My husband and I decided to get an ID and leave our renovation to the experts because of 3 things:
1. Preference for a fuss-free renovation
2. Not in Singapore to supervise and coordinate between contractors
3. Not good with designing, or anything artsy fartsy for that matter
Knowing we wanted to engage and ID, I then went full force to research on the IDs in Singapore. My key sources of information was from Renotalk, Renonation and my estate Facebook page, as many of my neighbours have started renovation work. I basically scoured through forums and t-blogs to read about renovation experience and source for ideas for my new home!
So... how did I know which ID to look out for?
I actually submitted my details into Renotalk and Renonation directly and waited for IDs to call back. Plus after scouring through the forums and t-blogs, I had a better idea of who are the highly raved IDs and I shortlisted them too. The last source was through friends and neighbours recommendation.
How did I shortlist from the 15 IDs who came back with a quotation?
15 IDs came back with a quotation. Yup 15. I nearly went bonkers trying to compare apple to apple. As it was the first round of emails, I narrowed down my options by asking them to revise their quotation according to what I already had in mind, down to the specific number of fts of carpentry work and the brand of hinges I wanted to use.
One key thing to note at this point is - there's no way to compare apple to apple for line items as the IDs tend to "jack up" the pricing on different areas of work. So one ID may be cheaper for your feature wall, but more expensive for your kitchen carpentry. I gave up after some point. And started comparing overall quotations.
First thing first - I told each and everyone of them my budget. Those that exceeded it by more than 20% was immediately striked off my list. If they cannot even comprehend a simple thing as client requirement, I don't think they deserve the business.
Second - I recorded their response time. After a week, I sent a reminder (Think i'm already pretty kind to give one weeks grace). After another week, I didn't bother anymore. Those that didn't respond, I basically took it as they don't want my business, and I have no time to chase my ID when they do my renovation.
I actually managed to narrow down to 6 IDs from the 15 IDs who contacted me just through these two basic criteria. And I went on to call them for a meet up so as to see if we can "click".
How did we shortlist from the 6 already shortlisted IDs?
We, erm.. came up with further shortlisting criteria.. The final four criteria we used are the below:
1. Cost taking into consideration workmanship (Bo bian since reno is expected to cost quite a bit)
2. How comfortable we were relating to him/her (Very impt since we need to relay our hopes & expectations for at least 2mths for the reno period, and even before & after e renovation)
3. Experience and responsiveness of the ID
We eventually shortlisted our ID from the 6 IDs.
Anyway, just some more tips for those looking for IDs at the moment.
1. Try not to be too gan cheong and ask for quotes 6 mths to a year ahead of time. Most IDs won't bother to entertain us as it is still a long way to go.
2. Most IDs give free 3D drawings after you sign with them, and there are even those who give free 3D drawings before you sign! So my advice is not to sign with IDs who ask you to pay for their 3D drawings. Especially if they tell you to pay a deposit to see their 3D drawing and will quote their services later, assuring you it will definitely be within your budget. Have seen at least 2 to 3 renotalk bloggers who were "cheated" this way and forfeited their 4 digit deposits. It's a painful lesson and I hope others don't fall into the same trap.
3. Though recommendations from friends and family is more credible, it is also important to meet up with the ID before signing, as chemistry may differ. What worked for them may not work for us.
So yups, that's a basic summary of our methodological (i hope) process of shortlisting and deciding on an ID ;) Hope that's useful! If you have further tips to share, simply comment to let me know and I can add them in as well.