Posts made in June 2020

Top Five San Diego Remodel Tips in 2020

We're headed into July and looking ahead to see what the second half of 2020 has to offer us. If you're a San Diego home owner and looking to complete your first remodel, you've probably got a few questions:

  • What type of company is best, if any?
  • What qualities should I prioritize when looking for a good company?
  • Do they need to be working in my area already?
  • How should I be thinking about my budget?

Great work, you’re in the perfect place! 

In this article, I’ll answer your questions so you can make a great decision about your remodel.

Teknik Testimonial

1. Pick The Right Type of Design-Build Firm 

Holding a B license makes a company a general contractor.

It's important to make sure that you're looking only at general contractors that that ALSO specialize in residential remodeling since any given general contractor may also perform commercial or multi-family work.

Within the category of "design-build" firms that specialize in residential remodeling, there are those who actually don't design or build--they are firms who hire all subcontractors and function as a project management firm. These folks can still get the job done but you'll have less control over your home and budget.

In a perfect world, you would find a firm who is design-build, specializes in residential, and has in-house crews to complete the work.

2. Choose A Firm That Has A Process

If you have remodeled your homes before, you understand the power of a streamlined process. 

Ensure you have your questions answered about the process they've built. If they have structure and flexibility present, but can communicate in detail about it, then you have found a design-build firm who has mastered their craft. 

The best companies to work with are busy growing and improving their leadership throughout their time in business; not just selling work to anyone who will buy.

3. Choose A Firm That Has Worked In Your Area

It is important to ensure that your design-build firm has completed work in your city and or zip code before.

It is not necessary for them to have worked on every home on your block, but checking to see if they are comfortable producing the level of finish that is appropriate for your zip code will be important. 

Remember, the finish details such as drywall tape, mud, texture, priming, painting, and finish carpentry come at the very last stages of your remodel. They will take a significant amount of energy while your project feels "almost done" for the last several weeks.

It is vital that you verify their ability to follow through on these details. You'll be staring at the finished product for a long time, so their ability to get it done correctly (the first time) will make or break your experience. 

4. Establish Two Budgets Up Front

Custom residential remodeling is...well...custom. We can look at our past projects and make loose ballpark assumptions, but you know what assuming does...

So if you're the home owner that is asking "I have a small powder room, how much will it cost to remodel it?" or "I have a small 8x10 kitchen that I need to update, including cabinets, and appliances, how much will it cost to remodel it?", here are your next steps:

  • Write down your target budget
  • Write down how much you are willing to have that number flex up and your reasoning for why
  • Write down your total ballpark range so that you can red-light/green-light with each contractor you interview

Take It From Our Happy Customers


"Kevin had the work done as if it were his own house and the project was completed before the contractual completion date."  - Jack B., San Diego, CA

“This is our second remodel with Kevin. Once again, done on TIME! Great job! Just sorry we’re out of bathrooms! 🙂 He’s on speed dial in case we have another project.”   - Gary G., Encinitas

“Kevin told me to allow 25 days and it was done in just over two weeks.”  - Gina H., San Diego, CA

Call (888) 747-2013 or click here for a free consultation now!

5. Be Prepared To Get Only One "Detailed" Estimate

If you're comparing commodity services, go ahead and get a few prices. You want to get the most value for your dollar, right? Of course right!

But if you're comparing construction services (or diamonds, or your kiddos' education), the range of quality has a must greater impact on your life than, say, the range of quality of toilet paper. So you want to choose a quality firm that can build your project within your price range, but remember, selecting the right firm will allow you to land at the right price.

Be sure to narrow down your contractors to just one that will value-engineer with you as needed. 

Why Choose Teknik for Your L-Shaped Kitchen?

For over two decades, we've been helping families avoid these classic mistakes in the world of remodeling:

  • Late Completion  
  • Going Over Budget 
  • Use of Subcontractors

Still nervous? You'll be 100% covered with our Spoiled Rotten Customer Guarantee!

