Do you have a spreadsheet to help me manage my remodel?

26 min read Spreadsheets are the secret ingredient that takes you from planning a remodel to project managing one. Yours should look like this:

Once you have a Master Plan, how do you get ready to work with contractors? Put another way … how do you transition from the planning phase to the doing phase of your remodel? (The secret is going to be a spreadsheet!)

For some people this means finding a trustworthy organization to handoff your entire project to and go back to your life. But what if you are planning on being a bit more hands on and self-managing? Or even planning to DIY some big chunks of your remodel?

Either way, you need a few tools to help you be the boss your remodel from the planning phase right through until the punch list.

Planning a successful remodel requires spreadsheets

You’ll need a centralized spot to help you organize your tasks, create a timeline of the work and store information. Depending on your personality and preferences, you might keep track by hand in a three ring binder or a bullet journal. If you have a project management system you already use for work or life, that’s a great place to start. I’ve used Trello in the past and currently use Asana. Or you might just use a host of interconnected Google Docs. 

Those are just three potential means for staying organized. None of these are the correct way to do it. It’s really about what works for you.

Your project organization system should include a few Key Documents. (These can be electronic or hard copy, but electronic options like Google Docs and Sheets are great for sharing!):

  • Style Guide
  • Project Area List
  • Scope of Work (for each room or phase)
  • Bid Comparison Form
  • Schedules 

Let’s dig a little deeper! You’re going to want:

Image of an array of spreadsheets for remodel management on a yellow background

A Style Guide (to simplify your material choices)

Your style guide will be in whatever format works best for you. It should include existing materials you are keeping/matching and material sheets for each area. You can also document ideas you hope to implement and any notes about those.

Learn all about setting up a style guide right here!

A Project Areas List (to help you prioritize)

This project area idea list breaks down what specialties would be involved in what parts of your project. You might organize it by project phases or areas of the house, depending on how you plan to complete the work. break it down by perhaps phases or areas of the house, things you want to address. Who might be involved demolition, framing and structural people in mechanical engineering, plumbing, drywall and painting, you can start to think about how are certain areas of your house gonna be much more complex requiring plumbing and electrical work like a kitchen or a bathroom, and how others might just be more cosmetic changes.

A Scope of Work (for clear communication and matching bids)

A Scope of Work document doesn’t necessarily need to be a spreadsheet it could be chunk of written paragraphs, but you want to keep it scannable. So easily bite sized. The outcome of a master plan is mostly graphic. It’s a floor plan marked up with some annotations or a perspective drawing or a photograph, similarly marked up with a few notes about what you hope to change. But it also really helps to give contractors or anyone you’re planning to work with a verbal list, a bullet point list or a set of paragraphs about the things you plan to do change, and how you would like that person you’re speaking to whether they’re a general contractor or a subcontractor, what parts they will be responsible for.

Image of a project scope spreadsheet for remodel management on a yellow background

A Bid Comparison Form (to compare apples to apples)

Collect and compare bid information that resulted from sharing the scopes of work.

Image of a project bid form spreadsheet for remodel management on a yellow background

A set of Schedules (product and material lists to keep your purchasing and pricing on track)

A “schedule” is just a fancy word for spreadsheet

What I’m going to refer to today as a spreadsheet is also known in the construction industry as a schedule. They are the same thing. Just a grid. A list of vertical line items of types of objects or elements and horizontal rows of information about those objects or elements. So I’m going to say spreadsheet, a contractor will probably call it a schedule, you could just call it a list. It’s not that scary.

You are likely to create a number of schedules for the whole project that include all of one type of object or element. For example a door schedule includes a vertical list of all the doors you’ll be installing. And the rows include information about the dimensions of each door, what kind of door handle and the finish.You may have a similar list for windows that includes each window and indicates the type of window, the manufacturer, the way it operates, and finishes. 

Depending on your project, you may have a schedule of doors, windows, plumbing fixtures, paint colors, tile types, and more.  

In Today’s Episode You’ll Hear:

  • How to feel like the boss of your remodel, from the planning phase through the punch list.
  • Which key tools you need to keep your remodel on track. 
  • Why spreadsheets are your remodel’s BFF. 

