Imagine telling your clients that if their projects aren't completed on time or they aren't completely satisfied, their remodel would be absolutely free. It might sound like the stuff of infomercials, but one Scottsdale, Ariz., remodeler will soon extend this offer to his customers.
After identifying project length and job quality as two problems that customers most often associate with remodeling, Rosie Romero, owner of Legacy Custom Builders, decided to take action. Starting in January 2000, Legacy Custom Builders will issue an "Impossible Promise" to its clients, guaranteeing Legacy will do things right the first time, on time, or it’s free. The promise covers kitchen and bath remodels for the first year and will likely expand if it’s successful. "We want to start in an area that we’re comfortable with," says Mark Dixon, sales manager.
The idea sounds dramatic, but Dixon insists it’s not as big of a risk as people initially think. Legacy will make the pledge to clients only after all permits have been granted and all decisions concerning the project have been made. Then clients sign off on the Impossible Promise’s list of rules, which includes adding additional time for all change orders.
Because the regulations for the Impossible Promise are so specific, Romero says, Legacy will have more control over its projects and more input from clients than ever before. "It raises the level of participation and accountability on the part of the homeowner," Romero says. "They become part of the team and are no longer the enemy."
Over the years, Legacy has maintained a spotless record with both the Better Business Bureau and the Registrar of Contractors. Though the company has a long history of client satisfaction and normally completes projects on time, Legacy began testing the Impossible Promise internally nearly a year ago to ready for the January launch.
For all the careful planning, Romero acknowledges he might buy a few projects during the program’s pilot season. The company has the liquidity to do so if necessary, he says. Despite his realistic approach, Romero predicts this program will affect the way the entire industry does business.
"This is the culmination of years of doing things correctly," Dixon says. "It’s making ourselves accountable to do what remodelers should be doing anyway."
Making Good on the Promise