1 - Dream Design

Step 1: Dream Design


We’ll collaborate with you to transform your dark and outdated space into bright and inviting space.  It all starts with your free consultation so book now!

Step 2 - True Quote

Step 2: True Quote


You can trust our service agreement!  We get to know your home intimately before working on it to ensure we stick to budget with no change orders.

Step 3 - Complete On-Time

Step 3: Complete On-Time


We'll make your dream come true and do it on-time and on budget!  Then it's party time!  Perhaps leave out your friends who get jealous easily.

Call (888) 747-2013 or click here for a free consultation now!

Choosing The Best Contractor for Your 10×10 Kitchen Remodel

Hey, if you're a San Diego homeowner and you're not sure if you want to move forward with your 10x10 kitchen remodel, check out some of of these common questions:

  • How long will I be cooking on my hot plate if I remodel my kitchen?
  • What needs to happen before I can get started?
  • Approximately how much does a 10x10 kitchen cost?
  • Who is the best contractor for the job?  

Boy, do we know how it feels to want quality at a fair price and not know where to start.

But don’t worry. You’re in the perfect place! 

In this article, we will answer your questions so you can make a great decision about your kitchen for you and your family.  

Teknik Testimonial

How Long Will I Be Using A Hot Plate?

It is common for the design and collaboration to take six to eight to ten weeks. This depends most heavily on the home owners' schedule, availability and readiness. 

You can't control the marketplace, material suppliers, or your contractor, but you can control yourself and decide on your own contribution and proactive response times.

Most 10x10 kitchens, from demo to completion, take 8 to 14 weeks.

What Needs To Happen Before We Can Get Started?

First things first, build a Houzz Ideabook using the following instructions:

Create Your Ideabook
Get Ideas>Kitchen>Use filters if desired>Hover over the photo>Click Save>Add notes on the photo>Drop down menu> + Create New>Save! Repeat for all photos as desired.

Share with us
Hover over “Your Houzz” (top right)
Your Ideabooks
Click the desired Ideabook
Finally click “Invite” to search for Teknik and invite us to view it!

Secondly, write down two lists: 

  1. Must have list - "These things are non-negotiable for me".
  2. Wish list - "These things would be great, but it depends on other factors such as timeline, budget and structural feasibility".

Your two lists will provide clarity so that the whole team can better serve you during the design process.

How Much?

This question is our favorite - and here's why!

Mindset, mindset, mindset.

If the goals are only expediency and low cost, then the remodel will suffer because the cost obsession will cause you to be short-sighted about some of the decisions.

If the goals are long-term, quality, value, communication, a great remodel experience, then it stands to reason that a firm who can deliver on these high promises would be offering them at a fair price too.

By virtue of their long term upright character, they will function with the same standard of integrity across each area of their business, and that includes cost.

Who Is The Best Contractor For The Job?

Take it from us, there is nothing like investing a Saturday and a Sunday to have a bunch of contractors wearing masks in your home, just to find out that they aren't qualified for one reason or another. Solution? Better strategy!

The site visit is no substitution for doing your due diligence online. By the time you schedule your site visit you have already verified that each contractor:

  1. Is licensed, bonded, and ensured. Verify here https://www.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/CheckLicenseII/CheckLicense.aspx
  2. Is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. Verify here http://bbb.com/
  3. Is currently engaged in other projects in the community. Verify on their website or social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Houzz. Remember, most contractors are pretty small businesses, so it's okay if there aren't lots of recent updates. You just want to make sure they have been active!
  4. Is receiving a good proportion of recent 4 and 5-star reviews. Are they leaving their clients satisfied customers or raving fansAre they being invited back to complete a second or third project?

And that's it folks. Now you are ready to:

  • Schedule a site visit with only your top 2 and get a ballpark range from each.
  • Select your contractor 
  • Follow their process to collaborate on a design, layout, and scope that you love. This collaboration will produce your detailed estimate. Yes, this price will fall within the initial ballpark range, unless the scope is increased. 
  • Complete your project on time!