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Resources for Remodeling Spreadsheets

And you can always…

Read the Full Transcript

A question I get on many days and in many ways is how to get ready to work with contractors how to transition yourself from the planning phase to the doing phase of your remodel. Now for some people this means finding a trustworthy organization to handoff your entire project to and go back to your life.

For others, it might mean tracking down a person who can handle some projects while you do others off your checklist over the next couple of years. Regardless of the outcome you’re seeking, there are a couple of common factors and the Master Plan process is designed to help you with all of them. So today, let’s talk about how to prepare for project management using the best tools and strategies for you and for your project. Spoiler alert, we’re going to talk about some spreadsheets today.

Hey there, welcome back to mid mod remodel. This is a show about updating MCM homes helping you match a mid-century home to your modern life. I’m your host Della Hansmann architect and mid-century ranch enthusiast, you’re listening to Episode 1710.

Since we’re gonna be talking about project management, which means designers working with contractors, I thought I would highlight a beautiful contractor designer relationship that’s important here in the Madison area. That is the collaboration between Frank Lloyd Wright and Marshall Erdman. Erdman got started in his construction Empire by building a house for and with his family with the collaboration of his wife Joyce in 1947.

While they were both still in university, they bought a lot in Sunset village for $1,000 and started in on the labor themselves while still attending classes at UW Madison. Soon, the project turned from personal to professional. Someone saw the building and offered to buy the house when it was finished. They sold it for $14,000 and bought three more lots, a contractor’s business was formed. By that summer, they had six houses under construction, never let them say they weren’t industrious.

And just two years later, Erdman found himself as the contractor selected to work with Frank Lloyd Wright to construct the Unitarian meetinghouse, which is a stunning building a national historic landmark and a building you should just go Google immediately. I can’t possibly describe it to you. But the question is, did he get that job because he was the right man for the job or because he was too innocent to know what a complete hassle it was going to be? Didn’t matter to him.

Wright was an idol of his and he was going to make this happen no matter what. The story of this construction is typically right. It was immensely complex to build dogged by design changes that made the structure iffy. He insisted on having a six foot high entry vestibule, matching his own height and told the people occupying the church that they would just bow to enter his church if they were taller than six feet and good luck to them.

Erdman himself had to eventually cash in his own life insurance policy to raise the money to put the copper on the roof to finish the building. It must have been beyond stressful and exhausting, but it also made his name as a Madison builder. And the process of working with Wright did not turn him off. It pushed his interest in creative construction. Erdman was obsessed from early in his career with kit homes and prefabricated construction.

He designed a line of kit homes, self-built homes that he called the uniform at houses, which again, are well worth a Google, they were meant to get a custom look while cutting costs and doing it yourself. By 1955. He had 10 designs and a rush of customers and a factory producing these kits to go out right was paying attention.

He once called Erdman Italia as an apprentice who had gotten out of paying a lot of his dues. That’s such a radian way to put it. He followed along on our admins career development and would often just pop in on his construction office sometimes to socialize and sometimes to use the telephone.

Here’s a fun right anecdote taken from the book on common sense, the life of Marshall Erdman, which I was very kindly gifted by one of Erdman’s grandchildren. The anecdote is that right would come to the OpenOffice to use the telephone because there was only a payphone out at Taliesin. That’s because right had skipped his phone bill. So many times the phone company wouldn’t install anything else.

Eventually hanging around the urban office made right curious about this prefabricated house project. He went out to see the construction factory and he wanted to look at the plans. He wasn’t super impressed. So Erdman invited him to design a better version. This was never exactly budget friendly, and only a few of them were actually ever built something about the combination between it being a right home, but still, prefab just seemed to be a Venn diagram with not enough desired parties.

Although I should say I had a chance to tour both of the built examples that are here in Madison during the right unlike tour a couple of years ago and they are astonishing spaces, full of charming details and well executed moments. I’m not sure I would class either as replicable or practical as homes, but they’re so stunning I can’t bring myself to care.

After Wright’s death, Erdman continued to expand his business into more and more prefabricated spaces you eventually made his fortune with hitting on the idea of practical, stylish, prefabricated doctor’s offices. And this endeavor he tended to work with architect William Kaeser. He went on to prove his prefab designs for school buildings, a number of the grad student housing units out at Eagle heights.

