Sunroom in Lenexa Kansas

There’s no question that consumers’ perception of value has changed in the wake of the difficult economic conditions over the past few years. But from what I’m seeing, the new “value” doesn’t at all mean the lowest price. The old meaning of value was the best or most product for the lowest price. The new meaning of value is so much more complex. Previous to the recession, consumers seemed to take a lot more at face value. On the products or services side, a widget was a widget. On the price side, the best price was the best price.

The tough economic times have taught us that a widget is not just a widget. There are very few products and services that are exactly identical from company to company or brand to brand. When economic times were better, we could afford to overlook these differences that, although often small, could also sometimes be very substantial. The times also have also taught us that the lesser expensive product is not always the best product. For many people, the tough times meant living with a previously more impulsively purchased item for a couple of years longer than originally thought. When this happens, the nuances and subtleties and detailed characteristics of the product both come to light and take on a lot more meaning. Also, our hard-earned dollars have a lot more value to us and we are demanding more value with our purchases.

Kansas City cedar deck by Archadeck

Kansas City cedar deck by Archadeck

Here’s an example in my line of work. Let’s say you want to build an outdoor living space and you have two quotes – one for $5,000 and another for $6,000. That’s a 20% difference in price. That’s huge. Let’s just say that you really like both contractors. Further, both contractors have great design ideas and both contractors have inspired confidence. Let’s say that in this scenario, you go with the less expensive contractor and you get everything you were hoping and more. You’ve saved $1,000. Then let’s look at the flip side – If the job turns out poorly. You spent $5,000 on an addition to your home and it turns out that you purchased poor quality workmanship that fails the code inspection and you’re left hanging with a punch list that never gets completed, then you have not saved $1,000; you have lost $5,000.

Ipe deck in Lees Summit MO

Ipe deck in Lees Summit MO

Is the more expensive contractor always the best? Sometimes, often, but not always. Is the lesser expensive contractor just as good? Sometimes, but there’s a reason for the old adage – you get what you pay for. So how do you know when looking at quotes from contractors that you are comparing apples to apples? Here are a couple ways to research your contractors and evaluate their proposals to be able to compare apples to apples.

  • First, review their web site. Have the built jobs that are similar to what you are looking for? From looking at their website, have they built many jobs that are similar to what you are looking for?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • How many jobs have they built?
  • Check references. As for a couple client references but also check Angie’s List and the BBB
  • Do you know exactly what you’re going to get? A list is nice but in the building industry a list of features can be interpreted in many different ways. Ask the contractor for a design rendering of your new project

The new value equation is much different. Are your dollars able to produce a return that exceeds your expectations? Look for a value-able contractor by doing the research specified above.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

I’d love to talk to you about your new project. Take a look at our website for Archadeck of Kansas City. Or, give us a ring or email us: (913) 851 – 3325 Our consultation is always free — something else you should demand.