FAQ's for Choosing a Builder

  • CREDENTIALS: Is the contractor licensed and insured? Have you asked them for a COI?
  • TIME: Do they have the availability to complete the project on your expected timeline?
  • PROOF OF ABILITY: Do they have references and examples of similar work for you to view?
  • ACCEPTABLE TERMS: Have you read the terms of their contract?
  • BUDGET: Have you discussed your budget and their payment terms?
  • RELATIONSHIP GOALS: Tensions can run high in construction. For good reason, it’s expensive and personal. Working with a builder you can have an open dialogue with will allow everyone to manage expectations better and deal with setbacks in a way that won’t derail your project.

We offer detailed estimating…to eliminate unforeseen costs. Detailed Estimating is very different from “Free Estimates”.

For years, the standard has been to give free estimates based on the square footage of the prospective project. At Crane Builders, we think it’s a bit more complicated than that.

We pride ourselves on accurate and complete cost estimating. Because of this, we are likely not the lowest bid at the start.

We do not low ball our bids or estimating in order to be awarded a project.

We do not square foot or ballpark costs in our detailed cost estimating process. Instead, we collect bids from suppliers and subs, even on allowance items. Because of this – bidding takes time! Our cost estimating takes numerous hours so we, ideally, prefer to negotiate contracts with owners once we are the preferred contractor for the job, as the time and effort we put into the bid process can be lost to contractors who do not compare to our quality or in our management and oversight. We have found that our time is best spent with clients who seriously want Crane to run their projects and understand the value of our services. Contact us for more information regarding estimates.

Given the volatility of pricing and unreliable lead times for materials, we take projects on a cost + basis. Most customers understand the "cost" part but have a misconception about the "+" part of the equation.

Cost = reimbursement for the cost of permitting, materials, utilities and labor to perform the work.

Plus = 20% builders margin

For simple math, if your project costs you $120,000:

$100, 000 to reimburse without interest for the cost of permitting, utilities, materials, equipment rental and labor.

$20, 000 used by the contractor to cover administrative costs, licensing, general liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance, callback expenses, interest expenses, tools, storage, vehicles and maintenance, marketing and advertising…then hopefully, profitability. It is only a fraction of the "+".

FBO = furnished by owner.

FBC = furnished by contractor or in our case furnished by Crane.

Many homeowners are looking for ways to cut costs. While it’s completely understandable, it must be discussed upfront…in order to avoid costly mistakes and schedule delays.

*For this example, let’s use appliances. They’re expensive. Many homeowners, will insist on furnishing their own appliances to avoid the 20% builders margin. Consider the following to determine whether it’s worth the savings to assume responsibility for the handling of your purchase.

  • Checking in materials to confirm receipt
  • Coordinating any rough in required for appliance or fixture in the appropriate phase of the project in a timely manner
  • Handling any warranty issues or returns for any damage or missing parts
  • Providing installation directions in a timely manner if installed by contractor

Good uses of FBO
= antique light fixtures, cabinet hardware, finials and decorative details. These items will not affect your critical path. We don’t need them to pass final inspection. You can even have them installed after we leave to maximize savings.

Crane Builders Team Photo
“Over the years, Crane Builders has done work for us personally and commercially in New Orleans. Most recently, Crane completed our beautiful family home in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.”
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Gayle and Marc E.
“Shortly after meeting Jackye, I knew Crane Builders was the one for our project. Jackye understood my vision and I couldn’t be happier with the results. She and her amazing team turned our attic into a coastal chic second floor living space for our 3 boys."
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Mary-Catherine S.