His legacy today is an architecture and engineering firm that specializes in healthcare and senior living facilities. But in my opinion, the more interesting legacy is the array of charming modest, mid-century buildings around Madison, Wisconsin, you’ll find them in nearly every neighborhood in nearly every part of the city. I don’t know that I would hold up right in Edmonds dynamic as the healthiest of relationships. But together, they put together some amazing buildings. So there’s that.

As always, you’ll find the notes for the references I’m going to make today and an outline a transcript of this conversation on the website show notes page at mid mod dash midwest.com/ 1710. Let’s get into it.

So our topic today is really how to stay in charge to feel in charge of your remodel from the planning phase right through until the punch list. The Punch List, if you’re not familiar, is both a meeting and a document that catches everything that might be left undone any little scratches on the walls, any flaw in the wiring anything you notice, as you go through the house together, you the owner, and the contractor, often also the designer, if that’s the way you’re working to assess the finality of the project before it’s wrapped and done.

Now, if you’re taking on parts of your remodel as DIY, you might still want to schedule a punch list meeting with yourself and your partner perhaps or an accountability buddy. To keep you honest, it’s a hallmark of DIY remodels. And I am 1,000% guilty of this, that those last little details never get really wrapped up. Because once it gets pretty close, you just start living in the space and you get busy and your attention goes elsewhere.

So you want to stay invested and stay on top of the process from start to finish. So you feel confident about the outcome the whole time. Now what that looks like, it’s going to be very different depending on what kind of relationship you have with your contractor. What type of contractor you work with, the more comprehensive a general contractor you select going all the way up to a design build firm that has a coordinated team, all under one umbrella of designers, managers, estimators, builders, jobsite bosses, in house crews and subcontractors, all of the things.

And oops, it’s been years and you still haven’t put trim around the inside of the new door to the garage. That’s me, not new. Anyway, if you’ve got questions about how to run a punch list meeting, or participate in one, Google is probably gonna have a better answer for you than I can in this episode scope. But the point is from start to finish, regardless of who is physically doing the work and who is officially managing it, you are the person who owns your house, who is going to live in it forever.

If that’s the situation you choose, then staying in charge of the project on your part will probably just consist of meeting regularly with the person that they have put in charge of your process and getting their thorough and comprehensive updates. They will keep you apprised of how things are going.

And you can listen carefully, look around to make sure you understand what’s going on. And to make sure that it’s continuing to match your dreams for the project, then nod your head and go about your business and sleep peacefully at night. On the other end of the self-managed to fully outsourced managed spectrum, if you’re doing all of the labor yourself, are perhaps the slightly more stressful actually managing some subcontractors and working with them and then doing some of the work on your own.

Because that just involves more people and more moving parts, you’re going to want to be very invested in the status of every part of the project. On a daily basis, you’ll want to be able to reflect back on how things have been going. So you can make reasonably accurate predictions about future timing, have all your supplies and labor lined up in a timely manner. And be very aware of the status of the project right now, wherever now is.

So the advice I’m going to share today is general by necessity. But basically, we’re talking about that transition moment from documentation and thinking and planning that you’ve prepared for yourself or you’ve hired someone like me to prepare for you to working with a new group of people yourself in builder mode or contractors to transition from possibilities into answers. All right.

Another way to put this question is how to transition from master planning to project management. When you finish creating the master plan, how do you manage project implementation? Within my homeowner advice program ready to remodel. There are several places where I teach on this topic. And I give advice about how to organize and gather and keep track of your ideas as you go on through construction.

Depending on your personality and preferences, you might keep track of this all by hand in a three ring binder or a bullet journal, you might use an online organizational tool like Trello. Or you might just use a host of interconnected Google Docs. That’s three potential means for staying organized. Now, none of these are the correct way to do it. It’s really about what works for you.

So I would say personally Trello is something I’ve read commended for yours because it’s what I used myself for my personal and my business project management. In the early days of my business while I was working solo, it’s a good system for keeping track of things in one computer in one brain. But if you have another project management system you already use for work, for example, Monday, airtable, Asana, there are a bunch of these online project management tracking systems, whatever you’re familiar with, could be used in almost exactly the same way that I want us to Trello.

These days, I use Asana, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter what program you choose, it matters that you have an affinity for it, and that you can keep information in it. And you can link one piece of information to another in a smooth way. So I think what’s better is to sort of keep that hub of information, whatever it is, one Google doc one Trello file, and link out to other digital documents. I would recommend this strongly unless you are a solely pen and paper type of person for your mental stability.

