What do people ask us all the time?


What is the first step to get started on a basement remodeling Milwaukee project?

This might be more than you asked, but here will lay out the steps in our company:

  • STEP 1 – The Project Introduction / Qualification
  • STEP 2 – The Estimate Appointment
  • STEP 3 – The Proposal Meeting


What is the “Project Introduction / Qualification” phase all about?

This is generally a conversation we have with each and every customer. Most often this conversation is over the phone. It is too hard to get down to the finer basement remodeling Milwaukee details via email and generally most people we talk to either call us or fill out the form on our website. We take pride in our ability to answer the phones at our business. We realize that the lack of communication right at the beginning of a project does not create the best relationship.

We want to know a handful of things about projects before we schedule an estimate appointment but there are usually four main areas we strive to get clarity on.

  • Area of Home to Be Remodeled
  • Project Budget Range
  • Time Frame for Completion
  • Motivation for Remodeling
  • Usually we are starting to get excited about the project and if this initial call goes well and all partiesl feel it is a good fit at that point then we will schedule a time to come to the property for an estimate appointment.


What goes on at the “Estimate Appointment”?

Great question! This is where we capture the overall vision that you want to accomplish by walking through the space with you to get a feel for the possibilities and at the same time gathering measurements and other hard data about the current shape of the home in the area of the remodel.
We use a proven basement remodeling Milwaukee estimate checklist to make sure we ask all the right questions which can sometimes take us up to 90 minutes to get through depending on how detailed and specific your wants and needs are for the end result. Generally the more specific and detailed your ideals have become at this point, the more accurate and helpful our pricing options will be at the proposal meeting.

Finally, after we have asked you lots of questions and we have walked the space, drawn the space, and obsessed over the details of the space that are relevant to pricing the materials and labor then and only then can we actually move forward with scheduling a time for the proposal meeting.


Why do I have to schedule another meeting?

We like to make sure and provide our clients with multiple options for pricing. We call it the good, better, and best basement remodeling Milwaukee presentation. After we have come out to your house and gathered all the data and dreams up, we have to then go and put them together while keeping in mind your budget and a number of other variables in order to come up with a variety of different options.

We find that our customers appreciate seeing the difference we come up with between our three options because it helps them decide what elements they want to invest in more.


What are the most important details to discuss before scheduling an estimated appointment?

Mainly we need to know about your: budget, timeframe, and whether or not we are a good fit.

We enjoy working with clients that are passionate about quality (we are as well), that enjoy communication, and take pleasure in being a part of a proven process. We know not every project is right for us just like we might not be right for every project.


What sizes of projects do you work on?

  • We can do entire home remodels but we generally specialize in being the basement remodeling Milwaukee experts.
  • We have done many kitchen remodels and bathrooms are included often with our basement and kitchen remodels.
  • Bottom line is that if it seems like an extensive remodel, give us a call and we can talk through the details with you. Even if it turns out to not be a good fit for us, odds are that we know somebody who might be able to help you.


What do we need to do to prepare for the estimate appointment?

Clear the area as much as possible. Obviously if you are going to be remodeling an area it will need to be free of belongings and other materials so we ask that if possible you complete this sort of clearing out before you decide to have us out. This will allow us to make sure that our measurements are as accurate as possible to save you both time and money.

Have ideas ready to go when get there. If you have photos and examples to show us, specific material requests and style examples. We can use all of the following phrases ready to flow:

  • “for sure, we want this ________…”
  • “We have to make sure this _________ is included”
  • “__________ is the main reason to make this space more usable in the first place”

But we also want you prepared to share those less concrete ideas and thoughts:

  • “We thought maybe we could do something like this…?”
  • “Would it be possible to…?”
  • “What could we do over in ______ area to bring it all together?”
    If you have thought about what you want and the possibilities and made sure that we can get to the area for proper measurements then we should be good to go!


What happens on an estimated appointment?

First we will greet you and your family! Next we generally make our way into the area of the remodel to get the conversation flowing in the right direction. After we get to the right area we begin working through our tried and true estimate checklist. The checklist ensures that we ask all the core logistical questions, the bigger picture and overall vision questions, and the hard budget related questions so that we know what basement remodeling milwaukee options to include in the follow up proposal meeting.
It generally lasts no more than 90 minutes depending on how well the area and project ideas have been organized beforehand.


