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October 27, 2011

Improve the "Remodeling Estimate" Experience - part 2

This is the second in a series of blog notes on how to improve the experience of the "remodeling estimate" for remodelers and homeowners alike.

What should you expect at the initial meeting between remodeler and client at the project home? What are the goals and next steps? As mentioned in the previous entry, preparation is a must to maximize time and make the meeting fruitful. Available time is at a premium in today's society, therefore professionals should create scenarios to be thorough, succinct, and efficient.

We often liken the first face to face meeting as a "blind date." Each are not certain what they will find and how the "date" will go. Remodeling-wise, the following are what each party should do and seek to achieve the best experience.

Homeowners:

  • Have the project site as clear of clutter as possible for the remodeler to easily inspect
  • Let the remodeler take the lead and control the pace, order, and flow of the meeting - the remodeler should follow a prepared outline based on history and experience
  • Having prepared a list of questions, hold them until the end to ask
    • many may be answered during the natural course of the presentation
    • however, if at the end you are left with most of your seemingly reasonable questions unanswered that may be an indicator of the experience level of the remodeler
  • If applicable, provide the remodeler with pictures, web links, addresses of other local homes that help portray your vision
  • If possible, for any project affecting exterior size, shape, positioning, ground coverage...etc., have a current copy of your property survey to give to the remodeler

Remodeler:
remodeling estimate
  • Show up on time, organized, and prepared with a meeting agenda planned
    • Make a professional first impression - you and your company will be evaluated with great scrutiny in the opening minutes
  • Ask good, relevant questions as many homeowners might not know what to ask or say
  • Be a very good listener, don't just wait for your turn to talk
  • Be observant, there are many unspoken clues that will reveal much about the home, family, and lifestyle .  This will help create the best possible project.
  • Do not ignore or under-value children, pets, and/or visitors as they will most likely also be impacted by the potential project
  • Take good notes, either written in a pad or recorded
  • Where applicable, have professional tools ready for inspecting, measuring, and picture taking

Optimally, these things should get achieved, or at least introduced, at the initial meeting:
  • Project profile analysis of homeowners, family, and home
  • Project scope discussed as a "wish list"
  • Options for phased remodeling over time and in priority order
  • Options for scaling back the wish list
  • Detailed budget and investment ranges illustrated, discussed, and customized
  • Discuss payment schedule plus funding and finance options
  • Calendar time frame for design/development, pre-production, and project duration displayed and agreed upon.
  • Next meeting date established
  • Determine the action tasks for all parties to be completed before the next meeting

Here is a YouTube slide-show video that illustrates how one remodeler prepares a homeowner before the initial meeting - http://bit.ly/T1-MoER

The conclusion of the meeting is just as important as the start. Before departing, determine what the next actions will be for both parties, agree on time frames for accomplishing, and schedule a next meeting if warranted or desired by both. Many of the blind dates end with, "Goodnight, I'll call you." This leaves the other party subsequently wondering - "Are they interested? Should I call them? How soon??"

Be honest, if you feel the other party (homeowner or remodeler) is not the right fit, communicate that information clearly at this initial meeting or at any point that it becomes evident.  It will save everyone time and alleviate potential anxiety.

If any homeowner or remodeler would like a copy of Design Build Pros' "12 Steps to a Professional Remodeling Sale" outline simply request via email to: INFO@DesignBuildPros.com

This outline was created as a result of the Design Build Pros staff having personally held thousands of these remodeling estimate first meetings. The process continually gets refined and adjusted to remain relevant. We hold annual Homeowner Advisory Council dinners to thank clients for past projects ordered an to have a round table discussion to discover new and better ways to improve the process to deliver the most pleasant and professional remodeling experience possible.

October 24, 2011

Home Remodeling Design and Development Process


Jason Parsons 

The home remodeling project design and development process is defined by the team at Design Build Pros. The staff has diverse experience in the industry including structural and finished carpentry, extreme remodeling on HGTV, design training from the National Association of the Kitchen and Bath industry, and Computer Aided Design drafting training. Recently, Jason Parsons, Design + Build Specialist at DBP won a "Best Design" award from software provider Chief Architect.

The custom design and development process that Design Build Pros offers provides a homeowner with a project reference binder that includes: three design/layout options, detailed floor plan, 3-D color elevation views, overviews, furniture placement, 47-category scope of work, 50-category breakdown of pricing by project phase, plus and minus options for specifically discussed scope options, breakout of product selection items and allowances, and a color-coded calendar showing start, duration, and guaranteed completion dates.

These items are illustrated and detailed in this 3:20 slide-show video posted on YouTube: http://bit.ly/DBP-T2

This process and product is typically ordered after the initial complimentary meeting with a staff member. Many have commented that having this project design and development book has made for a more pleasant remodeling experience regardless of the contractor that they have selected.

For more information please contact us at INFO@DesignBuildPros.com 
Existing and proposed example

October 23, 2011

Improve the "Remodeling Estimate" Experience


This is the first in a series of blog notes as to how improve the experience of the "remodeling estimate" for remodelers and home owners alike.

Thorough preparation is the key is improving many activities as well as speeding up the process. The initial meeting between the remodeler and homeowner should not be just the preparation for future meetings, unless time is not important to either party. This first meeting in many ways is like a blind date. There is typically an initial awkwardness with each not knowing the "rules" or procedure. Preparation will help alleviate this and some of the anxiety. 

The homeowner's preparation for this meeting should include:
  • having a discussion about available funds, financing, and monthly payments
  • listing wants and needs separately as to easily convey what you are planning to achieve
  • have a clear view of what the long term plan and goal is for the project and home
  • have pictures from magazines and/or the internet that depict your likes and dislikes as far as features, style, and colors
  • set aside ample time and try to create an environment where you and the remodeler will not be interrupted much during this first meeting to best evaluate the project and each other.

The remodeler's preparation for this meeting should include:
  • having a meeting outline and procedure to make the meeting time the most value packed
  • have a series of project related questions available - often homeowners do not know what to ask or say
  • send the homeowner information and links regarding your company and related projects to preview prior to the meeting
  • have an accurate system to be able to discuss investment ranges and options at the initial meeting
  • be organized, prepared, and on time for the meeting!

If any homeowner or remodeler would like a copy of our "What is Really Important to You?" checklist simply request via email to: INFO@DesignBuildPros.com

This checklist is not product or specific project based, but an evaluation of the importance of the credentials, policies, and procedures of the remodeler to be hired.
Design Build Pros