Take It From Our Happy Customers


"Kevin had the work done as if it were his own house and the project was completed before the contractual completion date."  - Jack B., San Diego, CA

“This is our second remodel with Kevin. Once again, done on TIME! Great job! Just sorry we’re out of bathrooms! 🙂 He’s on speed dial in case we have another project.”   - Gary G., Encinitas

“Kevin told me to allow 25 days and it was done in just over two weeks.”  - Gina H., San Diego, CA

Call (888) 747-2013 or click here for a free consultation now!

Our Industry Secret...

The gold standard for what any contractor recommends is to ask them, "What would you do if it were your house?"

  • Most people are decent and honest
  • Most people want to help
  • Most people don't have extravagant taste, but do require quality

Ask questions. Listen. Trust your gut. And always, always read the reviews online.

Why choose Teknik for Your 10x10 Kitchen?

There are many design & remodeling firms in San Diego who will take great care of you. We are one of the few at the top, one of the best. But we do not peddle scarcity. We want to remodel your kitchen, so we can spoil you rotten and help you avoid classic industry pain points:

  • Late Completion  
  • Going Over Budget 
  • Use of Subcontractors

Still nervous? You'll be 100% protected by our Spoiled Rotten Customer Guarantee!

1 - Dream Design

Step 1: Dream Design


We’ll collaborate with you to transform your dark and outdated space into a bright and inviting space.  It all starts with your free consultation so book now!

Step 2 - True Quote

Step 2: True Quote


You can trust our service agreement!  We get to know your home intimately before working on it to ensure we stick to budget with no change orders.

Step 3 - Complete On-Time

Step 3: Complete On-Time


We'll make your dream come true and do it on-time and on budget!  Then it's party time!  Perhaps leave out your friends who get jealous easily.

Call (888) 747-2013 or click here for a free consultation now!

8 Things to Never Say to A San Diego Contractor


Hey, if you’re a San Diego homeowner and wondering what questions you should ask or not ask, check out these eight hot buttons that you'd be better off avoiding. 


Teknik Testimonial

1. Never Say "I'm Talking To Five or Six Contractors"

Dead give-away that you're either kicking tires or just surveying professionals to get oriented in your local market.

There's nothing wrong with checking things out...BUT...if you want accurate estimates, each estimate will take time and a lot of collaboration. If the contractor gets the sense that you're doing research and not ready to buy, he'll find a way to bail.

What you should say: Share that you are either doing research to get general ballpark ranges, or that you're serious about selecting the right person and collaborating with them to get a detailed line item estimate

2. Never Say "I Just Need A Material Installer"

I'm sure your heart is in the right place (Bless your heart!) but it's insulting to lump general contractors into the same group with a material installer. Here is what she's thinking when you tell her you have your materials and you just need labor costs for installation.

"No"
"Heck no"
"Call a handyman."
"You don't need a GC apparently...you are acting like your own GC."
"Good luck if you need a permit"
"Have fun with finding qualified tradesman if you need a subcontractor or specialty material"
"So you're planning to have no snags or problems throughout your project?"

What you should say: Ask if you have called the right firm. Is this a general contractor? Is this a design-build firm that's a one-stop shop? Do you have a service labor department? Here is my scope; what type of firm would you recommend?

3. Never Say "I Need To See All The Pricing Options"

Quality estimates take time and different materials have different installation styles/types, and different labor costs. Most of your questions can be answered in conversations and design options should be considered. However, the options available to you range from the dozens into the thousands. It is unwise for the contractor to begin estimating with no information from you to serve as his direction.

Work from the macro to the micro and make the big decisions first. For example: choose your kitchen style and layout first (macro), and then look at, for example, all the design and selection options for your cabinets (micro). 

Don't Say: "I'd like to see three different pricing options for my kitchen, please."

Do Say: "I'm shooting to keep the kitchen between $XY,000 and $XYZ,000 and here is a list of what I know I want, and what I'm not sure about." 

