The New Rules of Home Improvement

Many homeowners are beginning to recognize the higher standards that are being demanded from home improvement contractors.The new rules of certification, accreditation and independent verification have complemented well the old ways of selecting a contractor so that the two establish a benchmark that bodes well for the professional perception of the industry. It is not a coincident that in 2010 credentialing and training organizations have achieved their highest growth rate in recent years.

I believe that a profound shift is taken place in the home improvement industry. This shift has embraced certification, accreditation and independent verification as the new rules of doing business. As a contractor who has been in the business for many years, for me, this shift means one thing – a chance to increase market share by showcasing a brand that understands and welcomes the new reality. Indeed, homeowners are beginning to demand this higher standard of training and perceived credibility to measure value. And, the surest way to achieve this is by checking for the credential of companies and the skill of their people. Now, besides the old ways of relying chiefly on word-of-mouth recommendation, customers will be able to more independently check for and measure the training and professional underpinning of a company. This is quite a significant development in the home improvement business brought on by dramatic emphasis on energy efficiency improvements in building.

The Federal government and large utility companies have contributed to this by providing tax credits and purchase rebates respectively for energy efficiency improvement initiatives. States have seized on these opportunities and have enacted changes to their building codes to encourage higher efficiency standards in building. The State of Massachusetts for example, has adopted the ‘Stretch Energy Code'” which its cities and towns are using to promote energy efficiency improvement to their building stock. The execution of these strategies create jobs, save money on utility bills and decrease the Carbon output to the environment from buildings. The savviest of small home improvement contractors are using these new rules to improve their companies’ image to portray a well trained professional operation. The majority of the buildings in the nation are in need of some sort of energy efficiency improvement, if we are committed to improving our building stock then the adoption of these new rules are just the start of the revolutionizing of the home improvement industry.

To be clear, the changes that are taking root are a result of the budding Home Performance Improvement industry that is taking shape and which is buttress by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national credentialing and training organization. Indeed, I believe two things, one, this is setting a new benchmark for the professional assessing of the home remodeling industry. Two, brand recognition will be an important criteria in selecting a home improvement company. The companies that recognize this and make the necessary positioning adjustment will be the winners.

All in all, these new rules that are required to operate a professional home performance improvement entity will no doubt usher in a change in the way the home remodeling industry operates generally.

How To Determine a Problematic Client in The Home Improvement Industry

Okay, I have some insight on this subject as a Professional in the Home Improvement and Renovation Industry.

Have you ever considered that when a potential client calls on your business that when you or your secretary sets the appointment to ask the the prospect this: How many contractors do you plan on getting bids from?

I ask this question all the time and you would not believe how much this helps me decide my availability to them.

If they tell me that I was the first call this is usually good news 50% of the time. But if they tell or express to me that they are getting more than 3 bids, well lets just say I know that they are just price shopping.

I would also like to add that in my experience if someone does not want to take the time with me that in retrospect it is clear to me that my time is just not as valuable as theirs. So I will not ever prioritize that type of person. In the long run it will usually lead to problems and even shortcomings to your business financially.

This is something else that every single contractor or sales rep for a contractor should consider. Did you know that when you show up for an appointment that you may feel like you are there to help and in reality the homeowner or property owner is usually in the process of weeding out who they think will be the best fit for them.

Every time I go to an appointment I consider this. My approach is that I am here to help you and not to try to convince you why you should hire me as your contractor. I am just there to help.

Always ask the potential client if they have ever had any contractors work with them in the past. If they say yes, don’t be bashful to ask them how it went.

This will usually show the truth about them and the contractors on the earlier situations, whether they had a good experience or a bad one. When I hear that people have had multiple bad experiences I tend to ask myself while I am listening if it was really just a bunch of bad contractors or is the potential client really just a problematic client with very unrealistic personal demands from the beginning.

I have saw this so many times that they shared the pain they had with prior contractors or handymen and I felt like I could help them only to find out when it was all said and done, I lost my shirt and was just picked apart about every single detail.We are not in this for Charity the last time I looked at what we do for a living.

With the advent of the Internet there is a lot of good information and there is just as much bad information out there. A potential client with too much time on their hands will be questionable of everything you do and because information is so abundant and cheap to get. This will ultimately lead to disagreements during the project while you are hung to them in a short term marriage.

