Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing the Right Contractor for Your Remodel On-Purpose

These tips will help you choose the best contractor/client for you. The more knowledgeable you are about your expectations as a homeowner/company, the less problems will arise during the project.

Communication and research are truly the first steps to making a wise decision. You do this for most large purchases, why not before you move into the relationship of remodeling?

Homeowners, learn why you “should” never choose a contractor based on the price alone - either the highest (thinking you would receive more value and better product) or the lowest because you “need to get a deal”.

Contractors, learn that it’s OK to say no and why not to choose a client out of the desperation of “needing” a job or the money.

1. You pick a contractor/job based on money alone.
It really is true that “you get what you pay for”. Whether it’s high or low it’s quite simple - know what’s included, what are you really getting for the price you will pay?

If a client isn’t right for you (you see the red flags before you even begin) walk away. Especially if you are desperate for a job because, trust me, if you take that client on simply because you need the money, it more than likely won’t go well.

2. You think all contractors/jobs are the same.
No two contractors are the same and all remodels aren’t the same because all houses and homeowners are different.

Since all personalities are different, it would stand that, since remodeling is a relationship, every contractor will bring something different to the experience, as will each homeowner.

When meeting for the first time, communicate and listen!

3. You MUST shop at least 3 contractors/subs for bids.
Homeowners, just as a good contractor has loyal customers and no time for price shoppers - contractors, so do subs have loyal contractors they work for.

Once you find a good fit, go with it. If you feel comfortable with them and their communication, it’s (in most cases) that simple - flow with it.

4. In a “down market” you should get it for less/charge less.
Homeowners: just as your cost of living hasn’t changed, so hasn’t the contractors’. Contractors: remember this when bidding your jobs. Everyone: use some common sense.

5. You think the job gets done “over-night” or, as a contractor, you underestimate the time needed to complete the job.
When you’re in a hurry to get the bid to the customer or have the job completed and rush the bidding process or the work, no good will come of it. Patience and time, as well as clarity in the process, whether it’s bidding or communicating about the time, is the key.

6. You pick a contractor who doesn’t draw up a sensible time schedule and talk about how that could change. Contractors, heed this.
Talk about time, money and mess up-front, early and talk about it with clarity and good communication/listening. Contractors, take time to really figure out what you need to earn and to complete the job as well as any unforeseen changes and DISCUSS them honestly and in lay terms with the client.

7. Homeowners don’t ask for references and call them. Contractors don’t pay attention to red flags or clues.
This is probably the simplest way to avoid nightmares along with clear, honest communication. Listen, ask questions and if you don’t feel you are a fit for each other - walk away. It’s OK for the client and it’s OK for the contractor to say no.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

When will we get over the wholesale mentality?

I realize that, for years, we’ve really wanted the free lunch, something for nothing and had the thinking “free, that’s the price tag I love!”

Is that really what we believe or is it that we must simply be more conscious of what we pay for things and, if we don’t need them, we don’t buy them?

I was talking to someone yesterday about PR for my businesses and, in discussing the remodeling business, the discussion came to money and the cost of remodeling. What I told her and know for sure is, until I got over wanting everything on the cheap, whether clothes, services, cars or the like, how was I ever going to earn enough to get a remodel done right, earn a profit for the company and pay me? It wasn’t going to happen.

As I continued to want to get “a deal” on everything, I drew to me homeowners who wanted to get the same thing from me. When I really started looking deep within myself as to my part in not earning enough to profit the company and pay myself, I realized that I definitely had a part in it because of my “pay me what I’m worth but I’m not willing to pay you what you’re worth” thinking.

The day I made a decision to “stop that!’ was the day I became free of worrying about whether or not someone wanted to afford me.

Notice I said wanted to afford me? That’s exactly what it is. It’s not a matter of “can they?” It’s “do they want the experience I bring to the table or not?”

I decided to no longer be “on sale”. Now, that didn’t happen overnight but I’ve held my ground and it is turning around. When you stand for something or a way of being treated for years it takes some time for the shift to happen. But….happen it does.

As we were talking, she absolutely got what I was saying, not only about remodeling but in the area of any kind of business transaction.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with garage sales, outlet shopping and using coupons, etc. However, there’s a place for everything and everything in its place. When it comes to services such as getting a website built, remodeling your kitchen or getting a good massage, I believe you get what you pay for.

What do you want to pay for? Do you want a contractor that shows up because they’re earning a living and can afford to come to work everyday or doe you want someone who’s spotty at best about their time and how they manage a project?

I encourage you to really think about this when it comes time to remodel your home and ask questions about the price from a place of authenticity - meaning “I just want to be conscious of what I’m paying for” rather than “You’re charging more than I want to pay so give it to me for less”.

We all must be conscious of what we pay for things and when as well as if we really can afford it or not. If you can’t afford something, don’t make the person who’s providing the work wrong for what they charge. Figure out if you really do want and need what you’re asking for and go about saving until you can get it at the price being asked.

For the most part, it’s probably a fair price. Remember everyone must earn a living unless they’re doing something as a hobby. I’m not remodeling or coaching as a hobby - I’m in business to profit the company and earn a living for myself.

Happy thinking!

Reva Kussmaul
CEO – Eye For Detail Inc.