4. Never Say "Cost Is Really The Biggest Factor"

If cost is the biggest factor, you are putting yourself in a loosing position. As a friend, he might help you out and give you an "estimate" or "bid" but it will not reflect the level of effort and thoroughness that you'd like. It will simply reflect what you told him mattered; a number.

Shift your mindset with the following questions:

"What makes a remodel as painless as possible?"
"What makes some families trust their contractor with multiple projects, in multiple homes, over multiple years?"
"What type of firm is most compatible with my project and what systems make them most compatible?"
"What are my assumptions and expectations regarding communication, my experience of my project, etc."
"If I get what I pay for, will I be happy with the product if select mostly based on price?"

Take It From Our Happy Customers


"Kevin had the work done as if it were his own house and the project was completed before the contractual completion date."  - Jack B., San Diego, CA

“This is our second remodel with Kevin. Once again, done on TIME! Great job! Just sorry we’re out of bathrooms! 🙂 He’s on speed dial in case we have another project.”   - Gary G., Encinitas

“Kevin told me to allow 25 days and it was done in just over two weeks.”  - Gina H., San Diego, CA

Call (888) 747-2013 or click here for a free consultation now!

5. Never Say "We Need This Done Next Week or Next Month"

Remodeling takes time and usually more time than you think it will. Heck, for most contractors, it takes longer than they think it will.

First, you've got to interview and select contractors. Then you've got to go through design & selections followed by building an accurate estimate, signing your contract, ordering product, and then you can begin after your materials have been delivered. Material ETA's are not the contractors responsibility, be it credit or fault.

We'd recommend cooling down your expectations; a lot of good contractors are lost because a client flies off the handle about how "long everything takes" when in reality, the owner should have started their process much sooner. Ask about timeline before the first day of demo.

6. Never Say "We Don't Have A Budget"

This is for a different reason than you'd think. Most think it is because you don't want the contractors to take advantage and build an astronomical estimate, just hoping you're a sucker. In reality most families that say "We don't have a budget" mean that they don't know how much things cost in general, so they aren't there yet.

Solution: understand that there are two separate categories of "estimates". It's impossible to give you a price, but it might be possible to give you a general ballpark range based on their experience.

Each project is different, but aside from the costs associated with your remodel, you'll need to know that you won't spend more than $20,000, more than $50,000, or more than $160,000. There may be flexibility, but you still need to have an accurate understanding of your budget for yourself. 

7. Never Say "We Want You To Use My Brother"

You may know a few tradesman, your brother may be a plumber, and you may have grown up around construction because your dad was a contractor. Please keep this experience separate from your project.

Every contractor will have established relationships with his tradesman and crews. The efficient cost and timeline you desire will come from trusting one ecosystem to produce results, not from breaking your project apart to avoid paying markup. 

Find someone that you can trust. Then deploy your trust.

8. Never Say "Can You Provide A Discount For Early Payment?"

This goes against the law and common sense.

By law in the state of California, a contractor may not invoice you for labor or materials not yet delivered. Their payment schedule will reflect this. 

By common sense, you want peace of mind and paying someone in advance to get peace of mind from a discount, actually discounts the peace of mind you will get from paying at regular installments as the project meets benchmarks.

Why choose Teknik for Your Kitchen or Bathroom Remodel?

For over twenty years we've been helping families to walk through the remodeling mine field safely. The most common three mines that families hit are:

  • Late Completion  
  • Going Over Budget 
  • Use of Subcontractors

Call today for your free consultation!

1 - Dream Design

Step 1: Dream Design


We’ll collaborate with you to transform your dark and outdated space into bright and inviting space.  It all starts with your free consultation so book now!

Step 2 - True Quote

Step 2: True Quote


You can trust our service agreement!  We get to know your home intimately before working on it to ensure we stick to budget with no change orders.

Step 3 - Complete On-Time

Step 3: Complete On-Time


We'll make your dream come true and do it on-time and on budget!  Then it's party time!  Perhaps leave out your friends who get jealous easily.

Call (888) 747-2013 or click here for a free consultation now!