Category Archives: General Advice

How Do I Determine My Budget?

Determining a budget for your kitchen or bathroom remodel involves careful consideration of various factors. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you determine your budget:

Evaluate Your Finances: Assess your overall financial situation and determine how much you can comfortably allocate to your remodel. Consider your income, savings, and any other financial obligations or goals you have. If you will be financing your project, give yourself a financial checkup and determine what kind of payment you are comfortable with.

Consider Long-Term Value: If considering a large addition or major remodel you may want to spend some time looking at how much a house with the features you want would cost. While it’s important to establish a budget that suits your financial capacity, also consider the long-term value and return on investment (ROI) of your remodel. High-quality materials and well-executed design can increase the value of your home and potentially yield a higher return should you decide to sell in the future.

Research Average Costs: Research and gather information about average remodeling costs in your area. This will give you a rough idea of the typical price range for various aspects of the remodel, such as cabinetry, countertops, appliances, flooring, and labor.

Define Your Project Scope: Determine the scope of your kitchen or bathroom remodel. Decide whether you plan to make minor cosmetic changes, perform a partial renovation, or go for a complete overhaul. The complexity and extent of the project will impact your budget.

Prioritize Your Needs and Wants: Make a list of your priorities and must-haves for the remodel. Identify the elements that are most important to you, such as new appliances, custom cabinetry, or high-quality materials. This will help you allocate your budget accordingly.

Seek Professional Advice: If you’re unsure about setting a budget, consider consulting with a professional designer or contractor. They can provide guidance based on your goals, the condition of your kitchen or bathroom, and your desired outcomes.

Remember to be flexible and open to adjustments throughout the process. A professional contractor or designer can help you optimize your budget by suggesting alternatives, cost-saving measures, and value-engineering options that align with your vision and financial constraints.

Kopke Remodeling & Design offers consulting services, such as “Should We Move or Improve”, or simply helping you put together your budget. Give us a call at 586-777-6633 if you are ready to start the conversation!

The Importance of Having All Homeowners Present at the Initial Consultation

One of the objections I run into most often when setting appointments is that one homeowner or the other insists on meeting with our consultant without their spouse or significant other present.  It is not uncommon for a small debate to occur on the phone, and sometimes the potential client becomes so offended or enraged that they downright cancel the appointment!

It is a common misconception that all home improvement companies operate by preaching to a captive audience and pressuring them until they sign the contract.  So perhaps the homeowner is thinking that by meeting alone they are, in a sense, leaving themselves an “out” by keeping the “I’ll have to talk it over with my husband/wife” option close at hand.  This, however, is foolish for many reasons.

1. There is not just one price or one option to consider

If it was as simple as taking measurements and giving a price, maybe the “I’ll talk it over with my wife” approach wouldn’t be so bad.  All you would have to discuss then would be if you could afford the cost, and whether or not it is the right time to buy that new roof.  But, we have many different roof options, and when it comes to the Kitchen or Bathroom, infinitely more options to consider.

2. We are not able to address both peoples concerns

No matter how “on the same page” you and your significant other are in terms of an idealistic goal for what your new kitchen or bathroom would be like, you would be surprised at how many little things there are to consider – from hardware finish, to tile layout, even the direction the door swings in or out of the room.  The way we see it, everyone who will be using the room should have the chance to give their input.

3. It is a waste of your time

Every time we go out on a “one-legger” (as they are so often pessimistically referred to in the business) it is inevitable that we are going to go back a second time when both parties can be present.  It is probably 1 case out of 100 that the second person’s opinion is completely irrelevant in the matter.

4. Important information gets lost in translation

When we hire a new consultant, it takes months to train them on all the pros and cons of each individual type of window, type of glass, type of insulation, etc.  We would not expect our customers to retain, in an hour or two, enough to be able to intelligently explain everything to their spouse.  What happens instead is like a game of “telephone”, where information is relayed incorrectly or far less thoroughly.

5. You are not able to touch or feel the samples

This one is self-explanatory.  Have you ever bought an item after seeing only the pictures online, and when it arrived in the mail it was far different than you expected?  Have you ever gone on a date with someone after only seeing their pictures online and….well, you get the idea!!  The importance of interacting in physical space with something before you buy it is incalculable.

Although you may be available more often than your significant other and see the first meeting as a good “first step” towards completing your kitchen or bathroom remodeling project, it more often than not will lead to more confusion, more time, more misunderstandings, and more hassle than if you were to just meet with our consultant together for the first time.  Then, the three of you (or more, depending on your situation) can work as a well-oiled machine, efficient and informed, which will be better for you and for us in the long run. We are available evenings and weekends to suit your needs – Click here to choose the time that works best for you.

How to Compare Multiple Bids the Smart Way

You’ve surely heard the phrase “Comparing Apples with Oranges”.

If you change your design every time you interview a contractor and ask them to bid, then comparing their bids will be a worthless exercise.  Each contractor will be bidding on a different thing.

Avoiding this problem is obvious: have a clear detailed plan and give the same set of prints to each contractor you ask to bid.

However, even if you give ten contractors the same plans, when you receive the bids you must look further than their bottom line price.  You should not always go for low bid, assuming you will save money; or high bid, assuming you’ll get the best quality; or middle bid, assuming you’ll get the best of both worlds.  Smart comparison means reviewing exactly what you will get for your money.

For example, if one contractor takes responsibility for mistakes, and has a built-in 5% allowance for unexpected costs, their bid will naturally be higher and still be a better value.

Or a contractor might be high bid because the other contractors left out portions of the remodel on the bid, relying on charging for change orders to finish the project.

Or a contractor might be the lowest bid not because they are basing it on cheaper materials or omitting parts of the project, but because they have an original and unique solution no one else has thought of.

The thing is to be smart when you compare.  A good idea is to choose your bidding contractors by reputation and involve them in the budget.  A good contractor can help you make the correct decisions that will allow you to stay within your budget.

Why Does Remodeling Cost So Much?

My bathroom is $30,000?! Why so much? The reason it costs so much is because there is $30,000 worth of work in the job.  If we want it to cost less, what we have to do is take out some of the items that we are including.  If you go grocery shopping and the bill is high, it’s because you bought more groceries.  If you want the bill to be lower, you have to buy less.  If you buy a car and it has features that you want, you’re going to pay more for those features (a back up camera or heated-seats, for example).  So in a bathroom if you wanted to buy a heated floor, it is going to cost more than a bathroom without a heated floor.  The price is related to the purchase quantity and quality of the products.

Recently completed Clinton Township Master Bathroom

Most people do not buy a bathroom or kitchen nearly as often as they buy a car.  So people generally understand why cars cost what they cost, especially related to other cars.  Some cars are more expensive than others.  All cars take you to work, though.  When we talk about bathroom and kitchen remodeling, price is going to be reflective upon what is included.  More electrical, higher price.  More plumbing, higher price.  More expensive sink, etc.

This Sterling Heights client saved money on their Kitchen Remodel by not replacing their cabinets and just focusing on the countertops, backsplash, paint, appliances, sink, lighting, and adding electricity to the island.

Now if we are comparing proposals from one company to another and one seems to be $5,000 higher let’s say, the reason for that is most likely the salesperson’s interpretation of what you said you wanted coupled with his/her desire to get you to purchase better quality products so you won’t call back later and say there was a problem.

Some salespeople’s mentalities are more budget-oriented, while other salespeople’s mentalities are more quality-oriented (where the price ends up higher).  So depending on the personality of who you’re talking to, that person’s interpretation of what they think you should buy will be different.

Our advice is to be more clear up-front about your goals.  Do your research ahead of time, and be specific about what you want (and what you don’t want).  Then, the prices from the companies that you call in will be much closer together.  Then it is just a matter of deciding who you think you can have harmony with as a company-client relationship.  And it would be a good idea to visit their showroom, talk to some of their past customers, or just ask around – there are a lot of ways to find out about a company.  Talk with the City Hall about them getting permits, talk with the appliance suppliers, the cabinet supplier even.  Find out if they pay their bills – that will give you some idea of their business acumen along with the harmony that they have with their suppliers.  If they have good relationships, most likely it will end up to be a smooth-flowing job.

The Benefits of Visiting our Showroom (2023)

  • Updated from a post originally published on: 08/14/2015

The majority of our potential clients will initiate their contact with us by sending an email or calling us on the phone, and requesting a free in-home consultation. While we in no way discourage this, I would humbly suggest that the better route to take would be to first stop by our Showroom. We are open from 9:30 to 5:00 Monday through Thursday, 9:30 to 2:00 on Friday and from 10:00 to 3:00 on Saturday.

Welcome to Kopke!

The reason I see it most beneficial to visit our Showroom before making an in-home consultation appointment is, by visiting, you will have the opportunity to meet with multiple members of our staff, from design, to pricing, to production. Even potentially the installers who will be working on your job, the bookkeeper who can answer any questions related to financing, and the marketing team who will gift you with a promotional item or two! We might be having an employee’s birthday party and invite you in for a slice of ice cream cake. You will have an inside view into our company culture instead of one stranger appearing on your doorstep.

Sometimes a walk-in client will be greeted by one of our designers, begin a discussion about their project, and come to a technical question that that individual is not an expert on. We can easily grab the nearby expert, and answer your question for you right there. Have a question about how long your project will take to start? Ask our production department, who know their schedules better than anyone. You can even meet the owner and shake his hand. I think you are beginning to get my point.

Tons of product samples to browse!

Additionally, we have thousands of product samples here that will inspire you. You will have a much better direction of which samples you would like brought out to your home during the in-home consultation. You can even borrow some to take home with you!

I would sincerely suggest visiting us here, developing a rapport with a design consultant, and then making an appointment for him/her to meet with you at your home to proceed further. By visiting us you will have a much clearer picture of whether or not our company is a good fit for you. Call 586-777-6633 to make an appointment to come visit, or walk-ins are always welcome!

How Much Does Remodeling Cost In Southeast Michigan? (2014)

I tallied up every job we completed in the year 2014, and arranged them by subject to show you a guideline of how much you can expect to spend when you decide to undertake a remodeling project. You can see the low end, the high end, and the averages for each category. For an exact quote on your project, contact us at (586) 777-6633 !

Note: Some of our customers replace a few windows at a time, and some do the whole house at once.

Note: a Minor Kitchen or Minor Bath project is one in which the layout is not rearranged – plumbing is not moved – complete tear-out does not take place. These projects include things like cabinet replacing or refacing, new countertops, new flooring, tub to shower conversion, etc.