A successful remodeling experience starts with building and maintaining a healthy relationship between yourself and your remodeler. Before you even begin your remodeling journey, it’s important to know the best practices to follow as a remodeling client when you partner with a firm. But what are the best practices and characteristics that make a great remodeling client? And why does it even matter whether or not you are one? These tips will help you achieve a successful remodeling experience and build a relationship with the team you partner with that will last even after your remodel is completed.
WHY DOES YOUR EFFORT AS A CLIENT MATTER?
Regardless of project size or scope, a home remodeling investment is a big step for many homeowners, and the relationship between a homeowner and their remodeling team can make or break a remodeling experience. While there are many factors that are included in a successful remodel that are largely in the hands of your remodeling team (like design expertise, quality of materials, quality craftsmanship, etc), a successful (or unsuccessful) remodel is often related to the effort that you and your remodeling team invest into the relational side of the remodeling process. Any relationship requires effort from multiple parties to be successful, and a remodeling partnership is no exception. Practicing the following guidelines as a remodeling client will greatly benefit you and your remodeling experience and outcome.
HOW CAN YOU MAXIMIZE YOUR REMODELING EXPERIENCE AS A CLIENT?
1. MAINTAIN OPEN & HONEST COMMUNICATION
Successful remodels happen when communication between a homeowner and their remodeling team is an active, two-way street. From the start of your project’s design through construction completion, consistent communication with your team is crucial. If you have a preferred method of communication, or specific timeframes during the week that work best for check-ins, let your team know so they can accommodate your schedule. It may sound redundant, but openly communicating your communication expectations to your team will yield a more rewarding overall remodeling experience.
It’s also critical to communicate with any other decision-makers involved in your project, such as a spouse or other family members. Being on the same page at every stage of the project is really important to limit miscommunications.
When making decisions with your spouse or partner, do your best to attend all preliminary meetings and check-ins together. If this is not possible, make sure you check in with each other on a regular basis to limit unnecessary stress and confusion. Discuss concerns or questions that arise with each other first, and then share them with your remodeling team. Give them a fair chance to respond and attend to the issue.
Focus on the quality and clarity of your check-ins rather than the frequency. Seek to have brief but consistent conversations to cover the latest project updates and any questions together. Periodic check-ins will be planned in advance by your designer and/or construction manager as your project progresses, who will be meeting regularly behind the scenes to ensure your project has all the support it needs.
Some firms may use a communication tool or app, such as BuilderTrend, to keep everyone involved with the project in communication. If this is the case, utilizing that communication tool will likely be the most organized and streamlined method for posing questions, concerns, or commendations.
2. UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS
Every remodel, even if only involving one room, includes numerous steps with complex schedules, coordination, and decisions. Before you begin selecting materials or knocking down walls, it’s critical to understand the process of the team you partner with. Ask questions early and often to ensure you fully understand the planned phases for your home project, what to expect in those phases, and what may be expected of you.
It’s important to remember that remodeling is not a perfect science. Every project is unique with its own challenges, but an experienced remodeling team will employ a process that remains generally the same with every project they complete. A company with an established, well-regarded process will know how to effectively minimize and overcome any challenges that may arise during your project. If you are currently planning a home remodel, we’ve curated a list of key questions to ask when choosing a remodeling team.
3. BE PREPARED & MAKE TIMELY DECISIONS
Come prepared for every meeting you have, whether you are working through the preliminary design process or making changes in the midst of the project construction phases. Take time to gather inspiration, whether that be a Pinterest board or magazine clippings, and bring your ideas and goals to your designer.
You might not have a specific project budget in mind ahead of time, and that’s okay! If you do have a specific range in mind, however, share it with your team early in the conversation. This preparation on your end will help your design team quickly hone in on your unique style preferences and select materials that will help you achieve your desired investment range, so you can solidify the final designs and keep your project moving forward efficiently.
4. REMAIN FLEXIBLE & UNDERSTANDING
As you progress through your project, material delays and timeline adjustments can happen, no matter the size or scope of your project. An expert remodeling team will inform you of changes to timelines, deliveries, or other project-related updates as soon as they are able. Oftentimes, delays are out of the remodeler’s control and come without notice.
It’s important to remain flexible and remember that your remodeling team is your advocate and is on your side. They will do everything possible to minimize delays and resolve any challenges efficiently, and they are just as frustrated (if not more) as you are if delays occur.
5. PRACTICE PATIENCE
Renovation projects are often time-consuming and complex, and a great client understands this throughout the remodeling process. Custom quotes require time to be received, beautiful designs require time to be put together (especially if revision requests are needed), permits require time to be approved, materials require time to be sourced and shipped, skilled tradespeople require time to be efficiently scheduled, and quality project construction requires time to be completed.
If concerns arise or if you have a specific, feasible project deadline that you are working with (graduations, holidays, etc), kindly let your remodeling team know as soon as possible so they can work with you to ease your concerns and work with your goals.
6. TRUST & RESPECT YOUR TEAM
Having complete trust in the process, talent, and integrity of your remodeling team is invaluable. We recommend researching real past client experiences of the team you are considering to build trust outside of the conversations you have with the team itself. Instead of looking for a list of perfect experiences, look for evidence of a successful overall process and how the company dealt with any issues.
An experienced design-build firm will have a talented design team and credible field crew, likely with supporting members behind the scenes working unitedly to produce your project. They take pride in creating quality results that you love, so give your remodeling team your trust, patience, and understanding while they work hard to bring your remodel to life.
Consider any professional opinions and recommendations shared by your remodeling team in both the design and construction phases, but be sure to share your own thoughts as well. You and your remodeler have the same goal: to achieve a space you and your family love with quality craftsmanship that will last. Stay focused on the end result and trust that the team you carefully chose will be by your side to see your project through from start to finish.
7. UNDERSTAND & FOLLOW PAYMENT SCHEDULES
Fully understanding the payment schedule of your contractor or firm prior to beginning your project will help foster trust between you and your remodeler and leave no room for miscommunication. Every remodeling team will have its own process for payment schedules and breakdowns.
Ask clarifying questions related to preferred payment methods, how construction progression relates to the payment breakdowns, how mid-project changes/add-ons reflect in your billing, and if/when late fees occur in the event that you miss a payment. This, along with timely payments, will help your remodeling process run smoother and ensure your project continues progressing as scheduled, which everyone ultimately wants!
8. SHARE POSITIVE EXPERIENCES
Today, consumers heavily rely on the internet for honest reviews, recommendations, and opinions from local neighbors when making purchase decisions. Operating in the service industry means that reviews and referrals mean the world to remodeling firms. If you have a positive experience with your remodeling team, one of the most impactful ways to express your gratitude is either through a positive review online (Google or Houzz work great!) or by telling friends, family, and neighbors about your experience.
Not only are you acknowledging the great remodeling experience you had with your team, but you’re helping local homeowners find a trustworthy, reliable remodeling team in an age where terrible remodeling experiences are frequently being posted online. If your remodeling team asks you to share your experience through a review or testimonial, take the time to fill out the survey or form. It means more to them than you know.
As you gather more information related to room-specific remodels, processes, and general tips, explore our Resource Center. Our team at Advance Design Studio believes in providing a rewarding remodeling experience that is as enjoyable as possible. If you’ve partnered with us in the past or are currently working with us, we sincerely thank you for trusting our team with your home projects- we’ve worked with so many fantastic clients over the years.