How much does an estimate cost?

With us: NOTHING! Nada. Zilch. Free. We do not charge you.
Some companies out there will charge you for an estimate but most of them offer estimates for free. The problem with a free estimate from MOST (not all) contractors is that they generally lack a good deal of information that is useful for any sort of useful comparison to other quotes.
It takes on average six to eight hours of company time per proposal meeting with our prospective clients to produce three accurate pricing options for their remodel project.


What is included in the estimate meeting?

  • 90 minutes of one of our sales representatives time
  • A walkthrough of the remodel area
  • Measurements of the remodel area
  • Conceptual basement remodeling milwaukee design collection


What does it cost to design a typical remodel project?

We include the design as a part of our overall basement remodeling Milwaukee pricing. We can’t say for sure what other companies charge but it is our philosophy that a customer should have a pretty clear picture of what the project will cost them before they sign an open ended contract. By guiding our clients through the design process partially during our estimate appointment we are able to create accurate and detailed project proposals we can stand by even before much of the detailed design and selection work has begun.


Why is there a second appointment after you come out to visit?

It takes about two hours of work after we leave your home to put together our three pricing options for the proposal meeting. During the time between the estimate appointment and the proposal meeting we take our time preparing these options with care.


What if you need time to think about it?

We will give it to you. Generally we can make a variety of on the spot changes to any one of our three basement remodeling Milwaukee pricing options provided during a proposal meeting which means small tweaks do not need to hold up the process.
However, if you genuinely need more time to make decisions then we will schedule a time to follow back up in person within about three days.


Why do they say you should always get multiple quotes?

This old bit of knowledge seems to meet the standard of common sense however we find that most of our clients have trouble just getting other contractors to call them back the first time much less to end up getting a quote from them.

We will compare any quote to our quote. We even offer to beat any competitor’s price in the event that the materials and labor match “apples to apples” as we believe we are the better option.

If you have another quote we will be happy to break down the differences between our quote and any other you get for the same project.


What are the best overall evaluation points for a contractor on your next remodel?

Check their reviews. Check if they have any video testimonials. We are the highest rated and most reviewed in the area because we seek out valuable customer feedback to ensure that we are always getting better. We think this is a big deal and so do our happy past clients.

Check the quality of their most recent work. If they don’t have any then you might have to wonder what quality you can expect on your project.


What is an apples to apples quote comparison?

Essentially this just means that the values assigned to the labor and materials listed on a proposed project pricing estimate are aligned between companies. One company might estimate a basement remodeling Milwaukee project using lesser quality materials or they may estimate a larger amount of man hours to complete a specific portion of a project compared to another company. These details matter when trying to determine which company or which quote is going to benefit you the most and ensure that you are truly satisfied with the outcome of your project.


How do we avoid cutting corners?

We just don’t do it. Instead of cutting corners, we communicate better. That is how we compete with the other contractors out there.
We have a specific process internally that prevents us from drifting on project timelines that we work very hard to adhere to. We track receipts daily for all of the subcontractors and materials used in addition to tracking the labor man hours and project management man hours for each basement remodeling milwaukee project each day and week that it goes on.

By sticking to our system we can ensure that we stay proactive at every turn rather than reactive. We would rather provide a quality project even if it may take a bit longer than we would to provide a bad product and have it be done faster.


What makes us so confident in our timelines?

We always estimate that there will be delays in the remodeling process so we build in some extra time purely out of wisdom and firsthand experience.
Our confidence in our ability to get work done on time comes down in large part to the fact that we have a large team of employees that can perform a wide variety of different types of labor in the field while some contractors like to subcontract out every single aspect of a project.
Our team, our systems, and our experience allow us to confidently provide realistic timelines on every proposal meeting with prospective clients.


How do we handle problems on the jobsite?

First and foremost we have jobsite cameras that we provide as a suggested element to your remodel project to keep accountability and transparency high throughout the project. Although we can never promise to be perfect, we can promise to always handle our business according to our company core values.
As a Christian owned company we strive to handle problems on the jobsite by sticking to the golden rule as much as possible in situations where we have made a mistake.


What are some of the unforeseen complications that are not uncommon?

