Here! Make any Interior Design or Construction project you are contemplating much less complicated and - therefore - more fun. Whatever you are planning to do, whether it's a paint job, new blinds, a bedroom addition replacing a front door, your decision-making can be simplified.
My clients often have been working with me (their Designer) and their Architect. Once Construction Documents are complete, the clients are ready to choose a contractor to execute the design. For some of my encompassing and detail-oriented projects, I recommend my clients get references for A SMALL NUMBER of general contractors, interview them, and then negotiate an agreed cost for the project with the selected G.C. This is in contrast to waiting for bids from a long list of builders. It also limits the number of subcontractors that, with a remodeling, will need access to the space in question.
You can find contractors through your Architect or Designer, your friends, neighbors or perhaps through your local Building Department. Building Departments won't give you one favorite, but they can get you a list of builders that they work with successfully. You might have seen contractors' signs in the neighborhood, and that's their most visible advertising. Talk to them, ask for additional references (if you feel you need them) and when you like someone, have them put an overall bid together. A reputable builder can put together a team efficiently and (especially now) quickly which will speed up not only the start of the project, but its execution as well by passing on his (or her) experience. Sit down, review details and finalize an agreement. The details that are part of the quote may vary from agreement to agreement.
I don't like "allowances" (an amount for an item, but not specified) for interior elements. Allowances are frequently the "death" of a project. THIS is (another reason) why you should work with an Interior Designer from the beginning. A Designer will make sure that what you want will be what you get in the final result. Often, when items are left as allowances (cabinets, kitchen and bath fixtures and accessories, tile, lighting, paint--sometimes, flooring) are part of a complete bid, it's a natural/easy place for the Contractor to lower his costs by including amounts for these items that are more basic. You'll get "extra'd" for changing to higher style and/or quality items. (...but I digress.)
So many of my suppliers and contractors have been telling me lately that they are just bidding, bidding, and bidding. Some of the specialists are bidding to GCs and some of them are bidding to home/business owners that are shopping for themselves. Bidding takes a LOT of time. Reviewing bids takes understanding of the product. General Contracting is a huge, busy, time-consuming job. They figure out carpentry and basic trades that they choose for the homeowner and then they often shop for the "finish trades", which is lingo for all those workmen "a Designer can find for you". Builders I work with regularly LOVE that I can take much of the bidding process off their hands. My clients will work with my team of suppliers, the GC will coordinate when it's time to be on the job, and my clients get the top-notch quality and what they might not ever find for themselves.
This can all be complicated if you are not experienced. If you are looking for tradesmen for specific projects on your own, again, work with someone of wonderful repute or someone you know, and figure out a budget WITH them. One of my clients found a carpenter to put together some small projects for them, so they didn't have to negotiate with window suppliers or home stores - he assembled what they needed to replace a front door system plus more small repairs for them.
It's overwhelming to have too many suppliers or too many choices. That's part of "what an Interior Designer can do for you". You or your Designer might have names of professionals, but a Designer likely has more experience in searching and pricing a number of products/vendors/craftsmen. They have done the legwork and research that you are starting yourself and the relationships to make it less complicated.
Find a great professional and take advantage of his/her ability to make your project easier, more efficient..and fun.