What to Expect During a Free Consultation

Just because our consultations are free, doesn’t mean they’re not valuable! So if you’re considering renovating your Waikato home, get your consultation sorted, but make sure you read this before!

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While you don’t technically need to do any prep work before a consultation, putting a little effort into your due diligence will go a long way and ensure you make the most of your time.

People pointing at plans

Before your initial consultation

Find inspiration

Keeping an open mind doesn’t mean having no idea what you want! Between social media, TV shows, blogs, and magazines, there’s no shortage of high-quality design inspiration out there – use it to your advantage! Focus on general styles, like Japandi or modern farmhouse interiors, and what you like about them. This way, when you meet your renovation professional, you can confidently share your likes and dislikes!

Prioritise your ideas

Having clearly defined priorities will help with the decision-making process, and the earlier you lay out your must-haves, the better. For example, if you’re in the middle of the bathroom renovation process, and you suddenly have to choose between a certain tile pattern or an upgraded shower, your judgement may be clouded by all the hustle and bustle you’re surrounded by. Heading into an initial consultation with at least one or two must-haves is a great starting point. 

Have a loose budget ready

The point of an initial consultation is to talk through your project goals with a professional, so you don’t need a concrete budget yet without knowing any details. However, there’s a big difference between a $20,000 renovation and a $100,000 renovation. If you’re renovating with a partner, have financial discussions before your consultation so you’re on the same page with how much you’re comfortable spending. 

Women on phone while looking at plans

What to ask during your consultation


Tradespeople book their time weeks, even months, in advance. When you’re first interviewing potential contractors, make sure to discuss their availability. If you’re hosting family for the holidays, it’s probably not ideal to work with someone who isn’t available until November.

  • What are some common milestones for this type of project?
  • Are there any potential delays or factors that could affect the timeline?
  • When is the earliest you can get started?

Do a walk-through

Site evaluation is typically done in person but, thanks to technology, virtual tours are becoming increasingly common. No matter how big or small your renovation is, a walk-through is the perfect time to ask questions and solicit ideas from your potential contractor, design, or project manager.  

  • What layout changes would you recommend for the space?
  • Do you see any potential challenges with this area?
  • How can I maximise this room without making structural changes?

Prior renovation experience

Some people may find it uncomfortable to ask potential contractors about their prior experience, but it’s absolutely necessary to learn whether they’re capable of completing your project to a high standard. And it’s something they’ll be expecting you to ask about! They may have an online portfolio, a client portal, or case studies that include before and after photos as well as project details

  • Have you worked with projects with a similar scope and budget?
  • Can you share your project portfolio or references?
  • Do you specialise in any particular kind of renovations?
Couple looking at laptop

What comes after your consultation

Like with anything, a second (or third!) opinion is always recommended. Interview a few different contractors and teams until you feel comfortable moving forward with one. Once you find the best team for the job, next steps will vary based on their unique process. At Refresh, after your initial consultation, your Renovation Consultant will provide a detailed proposal that includes concept designs based on your consultation, a clearly defined project scope, and eventually a cost estimate. 

Arrange your free consultation with Refresh Waikato

Ready to get your renovation started? Get in touch with a local Waikato Renovation Consultant to put everything you just learned into action during your consultation!

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