We run into many different areas that create issues on basement remodeling milwaukee job sites and that we could not have predicted beforehand. Mold, termite damage, foundation settling, unsafe chemicals (lead or asbestos) or any number of other issues could be creeping just below the surface. We have language in our customer agreements that covers how we handle these situations but essentially the industry standard is to stop work and alert you of the issue, how much additional resources it will take to finish the project after solving the issue and finally what the impact will be on the proposed project completion date.

Once we have reassessed after running into one of these unforeseen circumstances then we work to make sure the homeowner has all the facts before making a decision on how to move forward on the project.

It is not uncommon to run into major issues on a remodel that can substantially increase the overall cost to complete the project which is something we warn anyone and everyone about before starting on any remodel.


What is a change order?

This is a formal and documented change to an original contractual agreement between a contractor and their customer in a traditional arrangement that acts as an addendum or exhibit of the original basement remodeling milwaukee contract and serves only to acknowledge specific changes while verifying that all parties have agreed to the changes.
We use change orders to manage expectations and document important changes that occur for our clients legal and financial benefit.


How do we deal with change orders?

If you have changed your mind on something and want to make a change then we have a form that you would fill out. The form includes:
What changes are desired:

  • What the additional cost of the changes will be after the changes are made:
  • What the new final cost of the project will be after the changes are made:
  • What the new project completion date will be if the changes are to be made:

These forms are signed off on by the contractor and the customer before work is to continue.

We really like to avoid change orders by making sure that our customers are prepared for their estimate appointment and have a good understanding of what they are wanting.
If you are hoping to avoid change orders then make sure you work to provide as specific and detailed of a description as possible when working with our team through the estimate phase of the process


When is the time to change your project plan?

The time to make major changes to your design is always during the up front phase of the project where we have not yet started doing any actual construction. At this point in the process changes can be made very easily and quickly.

If you wait until later in the project timeline there may be additional costs in terms of both time or money that could have been avoided had they been raised earlier in the process.


What is the “selections” process all about?

This process occurs after we have already handled the broad strokes of the project and we need to get down to the nitty gritty details like what color of paint, and what brand, make, and model of lighting that you want to purchase. There are many little details to pay attention to during the “selection” process.


How do we help you make your selections?

We have lots of past project photos for most things that we can use to help show you real world examples as you try to make the choices for the final details that bring together the design of your new space.

We don’t get overwhelmed with the details. We do this all the time and we have a checklist for every step of the way. We just view it as the same thing over and over again so it will not feel overwhelming as we step through this phase with you inch by inch.


Do you work with other subcontractors?

We have both employees and we also employ various subcontractors. Everyone who enters your house will have been vetted by management at Back to Basics Builders. We take great pride in our hiring process and our team training to ensure that everyone on our payroll upholds the core values of the company. into your home to be skilled, friendly and helpful in answering any of your questions.

Through the course of becoming the highest and most reviewed basement remodeling Milwaukee experts we have learned that creating relationships with the right people ensures success on both current and future projects.


How will we know what is happening with the progress during the project?

We provide a schedule immediately after signing a contract with you. This schedule will reflect the terms agreed to in the contract and we strive each day and each week to maintain that project completion date. Each week you will be in contact with our team in the office and our team in the field depending upon which phase of our process.
We train our project managers to be looking to answer your questions before you have them


How does the permitting process work for a remodeling project?

Generally we need a permit. We have to file for one with the city. Bad news is that it can take a while. Usually its quick, like within weeks or sometimes days, but other times it can take months and on a rare occasion the city will not permit a project but again, this is very rare.
The city can be more relaxed about remodeling in some areas more so than others but most of the time they want to be involved if there is a remodel going on, even in residential homes.

A basement remodeling milwaukee permit is considered to be required in most municipalities when a plan exists to change the function of a given room in an existing building or structure. This means that if you are wanting to add a bathroom, add a kitchen or kitchenette, or convert major areas involving plumbing, structural, and /or electrical then you should plan on getting a permit.

A permit is also considered to be required in most municipalities when a plan exists to change the appearance of a building or structure by changing the windows, siding, façade, etc)


Who has to file for the building permits?

Technically you, as the customer, are the one responsible for getting the building permits. We can assist you with the steps and tell you what to apply for and basically hold your hand throughout the whole permitting process, but it has to be the customer making the request. The only exception is if you were to give us power of attorney, then we would be able to file for the permits for you which would be totally unnecessary but we have had people ask about that!


How are floor plans used in the process of the basement remodeling Milwaukee?

