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Design Thinking
Ideas and Inspiration
transparent pricing from clark construction

Full Transparency of Numbers!

We have nothing to hide, so we've pulled back the curtain to show it all. Transparent pricing that's clearly communicated allows us to work as a team with you to design a project that's right for your family and your budget.

Everything seems simpler now that we have eliminated the mystery of what might be in the black box behind a "package price".iStock-1263503837

While we were a little hesitant at first to put it all out there; now we can't imagine working with our clients in any other way.

Seeing the numbers in detail, as we go through the design phase, helps our clients make informed decisions about where they can splurge or where they can cut back costs.

See Numbers Others Hide

Clark Construction Forecast and Contract budgets include three types of line items that most other companies avoid like the plague: bare trade contractor bids, supervisory time, and general operating expenses, (like rent, vehicles and insurance).iStock-523380174

Have an Early Look at $

Your early look at the numbers starts with the presentation of a Forecast Budget early on in the design process, after the Initial Concepts are completed. We bring out our Trade Partners, and dig into the details so that we can provide an estimate breaking out materials and labor by phase, such as Plumbing, Electric, and Sheetrock.

This first cut at the costs ensures we are on track with your desired budget range.

From there, as we refine the design and material selections are made, we hone the Forecast Budget further. The deliverables are a Contract Budget that illustrates the breakout of the project costs by phase, accompanied by a fully detailed set of construction drawings.DSC03551

Benefits for You: Informed Decision Making

Having all this information on the table from start to finish has done away with sticker shock surprises at the end of the design phase, or any sense of discomfort about whether you're being charged fairly. The numbers are all there, on the table, so that you can see  where your money will be going.

When you have insight into the budgetary details, you have the ability to make informed decisions along the way, as the decisions you make impact the overall project price.Sample Contract Tab

Trade Partner Pricing

Starting with the Forecast Budget, you get to see the actual costs for the trades and materials.Construction Costs 4.30Clients seem relieved by the fact that they can see our Trade Partners' quotes.  Often times, if they have previously priced a particular trade, they can see that the numbers we have provided on our breakout make sense. This is a great confidence builder.estimates

We are your advocates with our Trade Partners. We know where the pricing should be so we will negotiate on your behalf.  If we can get a better price for you from another one of our Trade Partners in an apples-to-apples situation, we will do so.

Planning and Project Management

We've eliminated a "straight markup" to cover Planning and Project Management costs.   These are the expenses associated with coordinating your project and supervising the people who will execute it.

Activities in this category include items such as site prep, ordering materials, planning out the job, scheduling deliveries, waiting for inspections, client meetings, job documentation, and Trade Partner supervision.

The Big Idea is that these costs vary by project, and that it is more equitable for you to be charged based on the expenses that are specifically related to your particular job. Most contractors bury these costs, using the same (large) fixed markup on all jobs, resulting in some clients covering the costs of other people's projects! That doesn't seem fair to us.

We list out Planning and Project Management rather than sweeping them into overhead and covering them with a large markup. By  identifying these costs by project , you can be billed fairly - a more customized and therefore more accurate estimate than you are likely to get elsewhere.   Like with the Trade Partner pricing, you get a clear picture of the parts and pieces that come together to comprise the overall estimate total.Sample Project Planning 4.30

As the project is further developed in the weeks following the Forecast Budget Presentation,  construction costs and Planning & Project Management may vary up or down as the scope of the project evolves.

General Operating Expenses: 

For a lot of remodelers, the elephant is still in the room, with operating expenses hidden within that big  package price. With us, General Operating Expenses are out there in plain sight to be acknowledged, explained and justified. Being able to share these numbers is refreshing.

General Operating Expenses include things like our showroom, our vehicles, general liability and workers comp insurance, indirect personnel costs, software, plotters, printers, computers, marketing, and other behind the scenes expenses needed to run a remodeling company.

We know what we need to charge in order to run our business and keep the lights on.  We markup all items across the board: Materials Selections, Construction Labor and Materials, and Planning  Project Management, using a markup based on an analysis of our Key Performance Indicators.  

General Operating Expenses2

Up-Front Design Work

We separate out the up-front design work on a Design Agreement. Charging for design time allows us to properly cover our costs so we can work together with you, as a team, rather than trying to rush to get to a contract signing.

Spending the right time to plan up front makes the construction phase go more smoothly. We are able to spend as much time as makes sense designing with you to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the design and all the details.  iStock-530187971

Additionally, we will send you home with copies of the drawings, allowing you to think about the design as you sit in the space, and provide feedback at each step along the way. This really helps to ensure that what is being put on the drawings is what you want and that you have time to understand the project, how it will fit into your home, and the details shown on the drawings.


Some clients make very quick decisions and fly through the design process; charging hourly for our time gives us the flexibility to go at whatever pace feels comfortable to you.

One client came in and in one meeting they finalized the design and made all the selections for their bathroom project. Another client was happy to spend the time to change their bathroom fixtures four times as their tastes and the design evolved from a simple hall bath replacement to an eye-catching guest bath.

Many clients ask us to spend time to develop a simple 3D model -  it helps them get the feel for the new space before pulling the trigger. One client wanted to see how some extra wide  kitchen drawers would look, so had us make life sized drawings and bring them to his home so he could see them in place. There's obviously personal preference in how much people want to "get into" their design and the material selections.

We have found that taking the time to design thoroughly and properly has increased the "happiness factor" of out clients, because they know that they are getting the project that they want, that it includes the features that they want, and they understand exactly what they'll be getting.

Design Time Budget

The first step to get the ball rolling is developing Design Objectives, along with a Design Time Budget.

You won't be surprised that we break out the design time into the various phases of the design process.  This gives you a good idea of how much time we expect to spend for your particular project. We document this breakout and share it with you up front. Design Hour BudgetOur time is tracked and we provide reports showing how the design time been utilized as we go along.Design Billing Sample

Bottom line for you.

When you know what you are getting for your money, you can be more comfortable with the numbers. It allows us to work together with you to make value based decisions to optimize your remodeling budget and investment - so that you end up with a beautiful project, as well as  one that makes sense dollarwise!

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