7 Rules for Remodelerscomments (10) December 30th, 2009 in Blogs
The design is done and the clients are ready to see things happen but you still have a lot to plan and do before kicking off a remodeling project. Here are seven basic practices for the pre-construction phase that I live by:
Rule One: Client Care and Manage Expectations
Sure, your clients are excited to see your crew the first day you start a project but you're smiling face at 7 a.m. will wear thin after a week or two if you don't follow some basic rules to manage client expectations throughout the course of a remodeling project.
- Have a pre-construction meeting with your clients just to address the mechanics of the remodeling process and their lifestyle.
- Establish a regular start time and quitting time, and respect their privacy.
- Draw a sine wave on a piece of paper to illustrate the typical client mood level during a project. The crest at the outset turns downward toward the middle of the project and only rises when the clients can see the project coming to a close. Being up front about the issue often levels out the trough.
- Set up a process for clear lines of communication whether it's scheduled weekly meetings or periodic 'check up' calls. Festering frustration can lead to a remodeling nightmare for you and your clients. And whatever you do, don't disable both bathrooms at the same time.
- Finally, do what you can to lessen the impact of a building project on your clients' lifestyle. For example, if you're project involves a kitchen remodel, make arrangements for a temporary kitchen in an extra room, garage or basement when theirs won't be serviceable.
Rule Two: Keep it Clean
I get more referrals based on cleanliness than any other qualification. Clean matters; plan for it from the get-go. You can figure out what you'll need to do to manage dust, clutter, and debris - the important thing is that you leave your clients' home clean every day. For ideas read Protecting A House During Construction or browse the complete list of articles on job-site cleaning.
The biggest challenge may be managing subcontractor cleanliness. I have one sub who is a disaster, but his prices are good and workmanship is outstanding. So I budget for someone to clean up after him. Also, make it as easy as possible for subcontractors to be clean. Have supplies (plastic, drop cloths, tape, rags) and equipment (exhaust fans, vacuums, brooms) and a waste management plan ready so subs have no excuse.
And budget for a professional cleaning crew to service the whole house when you punch out the job.
Rule Three: Set Up a Staging Area
Materials in, debris out; trucks to park and tools to store - plan a staging area or areas with the clients before day one. Don't expect them to give up a garage bay to store finish lumber on the last minute in the middle of winter.
Temporary storage such as moving containers, fabric garage structures, construction trailers and even the garage (if you agree ahead of time) are all viable options. Another idea is this Knock-Down Shop that can be assembled and disassembled in minutes.
And when it comes to parking, don't just think about your clients, consider their neighbors. They're potential clients that you want to keep happy during the project too.
posted in: Blogs, Remodel, preparation, happy clients
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