Work Your Budget Like a Senator

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Work Your Budget Like a Senator

When you set out to plan a complex and expensive project such as a kitchen remodel, you need to have a sense of the process that gets you into action. This is always true for a Professional Remodeler, and it’s one way to tell the good guys from the flakes (the Pros will have a process, the flakes will fake it). It’s also applicable to a homeowner who needs to evaluate contractors (and designers) and decide on finance and calendar questions. Here is a simple framework to use, that has worked for GRC for many years, and it’s as simple (I’m not saying easy) as A-B-C. There are many additional considerations, and things to ask yourself before planning a remodel, but here’s the primer:


What do you need to accomplish with your project? What are the most important benefits that make it worthwhile to pursue, despite the disruption to home and family it will pose?


It’s best to think in terms of a range… What have you mentally budgeted for the project? That’s not the same as knowing what you think the project should or will cost, it’s an honest appraisal of the level of investment you’re prepared to make in order to get the benefits you’re after. (Hint: as soon as you trust your remodeler or salesperson, share this range with him or her— it will help get to important decisions more smoothly).


The agreement between your household and the person you award the work to. There’s a paper version, and a goodwill version that exists in both parties’ minds and is upheld through communication.

Now I’m going to tell you something that every buyer knows instinctively, and you should think about consciously: the space between B and C (Budget and Contract) is where the magic happens. That’s why you need to work that budget like a Senator in order to get the very best package you’re willing to pay for. Now I’ve never been a Senator, never will be one, and probably will never play one on TV… but I think I have a basic grasp on what those guys and gals are doing when they put their deals together. They’re trying to set the stage for short term rewards and long term success.

Well… let’s pretend that’s what they’re doing. I’m confident in saying that’s what they’re supposed to do. Once again, the Budget is where the fruit ripens on the vine. If you spend too much time working on the Approach, you’ll arrive at a place where you can’t make any actionable plans because you lack information about what things cost. If you speed into the Contract negotiations, you risk overlooking some aspect of the plans that might otherwise have been flushed out into the open by thoroughly putting together the line-item pricing. Dwell in that middle aisle, keep your constituents’ wishes front-and-center, build an alliance with a contractor who’ll be loyal to you, and bring home the bacon!

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