From our Certified Professional Building Designer, Tom Rogers:
I recently read an article that said, for the second straight year, the home improvement industry has ranked second in consumer complaints. Now you’re probably wondering why anyone who is in the home improvement industry would bring this to everyone’s attention; seems like we would want to hide bit of knowledge under a rock or sweep it away from existence. On the contrary, I think this is a very important topic to discuss and to help open the communication as to what both the customer and the contractor need to know.
First off, I believe the biggest reason for this high ranking is based on lack of communication. This lack of communication can start early in the process and is performed by both sides. When a contractor meets a client for the first time to go over their project, most homeowners only know a small amount of what is needed to complete it. They have an idea of what they want but instead of explaining their final desire, they start to tell the designer or contractor what to do.
I do not recall ever going to the doctor and telling him/her that my stomach hurts and that they need to take out my appendix. Instead, I tell them that my stomach hurts and in return, the doctor asks a series of questions to get down to what needs to be done; it could be something as minor as a pill or could possibly be serious enough for surgery. The fact of the matter is, let the experts decide how the work should be done. Of course, that is the reason you called them in the first place, instead of trying to do it yourself, right?
On the other end, the lack of communication can come from the contractor. I have seen many contractors scared to ask for a budget from the client. Without establishing a budget, how do you know exactly what can be done?
A home project is the biggest investment a homeowner is going to make. Whether it is a kitchen remodel or a brand-new house, so spend the time in the planning stage and don’t be rushed to the end. So, ask questions. Get to know the person that you are putting your skills and reputation towards. To paraphrase Sun Tzu in “The Art of War” – “Estimates create victory, estimating incompletely causes failure.”
You cannot go on an airplane trip without having a flight plan. A pilot does not just put the plane up in the air and head west; he would land in Los Angeles or Seattle that way. It takes a lot more fuel to turn the plane south towards California if you are already flying over Idaho from Atlanta, then if the pilot had planned the trip accordingly. Same in construction; a small adjustment that could have been taken care of early, can cost a lot of money mid-way through a project.
If you would like to get started on a home-renovation or home build project, give us a call at 678-941-3672.