Last fall, a CNBC article authored by Sam Dogen caught my eye. The title, “Expect your home remodeling to ‘cost 50% more and take 50% longer,’ says finance expert,” intrigued me and, yes, also got under my skin.

At first glance, the title alone seemed ridiculous—why would a financial expert be casting such a dark shadow on an entire industry, one made up of many companies that are truly honest and trying to help homeowners? It’s not an accurate characterization of the whole industry, and many professional remodelers reading this right now would be happy to share any and all of their client references to prove it.

There’s no denying that remodeling and construction trades have been commoditized for decades. While choosing between a better, faster, or cheaper focus leaves most businesses crafting a “better” differentiator, many construction trades and general contractors continue to try to be either cheaper or faster, often believing that being both is the best way to secure work to feed their families. This leaves them in the position of being the lowest bidder. Low dollars get the job, and then they try to cover the potential losses by either cutting corners or adding charges.

That, however, is a recipe for a customer-service disaster and also a “business 101” failure; businesses that choose this strategy are why the remodeling industry is often considered the dregs of professional construction, and why articles like Sam Dogen’s get written. The construction industry and buyers have perpetuated a market in which the lowest bidder sets the standard for what a job should cost, creating a misperception of what projects actually cost. This does a huge disservice to both our clientele and our industry.

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