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Old 01-03-2018, 05:50 PM   #1
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Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


I never feel like I'm cruising through remodels but my subs tell me I knock them out at a good rate. I get about 100 man-hours per week into a kitchen or bath including subs, and 150 or so for larger projects.

I feel like the clients almost demand this, but my new tile sub, who also is a GC (but just an amazing tile setter so he does sub work) has a different approach. He's the same small size operation, but overlaps 5-8 jobs and takes twice as long on all of them. His work is all magazine worthy, maybe a little different league than me, which helps.

In a lot of ways this would be easier. I sometimes do things out of order to hit the completion date the soonest. Other times me and my employee are stuck waiting on a sub, basically not making money.

But when people are washing dishes in the bathroom sink and have a fridge in the living room, they can get impatient. Same applies if they are paying $2500 a month to rent a place while I do a major remodel.

What do you find works best? I haven't been doing this as long as many of you, and I'm first generation, no mentor in all this.
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:26 PM   #2
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Re: Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


I think of everything from the clients point of view and how they perceive things.

The thing that makes them the most angry is for something not to be happening for long periods of time. They generally understand when there is a lag waiting for granite after templating etc., but when they are sitting there without a kitchen and nothing is happening at all for more than a week they typically start getting "anxious".

If your tile guy is purposely spreading things out for some reason, I'd find a new tile guy regardless of how good he is.

Do you make schedules that you give to the clients and all the subs?

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Old 01-03-2018, 06:36 PM   #3
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Re: Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


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I think of everything from the clients point of view and how they perceive things.

The thing that makes them the most angry is for something not to be happening for long periods of time. They generally understand when there is a lag waiting for granite after templating etc., but when they are sitting there without a kitchen and nothing is happening at all for more than a week they typically start getting "anxious".

If your tile guy is purposely spreading things out for some reason, I'd find a new tile guy regardless of how good he is.

Do you make schedules that you give to the clients and all the subs?
Yes I make schedules and everyone sticks to them. I'm very good at that. The sub does too, his are just more spread out. I could offer a more spread out schedule at a lower price compared to my fast pace. I can make more money by stacking more jobs. I'll start running it by new clients.
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:09 AM   #4
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Re: Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


I do things the same way you do, one at a time and on a quick, tight schedule. Typical kitchen or bath is 6 weeks. I too will do things out of order to keep it moving if needed and am more than flexible. My clients love that I can get it done quickly. I think it helps set me apart from most the guys in my area that take months to do the same thing. I guess I could make more if I did a few at a time, just never how I approached it and was how I learned from the guy I used to work with. I find that after about 8 weeks the "thrill" of the remodel wears off for the client and their attitudes begin to turn no matter how well things are coming out. Everyone wants it done yesterday!
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Old 01-07-2018, 11:43 AM   #5
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Re: Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


If I had your money............


If I just did kitchens. I would get a nice pull trailer customer built with a couple of things. (Or get a new basic one) and modify it to be just a kitchen and dinning room. Have a commercial dish washer gas appliances. Comfortable table and chairs for 8. Pimp it out nicely. Not some camper feel. Service things while it's in use (gray water tank. Or propane levels) as your at the job site. Give as a service option price. Or as a back up to counterpoint an issues during remodel. "The granite from Italy is delayed again. Would it help to have a temporary kitchen and dinning room while we wait?"

Bonus would be to use it up at the lake for the day for a party or what ever. Or tailgate at the game.......

Or if I just did bathrooms. Build one with a tile shower. Heated tile floor. Nice area with closet and make up table and such.

Make either unit so nice they will miss it when your done.
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Old 01-07-2018, 03:46 PM   #6
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Re: Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


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If I had your money............


If I just did kitchens. I would get a nice pull trailer customer built with a couple of things. (Or get a new basic one) and modify it to be just a kitchen and dinning room. Have a commercial dish washer gas appliances. Comfortable table and chairs for 8. Pimp it out nicely. Not some camper feel. Service things while it's in use (gray water tank. Or propane levels) as your at the job site. Give as a service option price. Or as a back up to counterpoint an issues during remodel. "The granite from Italy is delayed again. Would it help to have a temporary kitchen and dinning room while we wait?"

Bonus would be to use it up at the lake for the day for a party or what ever. Or tailgate at the game.......

Or if I just did bathrooms. Build one with a tile shower. Heated tile floor. Nice area with closet and make up table and such.

Make either unit so nice they will miss it when your done.
How long have you been on crack?

Who would want to go outside for the bathroom or the kitchen? answer= no one
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Old 01-17-2018, 01:53 PM   #7
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Re: Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


I can do a basic bath reno, with new fixtures, tile floor and surround, in about 90 hours. Plus the plumber and electrician. Kitchens that run over 5
or 6 weeks, that are occupied, cause problems with homeowners. I do them one at a time, and don't drag it out!
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Old 01-17-2018, 06:59 PM   #8
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Re: Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


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I can do a basic bath reno, with new fixtures, tile floor and surround, in about 90 hours. Plus the plumber and electrician. Kitchens that run over 5
or 6 weeks, that are occupied, cause problems with homeowners. I do them one at a time, and don't drag it out!