Think about some sort of editable document for these days. That’s probably a Google Doc. Now, Google docs are certainly the love language of the ready to remodel program. I offer all of our workbooks outlines, action trackers and templates and google doc forum paired with video lessons and pep talks inside of the portal. Because they’re so easy to share, easy to add to easy to send someone a link to something they can view or they can edit or they can comment upon. And all of those things are very easy to micro control.

Similarly, I like to use Google Sheets as a way to track the lists the spreadsheets, the schedules of a remodel. So let’s get into the nitty gritty of project management and remodel. And this is where you’re going to need a spreadsheet. There are really only two kinds of people in the world, the kind that love hearing that I’m going to talk about spreadsheets, and the kind that want to turn this podcast off and literally run from their device screaming at those words. Now, if you’re the latter, hang on just a minute, I’m sorry, this isn’t going to be the most fun for you, I promise, but it can be painless.

What I’m going to refer to today as a spreadsheet is also known in the construction industry as a schedule. It’s the same thing as just a grid, a list of vertical line items, types of objects, like doors, windows, faucets, paint color, tile types, and more and horizontal rows of information like dimensions of the door, what kind of handle the type of window, the manufacturer, the way it operates, the standard paint, color, and so forth. So I’m going to say spreadsheet, a contractor will probably call it a schedule, you could just call it a list. It’s not that scary.

For those who do like spreadsheets. Hello, my kindred spirits, this is an episode for you. It’s marvelous to meet you. And I’m just going to list off a couple of the types of spreadsheets I use, and that I recommend to my master planned clients into the ready tree model students that they use. But these can be adapted, you can make your own, you can search online and find examples. For everyone who’s been a client or a student of mine, you have access to template copies that you can work with. In that collection of templates, I have a couple of different starter documents.

The first one is just an area idea list, something that you might use to break down what specialties would be involved in what parts of your project. You might break it down by perhaps phases or areas of the house, things you want to address. Who might be involved demolition, framing and structural people in mechanical engineering, plumbing, drywall and painting, you can start to think about how are certain areas of your house gonna be much more complex requiring plumbing and electrical work like a kitchen or a bathroom, and how others might just be more cosmetic changes.

You might be able to break the project apart into different phases. As you’ve done your master plan, thinking, you wanted to be thinking about everything you could ever do to the house and how it went together comprehensively. But when you transition into project management, you need to decide whether it’s all happening this year, or it’s going to happen this year and next year and the year after that. So the area idealist can be really helpful for that sort of breakdown.

You’re also as you start to get into the pricing and the nitty gritty of things going to be talking to more than one contractor, you might if you’re self-managing a project be talking to a number of contractors in different categories, a number of different plumbers, a number of different electricians and so forth. This can easily get out of hand as you wait for people to get back to you. As you try to assess how long it’s been since they did get back into contact with you who your point person was who you spoke to last time, what they recommended any initial information they gave you. It’s really handy to keep a call log and a contractor tracking spreadsheet.

So you can see who you’ve talked to and when and what your next steps might be in each case. And again, this can be written out by hand happen in a spreadsheet, in your favorite work mode. It could be Excel, it could be numbers. I’m an apple person, but I just use Google Docs or a Google Sheet. The next thing is a document you are going to assign outwards. You’re going to put this together thinking about what you want to do and give it to somebody else.

A Scope of Work document doesn’t necessarily need to be a spreadsheet it could be chunk of written paragraphs, but you want to keep it scannable. So easily bite sized. The outcome of a master plan is mostly graphic. It’s a floor plan marked up with some annotations or a perspective drawing or a photograph, similarly marked up with a few notes about what you hope to change. But it also really helps to give contractors or anyone you’re planning to work with a verbal list, a bullet point list or a set of paragraphs about the things you plan to do change, and how you would like that person you’re speaking to whether they’re a general contractor or a subcontractor, what parts they will be responsible for.

So a document like this can be really helpful for that sort of work. As you go forward. Once you’ve handed out project scopes, you’re gonna go forward and start to collect feedback on what people are telling you about the outcome of those scopes. And this where I like to do a contractor project bid form. Now, this is going to be useful for you. Mostly, if you are doing up to a certain level of contractor scope, or a contractor scale. If you are looking for subcontractors and comparing apples to apples there.

