PR August 2005

August 16, 2010

Features

Do you remember when you first learned how to ride a bike? Did it take you out of your comfort zone? You bet it did. It was something new, exciting and scary. You probably wondered, like I did, if you would ever figure this out. I remember my dad running behind me, holding the back of the bike seat, saying, "You can do it!" Then he let go.

One of the ongoing issues affecting remodeling firms of all shapes and sizes is how and where to find qualified employees for everything from carpentry to sales. Whether you're in growth mode or simply looking for suitable replacements because of natural turnover, odds are that this is affecting your business as we speak.

Of all the people who help form the public's opinion of a remodeling company, perhaps the single most important is the salesperson. The salesperson creates the agreement under which everyone — the bricklayer, the plumber, the installer, the office manager, the production manager — performs.

An 8-foot flat ceiling can make a home feel cramped and uniform these days, as higher ceilings, both flat and vaulted, take over the housing market. Forty-two percent of builders responding to a 2002 NAHB survey said their homes had 9-foot first-floor ceilings, and 15 percent claimed ceilings of more than 9 feet.

Find and Use a Good Lawyer "In today's climate, it is extremely important to have relationships with professionals in place before you need their services," says Paul Winans, CR, president of Winans Construction Inc. in Oakland, Calif. "You don't want to have a problem with a client that forces you to meet a lawyer for the first time.

Like a shy child, this 1926 bungalow peeked out from behind a fence and overgrown landscaping. Even the front door was hidden from view, located at a perpendicular angle to the street. A low roof and shaded front porch further obscured the front elevation. The objective was to create a more inviting entry to the home, making it more appealing and visible.

The owners of this suburban home had made a firm decision: They wanted to stay on their coveted riverfront property without tearing down and starting from scratch. Empty nesters with an elderly parent in residence, the owners sought both to update their home and to create an environment that would meet their needs long after retirement.

Lending has been part of the Custom Design & Construction business model since its inception in 1986. A big part, in fact — not only do the majority of the Los Angeles firm's clients finance their projects, 70 percent of them do so through the residential remodeling company's in-house financing arm, Custom Funding.

Not every product is cut out for remodeling. Windows and doors have to fit existing openings. Fixtures must work with existing plumbing. Styles and finishes should complement the overall architectural theme. Even when building an addition — technically new construction — remodeling contractors need to blend the new part of the home with the old.

Some remodelers insist the lead carpenter system is the only way to maintain quality control and customer satisfaction. A lead stays on one project for its duration, doing most of the work himself and communicating directly with the homeowner. Others prefer to use a project manager to handle communication and logistics, outsourcing most labor.

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