I can do it in 50 hours . One week solo. Most simple baths take me 3 weeks though. Down to studs, fix framing, new layout etc. But most of my projects are more involved.

My current kitchen, bath, laundry simultaneous remodel is more involved. About 1600 man hours. I'm finishing this week, 9 weeks. I think they're OK with this. Doing them all at once instead of 5, 5 and 2 weeks.

My point is it's hard to compare timeframes since every project is different.
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:46 PM   #9
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Re: Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


THIS is a topic that interests me greatly. To me, gutting and renovating an average-sized bathroom is a 1 1/2 to 2 week proposition; an average-sized kitchen a 2 to 3 week proposition. On small projects like that, I work alone, or have and electrician or plumber sub for one full day at most.

I am currently building a 920 sq ft 2nd floor addition on a brick bungalow, plus complete gut of the 920 sq ft. ground floor. I started demolition on November 6th; by Christmas it was framed, spray foamed, HVAC, electrical and plumbing for three bathrooms and kitchen all done and inspected/passed, exterior stuccoed, interior sheeted and ready for tape/mud (I sub out demolition, framing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, insulation, drywall hanging and finishing, flooring and exterior finishing; I personally do all trim, tile work, painting and cabinetry installation). As of today the three bathrooms are finished; I am finishing the installation of trim and tomorrow will prepping to spray all the cutting-in for final primer and paint. Entire house will be finish painted by middle of next week; hardwood flooring goes in second half of the week, finished by Friday or Monday. I've told the clients they can move into the upstairs by end January if they wish, i.e., at 2 3/4 months from start of demolition.

To me this is just normal pace. I work eight hours a day as do my subs, no weekend work. To me it is incomprehensible why, outside of a "carriage trade" home, a bathroom would take a month, or a kitchen three months, an addition or whole-house renovation eight months or more. Unless you are overlapping a ton of projects (which just pisses off the client), why would any project take this long?

And how does running a bunch of jobs simultaneously do anything for the bottom line, anyway? The OP mentions a fellow contractor with a "small size operation, but overlaps 5-8 jobs and takes twice as long on all of them." I would love to ask that guy, where is the efficiency in that? What's gained by spending a chunk of each day schlepping tools and equipment from jobsite to jobsite (and another chunk of it explaining to the homeowner why nothing has happened since last month)? If my own experience has taught me anything, it's that there are NO economies of scale in home renovation (otherwise a sole prop like me couldn't compete).
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:58 PM   #10
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Re: Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


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To me this is just normal pace. I work eight hours a day as do my subs, no weekend work. To me it is incomprehensible why, outside of a "carriage trade" home, a bathroom would take a month, or a kitchen three months, an addition or whole-house renovation eight months or more. Unless you are overlapping a ton of projects (which just pisses off the client), why would any project take this long?
Because sometimes we do bathrooms that take two guys 5 days just to complete the tile work in a shower.

We have never had a bathroom take a month, but we are on one right now that will be three weeks with two guys there every day not counting the plumber.
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Old 01-17-2018, 11:54 PM   #11
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And how does running a bunch of jobs simultaneously do anything for the bottom line, anyway? The OP mentions a fellow contractor with a "small size operation, but overlaps 5-8 jobs and takes twice as long on all of them." I would love to ask that guy, where is the efficiency in that?
5 jobs simultaneously but twice as long per job is 5/2, or 250% the overall production and theoretically profit as a GC. The trick would be running 5 at the full speed. Not that hard with the right subs. But being on one site full time really makes things move.

8-10 days for a full gut bathroom is pretty hard, but doable. Pretty limited to premade vanity tops, simple tile, doing drywall and tile at the same time, obviously no heavy glass.

11 weeks for the bigger project is no big deal, but I'd probably take longer than that with 24 man hours a day into it.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:04 AM   #12
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I am currently building a 920 sq ft 2nd floor addition on a brick bungalow, plus complete gut of the 920 sq ft. ground floor. I started demolition on November 6th; by Christmas it was framed, spray foamed, HVAC, electrical and plumbing for three bathrooms and kitchen all done and inspected/passed, exterior stuccoed, interior sheeted and ready for tape/mud (I sub out demolition, framing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, insulation, drywall hanging and finishing, flooring and exterior finishing; I personally do all trim, tile work, painting and cabinetry installation). As of today the three bathrooms are finished; I am finishing the installation of trim and tomorrow will prepping to spray all the cutting-in for final primer and paint. Entire house will be finish painted by middle of next week; hardwood flooring goes in second half of the week, finished by Friday or Monday. I've told the clients they can move into the upstairs by end January if they wish, i.e., at 2 3/4 months from start of demolition..

