Hiring a Full-Service Design/Remodeler vs. A Contractor

Hiring a Full-Service Design/Remodeler vs. A Contractor

You are on a mission. When you are undertaking a home improvement or renovation project, you set yourself on a path to create your dream space, one that blends form and function for flawless results. One of the biggest questions you need to ask is whether you should hire a full-service design/remodeler or a contractor. What’s the best way to reach your destination? 

A Full-Service Design/Remodeler vs. a Contractor  

This is not really a versus situation as in one option is inherently better than the other. Both design/remodelers and contractors offer important services and unique skill sets. Rather, it is a question of which option is better for you and your project. When it comes to an extensive renovation or a ground-up build, here are some factors to keep in mind: 

Design/Remodelers and Contractors Deliver Different Services 

General contractors are just that… general. Like a “jack of all trades,” they do a bit of everything, and there is no doubt this requires great skill. They are responsible for planning, coordinating, and overseeing all construction activities only, from start to finish.  

A design/remodel team, on the other hand, gives you direct access to people who specialize in various aspects of the process. For example, there will be a professional who has specific training, experience, and expertise in design. The team works together to deliver the highest level of quality in a streamlined manner. 

Scope of Responsibilities  

A big difference here – arguably the biggest – is that general contractors handle the construction phase of a project. They follow your plans and manage the work based on an existing design. In other words, they will install what you buy per your instructions (with, perhaps, some guidance if you’re stuck or if an idea is patently unfeasible). While exceptionally knowledgeable in their field, contractors follow your lead. If you want honey oak cabinets, shiplap everything, and Live, Laugh, Love signs throughout, they’ll do it – even if they think it’s a bad idea! 

A design/remodeler, however, will be able to give you targeted advice and suggestions based on your style, preferences, lifestyle needs, and, of course, budget. For example, according to Dani Kohl, ACo Design & Sales, mixing metals can make a stunning statement. “It makes it more upscale when you have different finishes but they all look cohesive together.” However, according to the ACo team when clients don’t have a designer, they may not know how to appropriately mix the metals and the result can be a little off. 

The details matter, and a “little off” can have a big impact on your overall results. A design/remodeler offers insights, inspiration, and actionable ideas to help you achieve your goals. 

What About the Cost? 

Initially, yes, hiring a contractor is usually less expensive than opting for a full-service design/remodeler. But it is important to consider less obvious costs. For example, if you specify and purchase natural stone tile, your contractor installs it. Done. But you may overspend because you also really, really, want a high-end curbless shower and wetroom. Designers can offer budget-saving solutions for situations like this. 

For example, they may recommend COREtec Stone. This is an LVT (luxury vinyl tile) product that features a realistic thermo-resin later, integrated grout lines, rigid core and cork underlayment, and scratch-proof protective coating. They are exceptionally durable and beautiful, and they come in a lower price point compared to natural stone. If you can save here, you can splurge on that wetroom! 

Do You Need a Full-Service Design/Remodeler or a Contractor? 

If you are not sure which is the right option for you, ask yourself a few key questions: 

  • What is the size and scope of my project? You may have a relatively straightforward project in mind: I want to frame in a window here, install this specific floor, and put in the vanity and faucet I purchased. In this case, a general contractor will suit your needs just fine. It’s when you have a larger, more complex project that a design/remodeler will be more suitable. For example: I have this space, and I want to create a spa-like bathroom with wetroom, curbless shower, brand new fixtures, and a sauna. How do I do it? What are my options? 
  • Do I need help putting my ideas into an actionable plan? You may have a vision that you find difficult to articulate or “visualize.” While a contractor may be able to provide some advice, a design/remodeler can help you put ideas into action with tools like 3D renderings and virtual design tools. They also have the specific expertise required to see how a space can best be utilized, down to the last, smallest detail. 
  • Do I want someone to take me through each stage of my remodel project? Again, if you are about to undertake a more complex project, you know there are a multitude of moving parts. It is challenging to juggle all of these, and you may want someone to assist you through every stage – or better yet, to translate your ideas into plans and then to manage everything! While there are various professionals and specialists involved, they work cohesively as a team. You will have a point of contact to whom you can always reach out to streamline the experience. 

What’s the best option for you? When you need a higher level of specialization, of targeted experience and expertise, and of inclusive service, a design/remodeler delivers optimal results.  

The ACo Way 

Are you ready to take the first steps in your remodeling project? For a complimentary in-home design consultation connect with the ACo team 


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