Remember that Contracting is just like being in a short-term marriage and you as a Contractor have to become just as selective as the consumer when it comes to contractor choice. If the client demands a complete spreadsheet break down you are already at a disadvantage for the beginning. In my experience the owner will never ever complain about a lower number and will always complain about the higher number. So just avoid line item breakdowns and only use summaries to present your quote.

Demand Of Plastering Services In The Home Improvement Industry

Plastering services are always in demand. Whether it is a simple home improvement project or renovation of your bathroom, plastering plays a very important role. It is a kind of job which requires special skills and can only be done by a qualified and experienced professional.

Nowadays, most of the residents make home improvements every year to increase the value of your home. Homeowners opt for plastering services to get rid of the dull and drab look of the home and also to get a better architecture. One can look for plastering contractors in different cities who can offer you with the best services.

Different Types Of Plastering Projects

In today’s fast paced world, most homeowners prefer to get the job done by expert professionals. Due to the demand of plastering services in the home improvement industry, some of the plastering contractors are charging a pretty hefty amount.

Keep your budget in mind while you are looking for a plastering professional for your project. Different professionals work on different plastering projects on the basis of their skills and ability. Remember, a client always look for high-quality work.

Look at the following plastering projects where the professionals work:-

Pebble dashing
Rendering
Coving
Damp course Installation

Hiring The Right Plastering Guy

Look for an experienced plastering contractor who can carry out the home repair and renovation work perfectly. Get referral/recommendation from your local builders and then shortlist the top plastering professionals. After you have shortlisted check out their old work and get feedback from the old or existing customers.

Firstly, you should make sure to hire a skilled, trained and experienced professional. You should look for someone who has experience in the same niche and enjoys an excellent reputation for quality work. If they charge you a reasonable price for the services, you should stick to them and look for no other option.

Drywall Finish- Is It A Special Plastering Job?

If you are looking for a plastering contractor to carry out the drywall finish task, it’s advisable to look for companies that mainly specialize in this service. Drywall installation and repair can only be done by experienced professionals and so be a little careful while hiring a professional for this task. Online reviews can help you to hire the right professional.

The Need for National Guidelines and Testing in the Home Improvement Industry

It is time for Washington to step up and put legislation in place that will force states to better regulate the home improvement industry. Up to now Washington has left the regulation of the home improvement industry up to state regulators, and for whatever reason(s) many states have fallen considerably short.

There are still some states that do not even have contractor licensing in place for home improvements. For some of the states that do have licensing, the license requirements do not include that the applicant demonstrate the ability to do any type of home improvement work. (That is like saying I will issue you a license to cut hair but you don’t have to demonstrate that you know how to cut hair……… ouch!) Then why do states bother issuing licenses if there are no requirements to demonstrate competence? Revenue? Or could it be that they need more consumer complaints for Consumer Affairs and BBB to handle? The unfortunate consequences of this problem are that homeowners are the ones who are paying the price by receiving poor workmanship and a cascade of home improvement problems.

Let’s be honest, the home improvement industry does not seem to attract the most reliable, honest and competent individuals. The lure of a quick buck and the relative ease to “qualify” to do home improvement work, brings many a “character” to your door. When I was a contractor I needed to hire people for a variety of field positions. Most of the people, who I interviewed and sometimes hired, seemed to have the same type of problems with past employers. These problems consisted of substance abuse issues, honesty issues, and reliability issues. The labor pool never seemed to have an over abundance of talent and employability to pick from.

I remember always reading article after article that dealt with the significant manpower shortage in the home improvement industry. The bottom line of each article would always be the same, “If you can find an honest, reliable and competent person to work for you, pull out all the stops to keep them!!!! Do whatever you need to do to keep that person happy because you’ll never know if you will be lucky enough to find someone to take their place.” As an owner, it was a very constant and stressful problem to deal with. You were almost afraid to try and increase project production because you knew you would have to try and find someone to do the additional work. Finding employees was always an adventure, an adventure that I never looked forward to.

For the last 10-15 years the number one problem in the home improvement industry is the lack of manpower. Many contractors are training and hiring minorities to try and solve this major problem.

If you were to talk to your state authorities about what is being done to improve regulations and screening in the home improvement industry, they will probably tell you something is in the works or there is no money for more regulations (testing). I have been hearing this for 30 years. The county in which I live (Suffolk County, New York) still does not require any demonstration of home improvement ability to obtain a home improvement license. The fee has consistently gone up but the requirements have pretty much stayed the same. We are one of the highest taxed counties in the country, so I refuse to believe there is no money to develop and implement a better policing and screening process in the home improvement industry.