These are useful diagrams that lay the view of the worksite out in a two dimensional drawing depicting a scaled down but accurate representation of a space to be constructed or renovated including measurements and details of rooms, walls, positions of doors, appliance placement, etc.
We use these heavily during the estimating appointment and the proposal refinement process to verify that all of our plans are documented.


How do we prevent turning your home into a dusty debris zone?

Although construction is a messy activity and it can produce all manner of dirt and dust while it is on its way from basement remodeling Milwaukee construction zone to the beautiful completed project which is why we follow a specific daily clean up checklist to keep your home and your belongings safe from damage with a focus on keeping the higher traffic areas especially tidy.

We use tarps, tapes, packing blankets and whatever else is required to ensure safety and cleanliness on our job sites.


What happens at the end of the project?

You get to enjoy your new space!

The final steps of the project are all about getting final approval for all of the small little details that are getting wrapped up during the “punch list” phase of the project.
The punch list includes all the tiny little details that may have got missed throughout the finishing process that we always make sure to complete before bringing the customer in for the final basement remodeling milwaukee reveal.


Why do you gather photography?

We find that our clients initially really get a lot of value out of the fact that they can see the before and after photos of our previous projects. These photos help them relate to what kind of potential there is for their own space.


When do you gather the initial photos for the before and after gallery?

Our basement remodeling Milwaukee photographer generally gets scheduled immediately after we sign up for a new project to start so that we can capture the space before any construction occurs. There is not another time where we utilize a professional photographer other than at the very beginning and of course at the very end of the project.


At what point do you schedule the photography at the end?

Once you have walked through the project with your project manager and we have agreed that all the items on the final “punch list” are completed we will generally schedule the photographer to come out for one final photo shoot. In the event that you plan on furnishing the area we often are flexible enough to schedule to have the photos taken before or after the space has been staged or furnished to your liking. After all they are your photos as much as they are our photos.


Can you provide a copy of the photography from your basement remodeling Milwaukee project?

Many times our clients will request copies of the photos from their project and we are more than happy to provide them.
Few things are more satisfying than a great before and after photo.


Why do you collect video testimonials of your clients?

Our clients tell us over and over again that they chose us because of our incredible reviews and testimonies from past clients. The number one reason why our clients choose to go with us over other contractors is because of our reviews and testimonies. We take every opportunity to complete projects for clients who are invested and passionate about transforming their home to transform their life and we believe that is worth showing off.

Not all of our basement remodeling Milwaukee clients are comfortable with hoping on camera. That is totally fine, if you are still open to providing a testimonial then we can arrange to have a phone call on a recorded line and our marketing team can add the project photos to the video.

Some customers are not a fan of leaving video or audio feedback and opt for a written review, regardless of how we gather your feedback. We are proud to work with our clients and grateful that they enjoy working with us enough to take the time out of their busy schedules to provide feedback for other potential clients out there wondering if we are the right fit for them.


Can I put a sauna in my basement?

There are multiple types of saunas to consider for indoor use but in essence: Yes.

If you are dead set on getting very hot in your basement then a sauna is a great addition and our team can certainly help.

Be sure to consider what type of flooring you are going to be using in your basement as traditional wet/dry saunas tend to drip occasionally
Also consider placement when installing a sauna, most people want to have them near a shower considering you emerge from them covered in sweat if they are doing their job.


Could you install a bowling alley in my basement?

Not only can we install a bowling alley but we want to. So far we have not had anyone decide that they love bowling enough to use the square footage for the opportunity to bowl a strike whenever they want.

We believe that one day soon we will get to install our first basement remodeling Milwaukee bowling alley underground lane.


Is it possible to add a shooting range in my basement?

We don’t see why not? If the city permits it then we will build it. If you don’t like traveling all the way to the range this could be an incredible addition to your basement.


Would we be able to add a wet bar into our basement?

Our company has built many wet bars into basements before. In fact we won an award for one of our client’s basements we did with a wet bar in it. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry awarded us Regional Contractor of The Year for that basement remodeling Milwaukee project.


How can you add a home theater to my basement?

The home theater is a very popular choice for families with children all the way up into their late teens and early 20s. We have set up home theaters for many clients in the past and would be more than happy to discuss how we can help transform that unused space in the basement into your family’s next most used room in the house with a home theater to rival the Jones’s.