How Long is it Going to Take?


A client once showed us an ad from a bathroom remodeling company that she had clipped from the daily paper.  In it, the remodeler claimed that they could complete a bathroom makeover in one day. “Why is it taking you three weeks?”, she asked.

The fact of the matter is that in our business the second most frequently asked question after “how much” is “how long.”

Discarding the possibility that the bathroom remodeler in the ad used a time projection more in keeping with Genesis than with a 24-hour day, the simplest explanation is that things take what they take — and not all remodel projects are created equal. In planning a remodel in which a number of trades are involved, one can’t simply assume that things will be done simultaneously. Scheduling a dry wall installer, a hardwood floor installer, and a painter in any order other than sequentially is a recipe for disaster, if not chaos and compromised quality. If each trade in the sequence takes a week to complete their tasks per the Description of Work (DOW), you’re looking at three weeks. That’s how the real world works, based on the Gregorian calendar.

That said, there are a couple of key factors to getting a project completed as quickly as possible. The first is organization…which in turn is a function of experience. Having done thousands of remodel projects over nearly 40 years, we know how the necessary sequence of tasks mesh, and how to condense them down to a schedule that lets us hit the ground running while avoiding the inefficiencies and errors that occur when people are trying to work on top of one another. There is, however, another factor that ultimately trumps experience when it comes to the timely completion of a remodel project: the willingness of your trade partners to make your priorities theirs. This is especially important when it comes to scheduling work by trades with typically long lead times — concrete and excavation being two such examples. (To better appreciate the relationships we cultivate with our trades partners, we encourage you to read our blog, Don’t Call Them “Subs”!).

Regardless of what a remodeling company may tell you about their project completion time — through an advertisement or in person — the litmus test for their ability to meet a project deadline is how they respond when you ask them for a calendar. What you will likely discover is that most remodeling companies are hesitant to provide project calendars because they don’t believe they can adhere to them — and the most likely reason they can’t is that they don’t have control of their tradespeople. Because of the relationships we have established over the years with our trades, we are in the enviable position of having them build their schedules around ours, rather than vice versa. That makes all the difference in the world when it comes to answering the second most common question in the remodeling business.