Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Getting Estimates on Your Shouse

I have been emailing back and forth with the builder of my future Shouse this week. Beverly, their quote guru, has been amazingly patient as I wade through the options available to me. Right now a 12' x 36' building with asphalt shingle roof, 9 windows, a front door with window, and a paint finish is sitting at $8,850. However, Beverly let me know that they can do double-pane vinyl clad windows if I intend to heat and cool the building. Then she mentioned they do insulation and electrical work as well. Now, I know that I want to do a lot, but I am one person and my BF will only be able to spend one week helping me with this great adventure before he has to go home to Washington for his job. Knowing where my budget sits, I sat down with my mighty pencil and began planning out my electrical system so I could get a quote.

Assuming I can keep the budget to under $11,000 it would make the most sense to have them run the electric. The reason? Certification. They would have their sub-contracted electrical person do the work which means code and permits are already covered. It is just another layer of peace of mind on this adventure. Eventually the solar power will be mine to handle hooking up, but since I currently am 1,123 miles away from my new homestead, having the building built with the better windows, insulation, and having the electrical pre-run makes the most sense. However, that being said, if it pushes past my allotted budget, then I will be doing the work by myself, which I don't mind doing, but may not have help for portions of, which could be an arduous process. If I lived with my partner or I was building the tiny house in my driveway over time, no biggie, but I have to be realistic to my goals.

Beverly has been wonderfully patient about answering the many questions I have been asking, which is very helpful. I have to be honest, this is a big chunk of change for anyone to spend and had her response to my questions been indifferent or clouded with irritation, I would have immediately found another builder. If your builder doesn't want to work with you, that is a sign. Here are just some of the questions I have lobbed in her direction:
1. Is a metal roof better than an asphalt one in OK? Here in Arizona it makes sense, but a friend recently pointed out that hail damage may be more severe on a metal roof. What is your opinion?

2. I see on your website that insulation and electric can be installed. Is this a parts plus hourly labor charge or do you have a flat fee you quote based on the size of the building and what the customer needs?
3. What are the clearance measurements for the lofts? Is there a weight limitation? 
4.  What is the order to delivery time frame? 
5.  I would like one more quote please for the following: 
·         12 x 36
·         1 loft measuring 12' x 12' , the other loft left as standard
·         (5) 2' x 3' windows
·         (4) 3' x 3' windows
·         9 Lite Door (replace double door with 9 lite door)
·         Painted finish
6. Do you offer a discount if the building is paid for in cash as opposed to financing? 
And my latest quote request:  ·         I need a  quote for the building we quoted last: 12 x 36, painted, same number of windows, shingle roof, plus:

·         Insulation: entire building
·         Windows: double-pane vinyl windows
·         Electric to include:   3 GFCI receptacles (kitchen and bath), 10  standard receptacles (3 in large loft, 2 in standard loft, the rest downstairs), 1 stove receptacle (50 amp), 1 dryer receptacle (30 amp), 1 porch light on single pole switch,  3 three-way switches, 3 light boxes, 1 ceiling fan box with a single pole switch, wiring on a separate circuit for a window a/c unit, wiring on a separate circuit for two baseboard heaters (500 watt each), and one outdoor weather proof receptacle.
*When it comes time to actually wire it, I can send you info on where I want each one, but for now a general quote would be helpful. This applies to window placement as well.

So my advice to you if you are considering building a Shouse is:

  1. Ask lots of questions. 
  2. Put pencil to paper and make lists. 
  3. Have a clear vision of what the end product should look like. 
  4. Know what your budget is.
  5. Know your lead time. Don't wait until the last minute to make changes or upgrades.
  6. Know the building code in your area. 
  7. Find a builder who wants to work with you.
  8. Be realistic to your abilities and situation. (I know I can do it by myself, but in this case is that wisest or most practical?)
  9. What is safest? Know your limitations. 
I will leave you with a quote from a bulletin board forum I was doing some research on last night: 

"The time to learn to install electric properly is not after the firetrucks drive away."

Amen to that!