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Brooklyn Co-op Small Kitchen and Bathroom Update
Multi-Room Remodel Project
Donald Rider
Our service:
- Project Organization
- Bid Management
- Bid Comparison
- Contract Negotiation
Dec 2020 to March 2021
Project Summary

This Brooklyn co-op has a tiny kitchen, a small full bathroom and a little half-bath, all in dire need of renovation. The homeowner purchased the co-op as a fixer-upper two years before he contacted BuildZoom. His original plan was to do a gut renovation and he had worked with an architect to develop plans. However, it was clear that the project would take a considerable investment of time. Then, when the pandemic hit, he realized that the work would be further delayed. In the meantime, the kitchen and bathrooms were falling apart and needed to be repaired to be functional.

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The homeowner decided to put the larger renovation project on hold to focus on the items that needed immediate attention. The scope of work included new cabinets, fixtures, flooring and appliances in the kitchen, including replacing the refrigerator and adding a dishwasher and microwave. New vanities, medicine cabinets, lights, tile and fixtures were needed in both bathrooms.

About the Client

Don Rider, who provides tech services for a financial firm, had big dreams for his small co-op.

The plan was to relocate my super-tiny kitchen, which is about 5-feet-by-7-feet, to resemble the layout of my last apartment. That place had an open floor plan with a great room that was half kitchen and half living space. The kitchen I have now is so small I was going to reclaim the space as a closet.

After consulting an architect, he realized that his original vision would take too long and be too expensive.

I decided to just make it functional and replace the 35-year-old kitchen and bathrooms, which were installed when the apartment building was converted to a co-op,
- Rider (Client)

Rider, who is on the board of the 16-unit co-op, has hired contractors to make repairs on the common areas of the building.

We’re not a management company, just a small building, so we’ve had trouble with contractors disappearing. That experience left me worried that my job would be too small.

Rider’s budget was between $30,000 to $40,000.

The Problem

Rider’s biggest fear was that he would be unable to find a reputable, trustworthy contractor who would follow through and complete the job.

Before I found BuildZoom, I tried to get a few bids, but one contractor ghosted me, another said he would only give me a verbal estimate,
- Rider (Client)
Another contractor gave me a bid that was so low, under $10,000, that I felt something had to be wrong.
- Rider (Client)

Rider found BuildZoom by accident when he was searching for more contractors. He filled out a form online on the BuildZoom site and was contacted within 10 minutes.

I didn’t really have high hopes about BuildZoom, but they clarified that they would connect me with contractors and schedule conversations with prospects. Within one day I was connected to three contractors who were all reputable.
- Rider (Client)
The Solutions

Rider met with the contractors with BuildZoom’s support and advice.

I was really skeptical at first because it seemed almost too good to be true for a small job,
- Rider (Client)

“I even thought the name ‘BuildZoom’ was a little sketchy because of the ‘Zoom’ part. But I had a great experience with them. They got the contractors and bids lined up much faster and easier than I could have alone.”

The contractors took different approaches, with one choosing to look at photos to provide a preliminary estimate before an in-person consultation. Another visited within a few days and took at week to provide an estimate, while the other provided an almost immediate estimate. All three were in a similar price range.

I was hesitant at first to sign up for BuildZoom’s ‘premium service’ where they review the bids for me, but their advice and contractor recommendations were so helpful that I decided to pay for the service,
Given how little I know about remodeling and how stressful it can be, I decided it was better to have BuildZoom do the work of leveling the bids and to have people with more experience than me take over that process.
- Rider (Client)

BuildZoom explained to Rider the differences between the bids to help him make a choice.

Two of the bids just included labor and I would have had to pay separately for materials, but I couldn’t tell that from the bid… My preference was for the contractor that did the immediate turnaround with the estimate, but they hadn’t included all the costs…
- Rider (Client)

That company’s initial bid was $34,200. After BuildZoom did a bid revision, they found that the company had missed $14,550 of materials, which brought the total to $48,750. Had that error not been caught, Rider would have had nearly $15,000 extra to pay in change orders.

Ultimately, Rider chose Purewal after consulting with BuildZoom.

BuildZoom told me that unless all the work was being done in-house, the contractors should call their subcontractors to get their price and availability for the work even if that delayed the bid a little… That’s something I never would have thought about.
- Rider (Client)

During the bid comparison phase, Rider says, BuildZoom was very proactive in getting updates and coordinating a punch list of details with him.

I ended up added a couple of things like recessed lighting because of my discussions about the project with BuildZoom… They even brought in a fourth contractor that they had been working with on another project to make sure I had enough competitive bids to review.
- Rider (Client)

The final estimate for the work with Purewal was $35,000.

The premium service was so worthwhile for the peace of mind… BuildZoom helped me save money, but that wasn’t my primary concern. They saved me an enormous amount of time and it was great not to have to figure this all out alone. Even more important was the transparency of the process and knowing I didn’t have to deal with any shady contractors.
- Rider (Client)

Even though Rider’s job was small, the contractors know they want to maintain a good reputation with BuildZoom as well as their direct customers, Rider says.
In addition, he says,

BuildZoom lived up to the ‘Zoom’ in their name.
The Results

- Time saved. Rider says he was extremely impressed that BuildZoom connected him with three potential contractors within one day.

- Peace of mind. Rider was concerned that he would be unable to find a reputable contractor for a small job. BuildZoom’s expertise in finding reliable contractors eased that fear.

- Confidence in process. BuildZoom set expectations for Rider and met them. He appreciated the transparency of the process.

- Contractor hired. BuildZoom’s bid review process made it easier to choose a contractor for the project.

- Money saved. BuildZoom negotiated with the contractors to save money on the project while making sure the work was done well.

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