Frequently Asked Questions
Most people are familiar with the typical remodeling process. You contact 3 builders, get bids, check references and reviews, and select your builder. Sometimes it is difficult to get your head around the concept of hiring a consultant and controlling your project with expert guidance. Below are some of the many questions we receive regularly.
We started off years ago as trade artisans where we developed relationships with our material vendors and suppliers. Later we evolved into a full remodeling firm and spent years finding qualified artisan sub-contractors and vetted them, selecting the best of them for our approved labor force. We bring the benefit of those years of careful selection to your job. Because we build many projects per year, as we did when we were a traditional builder, we receive the same builder discounts we enjoyed before.
No you don't. ZeroDown Consulting contracts the vendors for you, including a typical draw schedule customary for a remodel with the scope of your project. You pay the trades and vendors directly as the costs occur or as the progress on your project indicates that a contracted draw point for the trade artisan has been reached.
The service contracts for the artisan trades are between the owner and the artisan. The contract includes a project scope of work, total price, draw schedule, and a release of lien once the work has been completed and the tradesman has been paid in full.
Neither Austin nor the state of Texas requires licensing for builders, remodelers, general contractors, nor most trades. The licensed trades include Electricians, Plumbers, and HVAC contractors. Where licences are required, the tradesmen are licensed. The others are vetted and we have experience with the sub-contractor. With few exceptions, all of the sub-contractors carry Commercial General Liability Insurance.
The central component of our business model is that you give us none of your project investment money, other than our fee for coordinating your project. Your project will be completed provided your funds are adequate to complete the project. You pay the tradesmen after they have completed production to the contracted draw point or to completion of their task; you pay the supplier / vendor directly for purchased materials and fixtures; and you pay ZeroDown Consulting only a percentage of what you spent to date on your project. The only way your project will slow down or stop production is if you decide to do so.
All bonafide remodeling contractors mark up the material and labor costs at least 100%. Many acheive 120% - 150% markup levels. This is customary and usual in the industry. Although this seems extreme, understand that a 100% cost markup yields a 50% gross profit margin. Once you deduct the 30+% tax and franchise fee costs, and pay the normal costs of doing business, the actual net profit for most remodeling firms yield between 15% to 30%. Our fee is a nominal percentage of the cost of the project, paid weekly as the job progresses.
It is always best to select your builder before you start your final design process. Like most remodeling firms, we employ architects, interior designers, and engineers to help design each project we build. However, architects, engineers and interior designers have very little knowlege about what the going rates for materials and labor are. Whether you decide to contract with a traditional remodeling firm, or ZeroDown Consulting, your builder (or consultant) will ensure that the designers and engineers create your project within the limits of your desired budget amount. As with the materials and labor for your project, the design and engineering costs you pay are the builder's costs with no markup or profit margin built in. Our builder discounts are also passed on to you for these professional services.
After your technical drawings are completed, and you have selected your finish materials, ZeroDown Consulting provides you with an itemized estimate of your total costs for the project as designed. We use rounded up numbers so we are able to monitor budget limits during the design process.
We always recommend that, when required, all projects are permitted and inspected per city ordinance. We offer permit expediting services for our clients.