begins with a well-written contract, as it’s the backbone to any remodeling project.

A well-written contract is made up of several vital factors, but of the many elements it entails, a detailed job scope is the most significant. A detailed job scope carefully outlines the entire remodeling project, and clearly defines what a homeowner is purchasing. Leaving no stone unturned, this line-by-line summary outlines the step-by-step components of all work to be completed, as well as expressing what is not included and what is to remain untouched. In layman’s terms, a detailed job scope expresses how to get from point A. to point B., with respect to your remodeling project.

Consider this: when shopping for a car, you’re able to see the car, test drive the car, and learn about the car by its window sticker. With these factors, you’re presented with the car’s purchase price. That window sticker, though seemingly a minor detail, is required by law to be present on all new vehicles in the United States, as it informs the buyers of what precisely they are purchasing, and moreover, what is and isn’t included in the car.

Now, compare this to a bathroom remodel. Some contractors, like ourselves, offer design services so that homeowners can visualize what their renovation can potentially look like. Some contractors may even go as far as to provide a cost based on the renderings provided. Still, pictures alone cannot properly support what a homeowner is purchasing, and most importantly, what is and isn’t included. That’s where we think of our window sticker analogy. A detailed job scope is essentially the window sticker of a home remodel. It carefully, and meticulously, describes each detail of the remodel. Like a car’s window sticker, based on the information provided, a price is then, and only then, able to be expressed.

When developing a detailed job scope, it’s imperative that we are thorough and write with clarity. Doing so eliminates the gray area and ambiguity that can be present with remodeling. It also helps safeguard the homeowner’s investment. With a detailed job scope, a homeowner is able to understand and appreciate the project at hand. Therefore, it reduces miscommunication & errors, and rather, builds trust and confidence in both the project and contractor.

Shockingly still, homeowners every day will invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in remodeling projects that either doesn’t include a detailed job scope or has one that’s written poorly. Remember our bathroom remodel? In that bathroom, we wouldn’t just say that we’re going to drywall and paint. We would write in the job scope that we are installing moisture-resistant drywall; fastening all drywall with screws; taping all seams and applying three of coats of compound; feathering new drywall into existing as required; wiping down all drywall prior to painting, and applying two coats of Benjamin Moore Regal Select with an eggshell finish. See the difference?  It’s more—way more—than just writing down each step, but rather, being specific, precise, and clear with what will happen among each step throughout the project; again, how we get from point A. to point B.

A successful remodel begins with a well-written contract. And, amongst the contract should there always be a detailed job scope. It is the window sticker of a home remodel and is rightly imperative. We at DBS not only believe in the value that a detailed job scope provides, but also that a homeowner should not invest in any home remodeling project without one! There’s no ambiguity with it; a homeowner knows precisely what they are purchasing, and therefore, can feel confident in their project!

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Check out our Education page to learn more about the in’s & out’s of remodeling, including “What’s an Estimate?”

Read: “Four Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid”