Designing is different than bidding. As with most things, you will likely get what you pay for. If you know exactly what you want and how you want it done, then you only need to screen and hire a company or workers to execute the project according to your plans and specifications. It is easy to shop for and buy materials based on your plans. You may want to “get bids” for the labor so as not to waste money. You need to pay only for the building of the project since you already have the plans and specifications. However, you do need a budget target for your project because at some point, you will be paying for it.
Should you lack plans and specifications, someone will have to provide them (particularly if a building permit is involved) and you will pay one way or another. If the person doing the work has to create them, the price will reflect this. No one can work for free. Absence of defined plans and specifications is at best a roll of the dice but is more likely a recipe for disaster.
The cost of your project will depend on its size, materials and complexity. If you want to explore alternatives, e.g. cost ranges, design options, colors, materials, maintenance requirements, or tradeoffs among alternatives, and create a project uniquely suited to your uses, tastes and setting, then you should hire a person or company (such as Essential Extras, Inc.) able to ask the right questions, pay attention to your answers, assess your particular situation and create something that responds to your needs in use while being affordable, aesthetically pleasing and congruent with your setting (in addition to fitting your budget.) This is designing. Getting the design right comes from paying attention to your wants and needs and having the experience and expertise to create custom solutions. Actually building it becomes the final detail.
A well designed project will be much more enjoyable and will probably cost a little more because there is simply more to do. First, it costs to create the design. Second, there will probably be more things to get right individually and together so that you end up with what you want the way that you want it. Time, skill and proper materials all cost money. It is important that you receive good value for the time and money you invest in the project. Price is easy to measure; but good value is what makes a deal good. The results will be in front of you for a long time.
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