Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Attracting Business..."What makes the phone ring?"

We, at Apple Wood love to photograph projects as we complete them. In this age of technology, new pictures of recent kitchen and bath projects need to be added to our webpage Gallery Portfolio. That is good marketing and public relations. No business person can deny the impact of this type of advertising to brand our company and build our business.

People love to see project pictures on line and in magazines. In fact, we highly recommend to put together your own Dream Project folder. Filling it with pictures printed from online or cut out of magazines will help you discover and then share what style you prefer. It is an important useful tool that will help your ultimate satisfaction.

Recently a survey of homeowners to discover how they select and choose the remodeling contractor revealed something interesting. Homeowners interviewed and canvassed who has hired a remodeler during the past few years revealed that referrals were the deciding factor that influenced their choice. Pictures of projects played a small part. When given a referral by a friend, colleague, or family member the next step seemed to be to go on line and look at the the firm's gallery on the website.

An internet marketing agency agrees that photos are important and must be shown, they are not enough to convince a potential client to pick up the phone and call. It is a trust factor. That should not be a surprise. After all , we are talking about inviting strangers into your home to alter it. We are opening up our lives, giving access to our family, children, pets, and personal security and belongings to people who are, well, let's be honest. They are strangers to us!

Now there is a bit of demographics involved depending on your generation. Younger homeowners, 20 to 34 have grown up trusting the "google" world. They tend to put more trust in the accuracy of online reviews. They may be willing to award their project to a contractor based on an online search.
However, those 35 to 65 are less trusting of online suggestions, They are much more apt to talk to friends, family, even contractors they already know to ask for referrals.

The majority of serious potential clients are savvy. In fact, seeing only shots of the finished project is not enough. They prefer to see before and after photographs to judge the ability, craftsmanship, and creativity of the contractor they are considering. If they can see a video testimonial made with the homeowner sharing the story (likes and dislikes about the project, the process, and the team involved), even better. Talking to friends about the contractor tops the categories of how homeowners made their decision of who to work with. Makes sense! I would do that! Wouldn't you?

We at Apple Wood love how our clients love us and refer us to their friends, family and actually to themselves for the next project. We are privileged and honored to design and build many times in one home as they proceed improving their homes remodeling baths, kitchens, basements, garages, decks, additions and many other wonderful projects! We would love to help you too!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The BEST Choice is Design Build


I was getting spoiled with all the warm Spring like weather. My lilacs are budding. My fun chickens, "my girls" were happy layers in this warmer winter weather. THEN  it snowed! What is that saying?  We are in "New England"just wait, it may change! Weather can speed up or impede construction dramatically. Working with a seasoned team familiar with these special challenges is important.

This is one of the facts about why construction projects, whether remodeling or new construction is more challenging here. That translates into needing to be much more mindful selecting the type of contractor you award your project to. I have to admit I am biased, since we at Apple Wood Kitchens and Bath, an extension of Apple Wood Construction are Design Build professionals. We know the Design Build approach is the best choice any client can make. Design Build clients suffer much less anxiety or stress. They tend to be more highly satisfied with the results as well as the process beginning to end.

Last week I shared about the better mid level selection of a Mom and Pop Kitchen Bath retailer.
Today I am sharing the perks of stepping up to the Design Build. There can be big differences depending on the knowledge, experience, and business model of a local retail Kitchen and Bath showroom or a Mom and Pop shop. Although some can be very close to the Design Build model, most have critical pieces missing that may slow down progress or require you to track down, find
and supervise subcontractors yourself. You may have some experience and knowledge of the correct terminology and requirements you need to be aware of. However, most likely, you just want the finished project completed as perfectly and timely as possible with no effort on your part.

Let's face it! By the time you have decided the time is right to remodel, you want it to happen as seamlessly as possible in an organized manner. You do not want or need to remember everything. That is why you are looking to hire and contract with a reputable professional that speeds up the process. I think all of us realize the fewer people involved in the process the better. Most homeowners want to trust and rely on who they award the project to.

What does that mean exactly? Well, it can mean the difference between peace of mind and confidence your project will be perfect versus a disaster. Most likely, you are a working professional and parent with a busy work, home, and extra curricular activities. The last thing you need to add is managing a remodeling project. Finding licensed capable contractors is a challenge. However, finding and hiring sub contractors can be quite daunting. Managing your project effectively coordinating numerous categories of the same is extremely stressful. It is also a recipe for disaster and extra expense if you do not understand and have experience the need for different steps in the process being consecutive. One process creates the foundation for the next step.

Here is the best choice! Here comes your Super Man, the Apple Wood Design Build professional!
You will feel most comfortable communicating your dream to us. Ask yourself as you shop around,  Do they "get" it? Do they "get " me? Are they listening to my ideas, questions, and concerns? Do they have happy customers who refer them? Do the local town officials; inspectors, building and planning department employees, permit departments consider the firm professional and honest in their building practices? We at Apple Wood take pride that the feedback we receive is positive from all the above areas mentioned.

