Oct 24, 2023
Episode: 28
A Day in the Life of a Remodeler

In episode 28, Geoff is pulling back the curtain to expose what really happens day-to-day in the remodeling world. Candidly, he shares a story about a day that went south for his team and he discusses how they handled it in the best interest of their clients.

Living through a remodeling project as a homeowner can be challenging. Having strangers in your home every day, the need to move your belongings, and the omnipresent drywall dust can make it quite an ordeal. However, it’s important to remember that being a remodeler isn’t always a walk in the park either. In this story, we pull back the curtain on a recent day we experienced in the remodeling business to shed light on how dedicated professionals do their best to handle unexpected challenges when they arise.

Committed to Excellence

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand that reputable remodeling companies deeply care about their clients and their overall project experience. Companies like ours are staffed with dedicated individuals who genuinely want to be great partners.

A Day In The Life Of A Remodeler

 We make it a point to go above and beyond to show our level of care whenever the opportunity presents itself. However, just like the ball can bounce the wrong way in a big game for your favorite team, perfection in the sport of home remodeling isn’t always achievable, and sometimes unforeseen issues crop up despite meticulous planning. This holds true not only for our company but for many other reputable remodeling firms across the country.

When problems do arise, what sets good remodeling companies apart is their willingness and humility to take ownership of these challenges. By acknowledging the issues and maintaining open communication with clients, these companies can work together with the client to find acceptable solutions and protect relationships. Sadly, this approach isn’t universal in the home improvement industry, where many companies might choose a different path… often the easiest path available.

A Story of Resilience

Let’s delve into a recent story that exemplifies our commitment to our clients. We just completed a small bathroom project that began with the traditional high hopes of a smooth construction process, but as we prepared to install a fiberglass shower unit, we discovered an issue with the unit. Instead of panicking or making it our client’s problem, we took the initiative to find a solution. Supply chain problems unfortunately still persists across product categories, so the easy answer of picking up another unit in stock in our Indianapolis market was not an option. Even though it required a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio (approximately 2-1/2 hours away), we arranged to obtain the required shower unit there very next morning, ensuring minimal delays.

Unfortunately, the shower unit we went to pick up in Ohio was not actually there when we arrived (inventory systems are sometimes inaccurate as we learned the hard way), so we made the quick decision to upgrade the entire shower approach for the client and provide a tile shower with a low-rise shower base, which offers more accessibility when entering the shower. Inspired by our quick pivot to avoid lengthy delays, we loaded up the newly selected shower base quite proud of the results of our own efforts at that point. A few hours later, however, when we reached our destination at the client’s home, we quickly learned the product we were so proud to retrieve turned out to be broken in the perfectly undamaged box. Instead of giving up, we persisted once more, searching for an alternative shower base that same day that would keep the project on track. Finally, we secured a suitable shower base, allowing us to proceed with the newly planned tile installation just 2 days later. We intentionally made the change easy for the client by offering several tile choices (that we knew were in stock and available) in a reasonable price range that we knew would make them very happy.

Going the Extra Mile

This story highlights that challenges can affect even the most dedicated remodeling partners. What sets us apart, and what we believe sets other relationship-oriented remodelers apart, is the determination to exhaust all options before delivering bad news that could lead to unexpected delays. How many companies would have taken the same steps to resolve the problem, or even upgraded the project by providing shower tile as a gesture of goodwill rather than wait 10 days for a new unit to arrive? The truth is not very many.

Our core value is to build long-term relationships with our clients, not just to complete a single project. We aim to be the remodeling partner known for going the extra mile to ensure our clients’ satisfaction. This commitment has led to lasting relationships, repeat business, and recommendations from our clients to their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

One more quick story. About 5 years ago we had a similar problematic experience with a manufacturer. Our client was hosting a big work event at their home and we were waiting on porch windows to arrive without being damaged. Not wanting to risk another round of shipping challenges, I made the decision to get on a plane, fly down to Florida, rent a U-Haul and got to the manufacturer’s facility to pick up the windows so I could drive them back and allow us to get them installed in time for the party. As a result, we are just now completing our 3rd significant project for this family in the last 5 years. Most importantly, we have created a lifelong relationship, which is exactly what we want.

Seeking the Right Partner

When choosing a remodeling partner, it’s crucial to ask potential contractors about their experiences when things went wrong during a project. Request references from clients who faced challenges and inquire about how the contractor handled those situations. It’s not just about how a company behaves when everything is smooth sailing; it’s how they respond when adversity strikes that truly defines their character and predicts future behavior.

Bad days can happen at work and at home for everyone, but they can also present future opportunities if handled correctly. Taking a long-term view, maintaining effective communication, and going above and beyond are key factors in turning challenges into triumphs. In the remodeling industry, dedication and partnership are at the heart of providing exceptional service to homeowners. Companies that focus on these traits are without a doubt miles ahead of the competition in an industry known for having a terrible reputation.

If you have more questions or need further information, don’t hesitate to reach out and please subscribe to our weekly newsletter. We look forward to assisting you with your remodeling questions. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!

Home Maintenance Tip:

To maintain your kitchen during the winter months, pay extra attention to your kitchen appliances, especially those that provide warmth or use more energy in the colder season. Here’s a tip for your kitchen:

Clean your oven and stove exhaust fan regularly: As the holiday season approaches, you’ll likely be using your oven and stove more frequently. To ensure safety and efficiency, clean both the oven and the exhaust fan. Grease and food particles can accumulate, which not only affects the taste of your dishes but can also be a fire hazard. A clean exhaust fan will help remove excess moisture and cooking odors, which can be a common issue in the winter when your home is sealed up tight. Regular maintenance will keep your kitchen safe and pleasant to work in during the colder months.

Join the Remodeling Unscripted Community for Real Remodels and Real Talk

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Episode 37: We Will Not Sell Anything We Would Not Buy Ourselves
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Episode 32: Understanding the Logic Behind Remodeling Payment Structures
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Episode 31: Latest Trends in Front Doors
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Episode 30: Be Nice
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Episode 29: Cost vs Value in Home Remodeling
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Episode 27: Financing a Remodeling Project 
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Have you checked out our Remodeling Unscripted community?

Remodeling Unscripted

A podcast for remodeling industry owners and homeowners. Geoff Horen, a home renovation expert, hosts the podcast, which includes real remodels, challenges, and talk. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts and YouTube.