Or if you’re working for general contractors working with general contractors who are going to give you a price proposal before you start working with them. This will be most useful if your type of contractor of preference is going to be more on the design build. And that kind of firm organizes themselves such that you have to choose to work with them first, go through a further design refinement process, and then get to a point where they’ll tell you what the project is going to cost. They can’t give you a number in advance because they have built it into their system to know more and more details about your project before they put numbers onto it.

There’s nothing actually right or wrong about a contractor that gives you a bid before you sign a proposal or one that wants to go through a design process before they can give you a final number, it kind of depends on your preference. From their perspective, it’s just the way that they run their business. And for you, it can be more confidence inspiring to know that you’ve gotten good vibes from a contractor. And you want them to fully handle and flush out the project, rather than to get hard numbers and choose maybe more at the beginning of the project to work with someone based on a bottom line.

The thing about those initial bid scopes is that sometimes it’s hard to compare apples to apples, one contract or more products may price more conservatively, leaving bigger bubbles for what you’re asking for. And one might be more aggressive. And, quote, you’re really low bid, knowing that later, they might bump up the price for things that you asked for, or anything that’s sort of fuzzy in the scope.

So there’s never a really perfect way to choose a contractor. Other than that they have an excellent reputation that you’ve seen other projects that you like that they’ve done, that the clients of those projects have good things to say about them, and that you personally have a good vibe from that person. But if you are going through the process. So going back to my spreadsheets topic, if you’re going through the process of asking several contractors or particularly several subcontractors to give you bids for a scope of work, then you want to compare those bids together.

So you want to have a really clear scope of work you’ve given them so that you know you’re getting back apples to apples comparisons. And one way to confirm that is to break down the information that they give you rather than one ballpark number, the estimate for the electrical work in the kitchen, the estimate for the electrical work in other parts of the house, or you want to look at what they had to say about the cost for roof framing versus millwork, labor versus wall and trim casing versus insulation.

And as you pull those pieces apart, you can then look at the information you get from one from two from three contractors and compare them against each other. That’s where I like to put in alternate of the bid contractor form and have a bid Comparison Form where I can line up the numbers I got from three different contractors and compare them apples to apples. Now, you cannot just send a spreadsheet to a contractor and ask them to fill it in your way, you’re going to have to get this information out of them yourself and then put it in yourself.

But it can be a really handy way to look at least the numerical comparison of one firm to another. It’s still gonna be very important when you’re thinking about project management and who you want to trust with your project to think about the scope of work that you’ve asked for and how the size and management type and communication style and skill set of the firm you’re talking to will handle it. The bottom line you get at Bid Time is not necessarily even going to be the cheapest project and it certainly might not be the best one.

The more you are in charge of managing the project rather than handing it off to a general contractors, sort of job site lead or estimator or project manager, you’re going to want to be in charge of timelines as well. So you might think about using a species of a Gantt chart to track every phase of your remodel. A Gantt chart just lists each task that’s involved in a project vertically and arranges them along a timeline horizontally and indicates where tasks are dependent on each other. So you can’t put on the siding before you have framed out the new space.

For example, that kind of relationship It helps you decide what tasks are dependent on what others, and then keep track of what needs to happen working backwards towards now, so that you don’t get behind at a crucial point in the project. Again, depending on your relationship with the project management of your remodel, you might need to track this information in order to ensure yourself that things are gonna go smoothly. Or you might just want to have your own way of tracking it following along separately from the contractors’ team.

So you have a sense of what’s going to come up next and can observe the future without controlling it. I’m not going to go more deeply into specific project management software’s but there are a number of dedicated options out there, they are unlikely to be necessary. In the case of you being the project manager of your own single house residential remodel, you can do all of that with your favorite spreadsheet, Excel, Mac numbers, or Google Sheets. If you do work with a larger contractor firm, they may have an in house type of project management spreadsheet, or software that they use, in which case, ask them to give you a tutorial and lean in on that.

So I have been talking about how spreadsheets to be really useful for looking at the way you are communicating with people the price of work, and the management of labor. But also maybe the most important type of spreadsheet is the schedule is the list of products, the way to track every single product selection, that’s going to end up in your finished home. And before I get into that spreadsheet, let me remind you that we have to walk before we can run. And I don’t want you to make a spreadsheet about your project. Before you have done the preparatory work of creating a style guide for your project.

