Many of our clients are anxious to learn all they can about the home remodeling process before embarking on their project. This is understandable and admirable. A remodeling project is exciting, can have a positive impact on a family’s quality of life, and is potentially an excellent financial investment.
A good place to begin the education process is with the remodeling contractor. Customers who understand the remodeler’s motivation and approach to the work will be better equipped to select a remodeler that suits their personality and project.
This is not a mysterious or complex undertaking—remodeling contractors are just business people. We possess skills that lend themselves to home improvement just as you apply your expertise to your chosen profession. Like many others, we want to earn a living doing something we’re good at and are passionate about, as well as leave some positive mark on the world.
As business people, we are interested in making money honestly by providing an excellent product for a fair price. Professional remodelers accomplish this goal by preparing business plans, understanding and adhering to client expectations, and establishing strong and reliable partnerships with suppliers, lenders, and subcontractors. We live in the communities in which we work, and therefore rely on our local reputations to sustain our business success.
As with any business, some remodeling contractors lack adequate business and communication skills to be successful, at least in the long term. Those human deficiencies—not intentional deceit—are the root of most horror stories about dissatisfied customers. Only a very small percentage of remodelers act badly, and they are often (and increasingly) ferreted out and exposed by various regulatory and industry certification standards that continue to improve the reputation and professionalism of the industry.
Professional remodelers—those with both the trade and the business management skills—work hard to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication with their clients. That effort is sometimes challenging. Unlike other industries, construction work is exposed and open as it progresses, and takes place in the full view of the client. What may appear to be incomplete or a mistake might simply be an unfinished phase of the project.
As a homeowner and potential remodeling client, it is critical to remember that contractors are engaged in the remodeling process every day, year after year, developing a solid sense of daily progress and a vision for how the project will finish to their client’s satisfaction. Homeowners, on the other hand, may go through the remodeling process only once, and so don’t get to develop that long-term perspective.
Successful remodeling professionals recognize the difference between their experienced perspective and the untrained eyes of their clients. They bridge that gap by respecting a homeowner’s questions and providing clear and satisfactory answers. They understand the significant emotional investment and the financial risk undertaken by their clients, and they work hard to calm fears and debunk myths.
Informed homeowners, in turn, must understand that remodeling is all in a day’s work for a contractor. When both you and your remodeler respect each other’s role and approach to the project, it creates a greater opportunity to foster open communication, build trust, and achieve a successful and satisfying project.