The boy scout motto as I remember it from my days in Troop 484 (the one year I participated as a 4th grader) was: “Always be prepared!”
All these years later, I’ve kept that saying in mind. While it isn’t always easy to achieve, it is certainly an admirable goal to work toward.
At The Lifestyle Group, we developed an approach to support our clients known by the acronym P.L.A.N. Each letter describes key elements of our remodeling client process. This blog begins with an in-depth synopsis around the first letter “P” which stands for “Prepare.”
Preparation has multiple meanings to us.
First, to give you a look “behind the curtain” on our end as the remodeler, it means being prepared to deliver a well-executed project. Whether it is ordering your products in a timely manner or identifying where to place a dumpster, there is little doubt that preparation is essential at some level to run multiple remodeling projects at a given time.
On the client side, your preparation is different, but no less important to the process. It’s not like people engage in renovation projects every day, so this process is often a bit foreign to you. You initially just want to know the simple things…
When do you need to be ready for work to begin?
What do you need to do to be ready for work to begin?
How do you survive this process without losing your mind?
Client preparation is greatly exaggerated or greatly minimized based on your effectiveness in the contractor selection process. There is a direct correlation between the level of professionalism and experience your contractor brings to the relationship and the remodeling project experience you receive. A neighbor who works on your bathroom project only on the weekends with a buddy helping him is far different than paying a professional remodeling company to come in and work 5 days a week.
So, let’s discuss things you can do to prepare for having people working in your home, focusing on after you sign a contract but before your contractor begins.
First, make sure to make all product selections up front. Your contractor partner should drive this selection process. If this does not happen, it can cause significant delays during the project.
Second, don’t be afraid to ask your contractor questions if you have any concerns or anxiety about something. This prepares your contractor for hot button items that will get our attention at some point in the project process.
Sometimes people mistake this process as an adversarial relationship of the client versus the dreaded contractor, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We all want the same things. You want us to get in and out while doing a great job and giving you the project of your dreams. We want a seamless project where we don’t have surprises, which enables us to be efficient and deliver that great project for you.
And we want you to be so happy that you use us over and over for years to come, as well as recommending us to family, friends and coworkers.
From our many years of experience, we know these mutual goals are achieved through preparation.
The next area of preparation focuses on preparing an area of the house for your next project. The level of these preparations tends to vary based on the scope of the project.
- Bathroom remodels typically tend to be focused in that specific space and only requires you to remove all contents within this space. Often, we can cover floors and close the door while working to contain the dust effectively. Master bathroom remodels might affect your bedroom area and you tend to be happier moving into another bedroom for the duration of the project, but that’s always up to you.
- Kitchen remodels are a little different. You will still remove your contents from the existing kitchen space but in most of these projects, we have the added discussion of how to contain dust from adjacent areas and how to prepare for the setup of a temporary kitchen. Most temporary kitchens involve moving the refrigerator to an adjacent area and setting up a microwave station. Many have been known to place coffee makers in bathroom areas near a sink for water access. You have to do what you have to do to get your coffee in the morning, right?
- A basic room addition project isn’t terribly invasive in the early stages as we often build the structure and get it secured (and weather tight) with installation of windows, doors, siding and roofing prior to ever breaking through to the existing home. Then eventually, we break through and it impacts you. You should engage your contractor in a discussion as to how they approach this process.
- Large additions or whole house renovations are much more difficult to prepare for on the homeowner side. More and more, we recommend that clients relocate for the duration of the project if at all possible, mostly for your own sanity when the majority of your home is torn up. Some homeowners do choose to stay during the project and that requires an incredible amount of mental preparation and patience. It can be done, but it will be hard. We advise that you remove your contents from the renovation areas to protect them.
If you have never remodeled before, here are a few extra preparation tips:
- The process is hard, but it is always worth it in the end. Once you’ve done it, you learn how to navigate it more effectively the next time around. It’s mostly the mental preparation of having additional family members you aren’t used to living with for weeks or months!
- A thin layer of dust will get everywhere even with the most caring and thoughtful of contractors that clean up at the end of every day.
- There will be strangers in your home. At The Lifestyle Group, we have employees on staff who you will get to know and trust, but some companies will subcontract every phase and those subs will often not care and clean up as you would hope. If you think this is a concern for you, please keep it in mind during contractor selection.
- Even with the best project and the best of intentions, there will be miscommunications and challenges that arise. Give your contractor a chance to make things right. If they care, you will know by their actions. Perfection is a noble goal, but likely unachievable. Approach everything through the lens of being reasonable and you will be in great shape with fair expectations.
- If your contractor tells you there are delays on product arrival or price increases coming on a product, please know your contractor is probably telling you the truth in today’s environment.
Everyone knows the horror stories surrounding home improvement projects and more specifically, the nightmare contractors. Make no mistake that they are out there working every day, but if you choose a good partner and take these steps to prepare, most projects go very well and it is possible to have an enjoyable client experience. As with everything, success is often determined by proper preparation. Hopefully, this blog helps you be a little more prepared for your next project!
Reach out today and let’s get started transforming your space.