There’s a couple of reasons for this, I want you to avoid the feeling of overwhelm, that will inevitably come out if you populate a spreadsheet with a list of every single surface fixture appliance and material in your house, and then just start trying to pick in products and fill them into that form. It’s too much the entire internet exists, every surface and service in a house is too much to think about. But even if it didn’t emotionally overwhelm you, picking them as individual one off choices doesn’t result in a project that is coherent.

Aesthetically, it’s also a really good way to make your project expensive quickly. If you’re just picking out every individual product you like. Instead, with if this is where you are, if you’re feeling tempted to go from zero to spreadsheet, pause yourself and go back and listen to a couple of the episodes I’ve done on the style guide system. Let me see what season that was, you’re gonna be looking for episodes 1201 1202 2003 and 1204, that’ll get you started. Or you might just go ahead and buy yourself a recording of our recent workshop more than a mood board, which takes you through the entire process of creating a style guide for your house in just two hours.

How much detail you put into your style guide first, and then your schedules your material tracking spreadsheets is another thing that’s going to depend a little bit on the type of contractor you work with, that you’re planning to work with. So when you are the person who is doing the work of remodeling your home, that means that you nobody but you perhaps the plural of you, you and your household and partner are managing the project. So DIY does give you the ability to make these decisions on the fly. But I highly do not recommend that method.

Instead, I encourage you actually to do the opposite to plan as far ahead as possible on every decision using the style guide system. And then getting super detailed with materials schedules, your spreadsheets. So you can see every product order price point lead time coming well in advance, and you never get stopped in your tracks. When you’ve got the energy and the weather and the free time to do a project, you just need one more thing, or when a choice you’ve made in the past conflict with the situation you’re in right now.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you hire a design, build firm, a well-heeled GC to manage and carry out your entire remodel. They may even have design team on staff, you are not going to be in charge of worrying about price points or lead times and ordering of various fixtures and finishes. There’s someone who will do that for you. They may even have their own management software, like I mentioned that they work exclusively with, but it still benefits you to be pre aware of these material choices.

And this may be a situation where you don’t touch a spreadsheet at all. But your style guide that overall aesthetic that you’ve put together that you’re working with the language, the vocabulary, or the materials that are going to make up your aesthetic are absolutely essential for you to have locked in first and clearly communicated to your design team in advance. Because for a mid-century house, you’re not going to benefit from waiting for the contractor’s designer to bring you options, and then try to yes, no yes your way out of a trendy HGTV design.

Don’t wait to let them put in the time and trouble to ascend, assemble a mood board or a selection spreadsheet or a fully priced list of fixtures and finishes only for you to have to say that. Actually, no, none of that is what you had in mind. It’s going to be hard at that point to fully scrub the HGTV back out of your project and it’s going to annoy them because they’ll have to do Other work over again, that will cost you money annoying, your contractor always costs money at the end of the day, and it will damage your communication, you need more than just a few pin images and more than words to convey to your contractor or to their designer, what it is that they’re gonna do when they go out and put together your selections for you.

That’s your style sheets. The style sheets that you assemble as part of your style guide will do this for you. It’s a simple visual language that covers each of the major elements of the finished choices in your house. That helps you avoid confusion, expense, delay and disappointment. Now look, I absolutely love it when my clients can hand over the worries in the work of managing a project from demolition to completion to someone else to an expert whose literal day job this is. If you were one of the people that cringed at the top of the episode when I said spreadsheet, that might be a solution for you. That except type of contractor relationship will help take the spreadsheet right out of your life.

But that first step, the style guide, you just can’t skip it, you cannot skip over setting your style, and then communicating that to the contractor to the contractor’s design team. Because if you or someone like me, someone who engages with and loves mid-century design as much as you do handles that part of the project, then the choice of individual products almost becomes not meaningless, but becomes very small, it becomes just picking from one or two or three easy yes options and does not have the room for error that exists. If you say even just the words, I like mid-century, please make mid-century choices for me, that may not be enough to get the right answers.

