ID vs Contractor

Jes 16 Comments

Following my last post regarding renovation tips, I got a few enquiries on the comparison between interior designers and contractors. Most people would be more familiar with ID because they have showrooms or are located at shopping malls for walk in enquiries. For contractors, it's always word-of-mouth because they don't publicise their services to end customers and mostly do projects for businesses and even IDs.

To get everyone more familiar with both terms, I am listing the differences here.

1) Price
I was pretty hardworking and went to 5 different IDs to get a price indication of renovation. Boy, was I completely shocked. A basic 4 room for cost around $40k to $50k is no joke for any couple. Not including the banquet, photography and honeymoon, this amount is totally not what I hope to pay. Scrutinising the quotes got from my friends who went through IDs also got the same price. This just cannot be right. Luckily, I have some friends who recommended me to a decent contractor. The end amount cost more than half of ID's quote, which is $20k.

2) Specialisations
All contractors have specialisations into different areas. Some only do flooring, some only do carpentry work, some do windows and doors. For whole house renovation, you will need to find a main contractor who can coordinate the different work for you. It's high chance that contractors know one another so you can also ask them for referrals. The main contractor will normally contact the other sub-contractors and introduce you to them. Then, you can head down to each factories to choose the colours and materials. For IDs, they pretty much cover everything and will bring you around to choose things.

3) Coordination
A myth about contractors is that you have to work with a few of them. That is not true. The main contractor will still coordinate for you, just that you need to go down to different places to see the materials. It's the same for IDs, they will also bring you to different places to buy things. Many people thought a contractor does not help you to install bathroom fittings and receive delivery items, that is not true. They can definitely do so. Truthfully, perhaps an ID will help to simplify things as you choose everything that is under them.

4) Themes
The IDs have computer graphics to show you samples on how your end result would be like. You can even pick and choose your themes and styles and get pictures for them. Those are free for some IDs. You can even take the pictures to go to other ID or contractors, which I am sure some people do that. For me, I knew what I wanted to do so an ID did not help much. I don't go for themes, I go for practicality but that's just me. Not all contractors can help you with a theme so speak to them and decide for yourself.

5) Ideas
Doing a house renovation is a hands on project for me. I chose everything instead of leaving it to the ID to choose for me. This is why I was able to save more money. If you allow them to decide, you never know the extra that they charge you. Comparing item by item, an ID charge higher than a contractor, which is why the final amount cost so much different. I have friends who did built-in wardrobe and built-in study tables but in the end, they demolish it to make room for higher rental charges. Don't be too hasty to listen to your ID on how to make your house like a show room because it may not be what you want. Admittedly, a contractor might give you less ideas on how to furnish your room according to your theme so it's definitely good to talk to an ID for a start.
If you have such a house, definitely go for an ID, price is not an issue anymore!
It all boils down to price. If you feel the price is reasonable then both are fine. Compare the quotes, research and get them to rectify it immediately if it is not what you wanted. Communication is very important because they need to put your ideas into fruition and no matter ID or contractor, a good one will definitely give you less headaches.

Thankfully, I have no regrets 4 years on.

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  1. Hi Jes, thanks for the helpful info above. I'd been struggling between ID and contractor as well. If you don't mind, can share your contractor contacts? Thanks in advanced!

    1. Hi Jamie,

      Sure I don't mind sharing. Do drop me a mail or let me know your email so I can send to you :)

  2. Hi Jas, chance upon your blog as i have the same issue debating on main contractors or ID and is currently sourcing ideas on my renovation. Do you mind to share the main contractor contacts?

    1. Hi Joey,

      Sure just drop me your mail I will send to you :)

    2. Many thanks. My email is :)

  3. Hi Jes, I chanced upon your blog. Would you be able to share the contact to the contractor you used? My email is


  4. Hi jes, possible to share with me the contact as well? Im new to renovation and what i can find online is mainly ID.
    My email is

  5. Hi Jes, pls share with me your contractor contact. My email

  6. Hi Jes, nicely done article :) Could you share with me your contractor contact? My email is

  7. Hi Jes, would like your contractor contact as well.