Cost-per-square-foot is good ... really

Ahhh, cost-per-square-foot, the only true measure of a home’s quality. Where would we be without this perfect method of determining the exact value of a home, and whether a builder is right for the job? I know you feel the same way I do, because there is no other way to feel about this issue. Right? Wrong. In an online poll, we asked readers, “How do you feel about the cost-per-square-foot method of comparison?†and here is what you had to say: It’s a necessary evil - 49% Hate it - 38% Love it - 13% Do some quick math and you’ll realize that almost 90% of you associate cost-per-square-foot with the words “evil†and “hate.†Can’t get much clearer than this. So how do we live with it? We begin by accepting that it’s here to stay. There will always be someone down the street willing to use it as a way to differentiate themselves, and it’ll be up to you to explain what that difference truly is. We choose to educate clients that there’s more to a home’s quality or value than cost-per-square-foot. Use it as a starting point for a conversation in which you address the details, construction quality, product and material quality, the value of good design, and everything else that makes your business the best one for the job. The next time a client asks if you can design and/or build their home for a specific cost-per-square-foot, don’t cringe. Instead, take the opportunity to educate them, to arm them with questions they can use to challenge other designers and builders they’re considering, to tell them why it’s not the best way to measure the quality or value of a home. If we can’t beat ’em, join ’em. And if the clients don't understand what you're telling them, maybe they shouldn't be your clients.