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The Importance of Setting a Budget

“What’s your budget?” is one of the first questions we ask when we meet to discuss your project.  

Sometimes clients hesitate to respond⏤maybe they haven’t sat down and figured it out yet, or maybe they’re worried about being overcharged if they tell us.  We understand the concern: you work hard for your money, and you don’t want it to be wasted or misused.  

Why is it important to set a budget before we begin designing your project? Great question. A budget helps ensure that we’re all on the same page when it comes to your vision.  When we’re all on the same page, you actually end up saving money because we can better steward your resources!   

  1. Stewarding your resources

If you have a $25k budget to buy a car, you don’t want the salesperson to take you straight to the Porsches.  You only want to see cars in your price range.  A home project is similar: there’s a huge range of options from high-end to low-end, and setting a budget helps us guide you in making the best choices for your available budget. 

Say you’ve got an absolute maximum of $60k for your kitchen remodel.  There are a finite number of things that you can do with this budget, and we’ll use our 20+ years of experience in this industry to help you prioritize.  For example, with that budget, we wouldn’t: 

  • design custom details that we know would blast past your budget,
  • specify high-end appliances,
  • select expensive tile or countertops, or
  • bust out the walls to expand your kitchen, knowing that an expansion like that would cost $20k. 

We will look at the most creative ways to stretch your funds so that the end result has the most impact for you.  We’ll help you explore:

  • standard cabinetry that works well for your space,
  • appliances that offer a high value-to-cost ratio,
  • lower-quality-but-still-beautiful hardware, and
  • smaller areas for putting in manufactured tile.

Knowing your budget helps us focus efficiently on creating the space you want with the money you have.  If you fall in love with a $1500 faucet, we might be able to find one that costs $500 that’s almost exactly the same in features and quality.  

Your budget is so important to guiding the design-build process that it’s Mantis’s policy to begin design work only after the client’s ballpark budget is finalized.  We don’t want to waste your time or money designing spaces that are beyond your means.  Stewardship is an important ethic for us, and we take seriously our responsibility to guide and protect your resources throughout this process.

  1. Peace of mind

No one likes unexpected costs.  Setting a budget at the beginning of your project helps guide you in making decisions that align with your finances.  It’s wise to set a budget range, with a minimum amount to guide the level of quality you’re looking for and a maximum amount to guide your priorities and help you make compromises between your wants and needs.  Knowing that maximum number will give you peace of mind with your project, ensuring that you’re not spending money that you don’t have.  

We do encourage clients to have an additional 15-20% contingency fund.  This fund serves two purposes: it covers any unexpected costs (like carpenter ants!), and it gives you flexibility to purchase an item that you fall in love with.


There are many factors that go into the cost of a project, and we go over them in more detail here: How Much Will It Cost?.  From your end, setting a realistic budget early on will help ensure that we’re all on the same page as we bring your vision to life.  

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