I flipped on the television recently and found myself watching the latest of the remodeling/renovation/rehabilitation/makeover/flip this house/home project shows. I am always torn when I watch these shows, and I find myself debating whether these shows are good or bad for designers and remodeling contractors.
I spoke with Jason Parsons, project designer for Design Build Pros, Toms River, N.J., about his experience on a remodeling television show a couple of years ago.
“In terms of marketing my firm, as well as the remodeling contractor, were got great mileage from our experience on a network television show,” Parsons says.
The trickle-down effect from Parson’s appearance on the show provided additional business in the neighborhood where the show was filmed. The experience also led to the creation of a Guaranteed On-Time Completion Program used by Parson’s design firm as well as several of the remodelers his firm works with regularly. Aside from developing additional contacts within the industry, Parsons says the show also allowed for extra exposure to the expertise of the many subcontractors involved in a remodeling project.
“In general, the shows are a positive for the remodeling industry. They get homeowners thinking about remodeling and it can drive your phone to ring,” Parsons says.
Perhaps more importantly, these shows provide contractors the opportunity to present the homeowner a better understanding of the construction process in terms of time and cost. One of the myths these shows create is that a remodeling project will take much less time and cost the homeowner much less money.
These days, the homeowner is overwhelmed with influences that affect the expectations of a remodeling project.
As a remodeler, it is critical you manage and perfect client expectation from the outset of the relationship beginning with a comfortable, professional experience. Take control of the remodeling project early and clearly tell clients what they can expect during the remodeling project from demolition to the final walkthrough.
Providing information about your remodeling process upfront can manage their expectations. Let clients know what you expect from them at the initial meeting, what they can expect from you, and what the next steps are for the project.
When you ask clients what their expectations are for the project, find out how they came up with these expectations. Discuss what is realistic, what is not, and what may be below your professional standards.
Be sure you know when to tell clients “No” or advise against one of their decisions. You should let your professional input be known—but ultimately, the decision is theirs.
During the remodeling project, ask clients how they feel the project is progressing and keep asking throughout the entire job, not just at the beginning and the end.
Finally, close every client meeting with a list of expected actions for both parties—the client and the contractor.
It is your responsibility to guide homeowners through the abyss of media influences and provide them with realistic expectations for their remodeling project. Without that guidance, they may end up with a project that is rather Vanilla, if you will. PR