Man measuring wall

Starting a project without a scope of work is like building without a measuring tape!

You want to refurbish your property as soon as possible so that you can bring in new tenants or keep your home owner’s association happy. As much as you might wish to click your heels together and have all the work done, this is a long and detailed process that  could require pulling permits, soliciting contract bids, and waiting for materials to arrive. Do not try to rush, or your results will suffer. Lack of comprehensive planning is one of the most common mistakes we see in property and apartment renovations.

The first thing you need is a plan…and not just in your head. You need something down on paper or at least in pixels. This document is called your Scope of Work and it is basically an overview of what you want to achieve. The scope of work is your chance to define your project so there are no surprises at the end.

Why the Scope of Work is So Important

The scope of work is a keystone document that will help keep everybody on the same page as your large project gets underway. It will be a critical help to you in a number of ways

  • Provides clarity: The SOW allows you and your team to define exactly what you want at the end of the project. It is your chance to get your ideas out of your head or out of all the board members and into the real world.
  • Helps you prioritize: As you start defining your ideal outcome, you’ll begin to naturally prioritize your goals. In all likelihood, you won’t be able to do everything you want, at least this round. Writing the SOW will allow you to determine what is really important and what can wait for later.
  • Allows apples-to-apples comparisons: Potential contractors will need something in order to develop a bid for your project. The more detailed your SOW, the higher the chance that you’ll get true apples-to-apples bids that you can easily compare.
  • Keeps everyone on the same page. Your team and your contractor aren’t psychic. A well-planned SOW will bring everyone on board the same train so you can work together, not against each other.

Creating Your Scope of Work

So, what does a scope of work actually look like? Does it have to be incredibly long and complicated? Not exactly. The SOW can be as simple or as complicated as you like, though more details usually help improve clarity. Your SOW will depend a lot on the size and complexity of your project, but most of them contain:

  • An introduction – This introduces the project and may provide background on the building and property management team
  • An objective – This is a short summary of your overall goal for the project. At the end of the day when all the hammers and paint cans are packed up, what do you want to achieve?
  • List of steps – Here’s where you dig into the details. List the major tasks that will get you to your objective. Be thorough enough here so that contractors can put together accurate bids, but you also don’t want to drown anyone in too many details.
  • Diagrams and images – Depending on the needs of your project, you may want to include diagrams of the complex, specific areas, or pictures of the current building and structures so contractors have a better understanding of the size and dimensions of the project.
  • Timeline – It is rare for a large project to stay on track, but give potential contractors an idea of your preferred timeline so they can put this into their calculation when they create a bid.

Bidding Out Large Projects

Your SOW is your best friend when bidding out large property improvement projects. Give your SOW to each potential contractor so they all compile their bids using the same information. For large projects, you want to collect bids from at least three different contractors to give yourself more options and even to collect useful insights. Make sure you ask for and call references for each contractor. If possible, actually go out and look at previous jobs they’ve done. By looking at other projects you will be able to see the quality and style of the contractor’s repairs and gain insight into how other properties addressed a problem similar to yours.

Define the project YOU want and then give every contractor the same fair chance to win your business! If you have a property improvement need for a property in San Diego or San Diego County, contact Best-Rate Repair. We would love the opportunity to compete for your business.

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