So what’s the bottom line here the bottom line to recap is that there is not one particular product, there is not one particular system that’s going to work for you. But more so if you’re planning and leading a project yourself. Even if you are hiring a very comprehensive firm to do it for you, it’s nice to have a sense of the overall timeline of the project. You might want to be able to keep track of that you think a calendar using a project management software or using a set of Google Docs and Sheets.

You also absolutely need to have a handle on what are the prices and types of materials that are going to turn up your house. Again, knowing what those might be even if you’re largely working with another person within your contractor’s team to make that happen. You’ll lean harder into the visual element into your style sheets. But if you’re doing the project yourself, you’re going to need a spreadsheet to take yourself from style sheet to final construction process.

This all leads me into a perfect pep talk for today, which is more important than spreadsheets. I know I said that more important than spreadsheets, what is the feeling to have in yourself to know you’re ready to meet with contractors to bring other people into the world of your remodel. And that is basically you want to feel three things. You want to feel confident, you feel clear on your visions and priorities.

You’ve done your dream homework, you’re aware of your time and your budget constraints and you feel as knowledgeable as you can be about your house, maybe that’s learning a little about the structure, maybe that’s having an inspection, maybe that’s having had a couple of calls or visited the Silver City building permit desk. Maybe it’s just learning more about the history of the house, your neighbors, but wherever it is, you feel ready to make good choices because you know what you want and where you are.

You also want to feel communicative. To feel ready to clearly tell someone the problems you’re trying to solve and the solutions you’ve already come up with. You want to feel ready to openly and honestly share the range of what feels possible to you how much work could happen, what the timeline could be, what your top dollar value is for this project.

And that takes a little bit of vulnerability in order to open up and let a contractor into your personal life to know that you’re changing up the owner suite because the way you want to live in your house, it’s not working for you’re now being ready to communicate those things means being ready to have a great relationship with the other people that are going to help you with your remodel.

The third thing you want to feel before you call up contractors is nimble, flexible, ready to ask for advice on solutions without getting pushed off balance, ready to take in suggestions and evaluate them quickly. Know when to say oh yeah, that’s amazing. Let’s reevaluate the whole thing. Or actually, it’s an interesting idea, but it’s not solving the problem the way I want it to and ready to address real world considerations cost regulation structure.

If you haven’t worked with a designer on your project to date. If you haven’t gotten a master plan from Midwest or worked with it to remodel for example, the time that you start talking to contractors may be the first time you’re interfacing with a construction professional. And so prepare yourself to hear some good ideas, some unexpected things you hadn’t yet thought of. And also a little bit of bad news that something might be not as possible as you thought it was more complicated, structurally, not permitted by the city more expensive than you’d hoped.

But either way, you will feel flexible, nimble, ready to move in one direction or another as you go forward, the Master Plan process is meant to get you to that place. And then from there, whether you’re handing off responsibility to someone else or taking it on in a new way, thinking about the project management is the next step that happens after you think about your project design.

Before we go, a quick heads up about schedules in the world of mid Midwest, for anyone who’s thinking about working with us in the near future mid Midwest is coming up on our annual summer closure. Work life balance is a beautiful thing, even when your work is your passion. And we close down our office for two weeks, every summer this year, it’s going to be the first two weeks of July. So all of our ongoing projects will be paused. And if that’s you, your project, you know who you are. And we’ve talked about that.

But if you were thinking about getting in touch with us soon, reaching out to see if a masterplan might be right for your home, then feel free to go at your own pace. But I would advise you to jump in right now. Reach out and schedule a chat ASAP. You can do it by telling us a little bit about yourself and your project on our website. We’ll schedule a time to talk in the next couple of weeks.

And then if you’re ready, you can sign a contract and get your design homework in hand to mull over during our office closure. Yes, I assigned design homework. It’s fun and easy. I promise to all of our clients that will get you ready to jump in later this summer. When we are back online and brimming with fresh ideas for creating a master plan for your house.

Let us know if that’s what you want to do. You can reach out there’ll be a link in the show notes page for this episode, as well as the transcript and maybe some I don’t know some screenshots of spreadsheets. We’ll see what I choose to throw in there when I get to the putting the show notes together. That’ll be at mid mod dash midwest.com/ 1710.

Next week on the podcast, I will be answering one of my most asked questions and actually a question asked with some of the most emotion pathos in the voice of the person asking which is can I um, flip a mid-century house? And if so, how? The short answer is yes. And for more. Tune in next week.