The keys to a smooth remodel are thorough planning, good communication, and strong craftsmanship. With the exception of the plumbing and electrical work, I do everything myself. This allows me to have strong quality control over the finished product, and this allows the client to deal directly with the person performing the installation.
I’ve heard the horror stories, contractors that tear out someone’s old kitchen then disappear for two months, muddy boot prints on brand new carpeting, walking in the door to find a stranger in your house. Working in someone’s home is very personal, and it’s vital to keep the client’s perspective in mind throughout the project.
Letting people know what will happen next is something I work really hard at. Usually before we even start the demolition, I’ve learned how the client likes to communicate. Some people prefer to talk on the phone; others like email. On some jobs, we set a legal pad on the kitchen table where I post daily updates and where the client and I can ask each other questions or leave comments.
At the start, a remodel can be exciting. But as the job wears on, the disruption to one’s routine and the inherent messiness can begin to create exhaustion. I try to keep the jobsite and the house as clean as possible by laying runners down through walkways, hanging plastic to contain dust during demolition or sanding, and vacuuming, vacuuming, and vacuuming.
Delays can occur when needed supplies are not yet delivered, which is why I suggest having all the items on the checklist at the house before the work begins. Delays also occur when one stage is not coordinated with the next. But since I am the carpenter, the drywaller, and the tile installer, the downtime of waiting for the next subcontractor is avoided.I use the same plumber and electrician on every job. They are reliable and conscientious, and because they know what to expect on my jobs, they can be very efficient.
The job is over when the client is happy. That may be a tough motto to run a company by, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Building a good reputation is central to success in this business.