Qualified Remodeler Magazine

JUN 2018

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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on what that means. So it's good to have a step-by-step plan that's in your contract telling people how to go about filing a claim with you or submitting a punch list." eunissen recommends that contractors gather a list of third-party arbitrators and other experts, as well, in case a client dispute proceeds to mediation. "You have someone you can call in who can help explain the situation, because if it gets that bad, the homeowner probably doesn't trust you anymore. ey need someone they can talk to who isn't just someone from your company." When one of her customers continued to protest a new wood floor, eunissen had to bring in a profes- sional from the Wood Flooring Institute to explain that wood floors in Michigan naturally shrink and swell because of the climate there. "While you tell people that on the upfront, they might not always be hearing you," she says. "[But] I'm very proud of the way that house turned out." FOLLOW UP AND STAY ON TOP OF THINGS Remodelers often circle back to clients after completing a project, but many times they hesitate to follow up on a job that gave them trouble after the installation. "As easy as it is to shy away and wait for them to call if there is an issue, no news might not be good news," Peterson notes. "You've got to solve the problem, and they've got to know that you solved it," says Dan Taddei, the director of education and certification for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). "You've got to e homeowners accepted the plan but requested a 10 percent discount on their project. Peterson explained that he would take care of their interior, including some old nail pops in the same area that had been an eye sore for them, and they acceded. "It will cost us right around that 10 percent mark for repairs, but I truly believe it is better to do work for your money—versus giving money back. Even with that much work, it's still less of a cost than refunding even one of the skylights." FOLLOW THROUGH AND FULFILL THE PLAN Once remodelers devise a thoughtful plan, they must clearly communicate the proposal to clients and make sure everyone acknowledges the next steps. Although the problem has been addressed, contractors need to adjust their schedule accordingly, so they can send workers back to the home on the proper date. at way, the company will not move on and forget about completing the job. "Be very concise and specific about how you're going to handle it," eunissen says. "I think the biggest problem I see people get into is when they just say, 'We'll handle it,' without going into the details of what they're going to do and what they anticipate the end result will be. Because if they're too vague, the expectations could be way outside the realm of what's actually possible." Remodelers also should include language in their contracts that describes how complaints will be han- dled and discuss the process with homeowners at an initial meeting. Customers need to know about punch lists and the potential for callbacks before they agree to the project. eunissen even gives clients a performance guide that expounds on the construction materials her company uses. "Some people expect absolute perfection. When you're dealing with existing housing and you're doing remod- eling, that's not always the case," she explains. "Most people are reasonable people, but we don't always agree It's good to have a step-by-step plan that's in your contract telling people how to go about filing a claim with you or submitting a punch list. Joanne Theunissen, Howling Hammer Builders Photo: iStock.com / artursfoto QualifiedRemodeler.com QR June 2018 33

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