Would love to see pics. See if we're comparing Apples to Apples. Also a factor not really mentioned is if this is an easy to work on 30 or 40 year old, or a 100 year old home.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:08 AM   #13
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Because sometimes we do bathrooms that take two guys 5 days just to complete the tile work in a shower.

We have never had a bathroom take a month, but we are on one right now that will be three weeks with two guys there every day not counting the plumber.
Hall bath I tell them 3-5 weeks. Master baths 4-6. I am on week 8 of one right now. It was a chit storm with the stone fabricator.

My typical master bathroom.

2 guys 2 days demo and prep for rough.

Plumber 1-2 days

Electrical 1-2 days

Framing and Drywall 3 days

Tile 2 days for the floor 3-5 days for the shower or tub

Paint 1-2 days (prime, patch, paint)

Cabinets go in right after paint so that the tops can get measured and fabricated and I don't have to do much cutting around them 1 day

Trim and doors 1 day

Tops are 5-10 days after measure, depending on how busy they are. I have been considering having the tops premade depending on the layout. Seems like it would save some time, but then I would have to deal with them on site for a couple of weeks.

Then glass measure the day after the tops are installed

While waiting for the glass the plumber comes in and trims out 1-2 days usually just one, but lately with the stand alone tubs it spills over into day 2.

We hang accessories and then the glass gets installed

A day of clean up and touch ups and we are done.

So min of 20-23 days of work and then there is some lag waiting for a few things here and there. Sometimes the plumber can't make it out the exact day we are ready, but that is the nature of the beast.

We started one ton the 3rd of this month and will start tiling Monday. Should take a week to tile and then another week to finish. That will be a solid 4 week job that has cabinets and tops on site from day one (they had already purchased).

I can't see doing a master gut in less than 4 weeks.

Hall baths average about 3.5 weeks.

But we also run 3-5 jobs at a time.

I currently have 2 bathrooms, a basement and 4-5 other clients with small items to work on. I will start another bathroom in a few weeks and one every 2 weeks after for the foreseeable future.
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:47 AM   #14
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Re: Occupied Home Remodel Timeframes And Strategy


I'm right in lin with TNT's work hours and I only use a helper for demo, clean up and when I bring in material. And I start one job and stay on it until it's done. (unless there's a long wait for something special order)

Before the holidays I did a complete 110sf basement bathroom makeover, down to the studs, tore out the big ugly 1980s corner tub and framed and constructed a 60x36 walk-in shower. I got rid of her dropped ceiling, framed it for drywall, plumbed it, Mud, tape and texture and painted, added some new lighting and switches, new toilet, made her two closets too. I tiled shower and the floor (mid grade material and patterns), installed new vanity/top and all fixtures, towel racks, grab bars, etc etc. I even decorated it and hung pictures and knick-knack things for her. I'm meticulous about keeping track of my hours and had a close 160 hours on it. I work about 35 hours per week so overall it took me close to 5 weeks. Alone 90% of the time.

She a nice older Jewish gal and is remodeling her basement to live in. She lets her 40 year old mooching-non-working- yogaboy-of-a-son live upstairs. She wants me to build her a small kitchen down there next.

Most bath and kitchen remodel jobs (complete remods) seem to always run in the 5-8 week range. I'm not looking to win any races and enjoy what I do. I make a point to always keep their rooms somewhat functional if I can and always make sure I have their water and electric back on before I go for the day. I'll even leave the toilet in place until I'm ready for flooring just in case they choose to use . Plus I have a place to take a chit too ! And I'll set up a temporary working kitchen sink where they can wash dishes, etc.

Tile always seems to take me longer than I plan. And then throw in those "unforeseen circumstances" that arise out of freaking nowhere.

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Old 01-19-2018, 12:33 PM   #15
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How long have you been on crack?

Who would want to go outside for the bathroom or the kitchen? answer= no one
If they had other bathrooms in the house or not living in the home during remodel then a outside unit wouldn't be needed now would it. But the thread isn't asking about empty homes.

So customer with one bath type house is fine without bathroom for a week?........but they want the nice tile shower and heated floor!

Alot of houses here with one bath so it's always a challenge.

Sure people can do without a kitchen for a while but they are always put out with interrupting the program of Dailey life.


That's why people are falling for that bathroom in a day program. The do an overlay of crap on everything. Plastic liners on tubs and horse**** like that. The volume of online complaints is amazing.

Where I am there are only a few contractors doing 100k kitchen remodels. The rest of the area are people who bought a 150k to 200k house 10 to 20 years ago. Tell them the remodel will be more then 20k and they faint. No one is buying a 300k house today and putting a 100k kitchen in it.

Here things take longer then usual. Smaller pool of quality subs and their priority is small commercial jobs and 100k kitchens. So either wait on their list to get them or do the work yourself. Either takes a little longer to do. But things may be different in your area.

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