As our Project Manager professional pulls together our contracting team, you can rest from having to find, contact, schedule, meet up with and supervise any sub needed on your project.  "Being one stop, soup to nuts " means we are the only call you need to make. You call Lisa, Lenny, or Cynthia at Apple Wood and we take it from there.

We hire the best, work with only experienced and insured contractors and craftsmen who have been background checked. Your home, family, pets, and belongings are safe. What I just mentioned is key! Some homeowners have suffered loss, not considering this seriously. That truth may create an unpleasant to damaging result. Hind sight is 2020. Bad and expensive complications can be avoided when your due diligence has been active to find, compare, and confidently award your project to. Paying attention to what former clients say about their integrity, character, knowledge, and respect while remodeling your home is the best test.

Come see us! Bring your ideas for your dream project! We will jump right in to make your dream a reality with excitement and less stress. We love to listen, understand and pull together the best team possible to accomplish the project as expected and promised on budget and on time as promised. You will be like all of our clients. They tend to do multiple projects with us and send their family and friends too. We look forward to meeting you soon!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Critical Project Management Phase Facts

Hi, there,

Today I will share with you the advantages and comparisons remodeling your kitchen or bath with either a hardware store kitchen bath department or Mom and Pop local Kitchen Bath showroom.

My last post informed you of  the installation model generally found working with a big box retailer.
We discussed the store manager hiring employees for various departments of his store location.
In that scenario, installation and remodeling in your kitchens or bathroom will be accomplished by people who are not employees of the store that designed your project. The only employee responsible for handling the project management for your project is the Installed Sales Coordinator. This department manager relies on craftsman in various areas of expertise contacting himself or the big box stores manager looking for freelance 1099 workers.They are freelance contractors, handymen, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc. trusted to install the products purchased at the store. Rarely is extensive background checking completed. Typically, said freelancers do not remain long term. They are filling in income gaps until they find their next dependable source of income. I would say most have the integrity to complete a job they begin. However, some do not. If they disappear mid project, it can create huge issues for a homeowner. If a problem presents itself that needs warranty work, the person who did the actual install may not be available to correct any problem. It is possible you will be working with another freelance craftsman to address any issue. This may be better. It may also be worse.

This business model is acceptable and practiced at hardware stores kitchen bath departments often as well. Occasionally, a particular hardware business with high percentages of remodeling sales actually hires their own install team employees. This is highly preferred over the constantly shifting nature of freelance contractors big box retailers depend on. Finding a company and designer you enjoy working with to trust your project to creates the best result. If there is a synergistic repetitive connection with the designer and installer it will aid your project running smoothly. When they work together as a team consistently your odds of satisfaction rise exponentially. This creates a better scenario for the homeowner customer.

Your satisfaction with the end product depends on many T's being crossed and I's dotted perfectly. A team approach with a designer and installer experienced working together will reduce stress and potential problems. Communication between the designer and installer needs to be continual. Often questions arise for the installers on site that can only be answered knowledgeably and accurately by the designer who actually created your CAD Design.

An installer guessing what the designer meant,can cause big problems. A designer and craftsman carpenter/installer working consistently together over time develop an great team approach that eliminates many potential problems. This familiarity with each other's way of doing things can make all the difference in the final outcome of your project.

Please keep the following in mind. There is more at stake then just your new kitchen or bath being designed and installed. This is happening in your home. Make sure you meet and feel confident and safe with every person involved. They will be in your house, around your mate, kids, pets, and all your valuables. Do you feel safe and comfortable around them? Will you feel free to leave them alone in your home while you run an errand? Have you checked out their references?

The next level higher is your local Mom & Pop Kitchen Bath Showroom. Often the owners are designers or a designer carpenter craftsman team themselves. The man may be an expert installer with years of experience. Perhaps owning his own showroom is the next promotion for his career after installing for other companies over the previous years. The point is you will be dealing with employees or owners that will handle your project from start to finish.  They are available and accountable. The peace of mind that comes dealing with true professionals is superior to all the unknowns you may encounter at the big box retailer.

Also, quality of product is generally much better at the level of  a privately owned Mom and Pop Kitchen Bath Showroom. Many manufacturers of cabinetry will only display their line in privately owned showrooms. Why? They take pride in their brand and build better products of higher quality. These manufacturers do not provide their better quality cabinetry to the big box retail stores. Custom cabinet lines and some semi custom lines cannot be bought or influenced to build a knock off line that competes at a lower price point found in big box retailers.

Next week we will cover the top choice, awarding your project to a Design Build firm like we are at Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath.

Have a great week!