Swipe right...the Real Secret to the Remodel Industry

Saturday, February 10, 2024

The Larossa Workshop Blog/Swipe right...the Real Secret to the Remodel Industry

Swipe Right...the Real Secret to the Remodel Industry

Maybe you’re the problem in this relationship (I’m talking to both of you)

I’ve always been confused at the misalignment between the Contractor and the customer. I’ve spent years as both a Professional General Contractor and a customer, as a RE investor. In that time, I think I have finally put my finger on the problem.

Construction, specifically residential renovations, is a complex industry that is filled with mistrust. You’ve heard it before(or even experienced it), contractors are out there to screw you over. In most cases this is not the truth, but after reading this you may understand why most people think this. In fact, in contractors’ circles they talk about how customers are out to screw them over. Perspective is a funny thing. We have put a lot of time into thinking about this dilemma over the years and this is our conclusion. The main problem in the residential remodel contracting industry is……MATCHMAKING.

The issue is that most customers think they simply “need to find a contractor” and that they are all mostly the same. On the flip side, most contractors think that customers are basically the same. These assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. What are the key considerations on a “match made in heaven” as it relates to construction.

It is our belief that both customers and contractors do not know the right questions to ask before making a hiring decision. It’s all about understanding each other's expectations of one another. Ask the questions below to find out if you are the right match for each other.

The Big 3:

  • Time
  • How far our are they to start?
  • ​Once they start, how long will it take?
  • ​How do they work? See "What is their Construction Strategy" (below)
  • How do they handle changes to this timeline?​

  • Quality
  • Most people think of high craftsmanship and perfectionism when it comes to residential construction. This is really just another niche.
  • ​Customization. Being able to extract your dream project from your imagination and get it onto a drawing (or software projection) and then into reality.
  • ​To us it's about consistency. Being able to say right from the start what it's going to cost and how long it will take and then deliver. To be able to show pictures of 100s of properties before and say "it will look basically exactly like this." Someone saying "this looks just like all the other houses" is the ultimate compliment.

  • Who do you want in your house?
  • Are you going to be living there during the project? If so, you need to ask some questions about the type of people the contractor will be allowing in your house.
  • ​What are their protocols on lock up and clean up? How well do they manage this?

  • How much control do you need to have?
  • Some companies specialize in letting you have a say in every decision before, during and after each phase of the project.
  • ​On the other end of the spectrum, some contractors have a proven system in place and make all the decisions from start to finish.

  • Is it plan making or plan following?
  • Some work like remodel work on an older home requires plan making/problem solving at basically every turn. No matter how much pre planning is done, that plan will inevitably fail. This is not to say not to plan, however the plan will start out somewhat blurry and focus in over the project.
  • ​Others, like new builders, can plan out literally every step of the way then stick to it with little factor of error.

  • What is their Construction Strategy?
  • Some companies will have someone on site every day.
  • ​Some will work in bursts of different crews.
  • ​Some will go all hands on deck for a shorter time.

  • When will I see the plan develop?
  • Sometimes things get messed up before they get better. You have to be prepared for this.
  • On some projects things get started really quickly then they slow down. This is possibly part of the plan or it’s possibly poor management.

  • What is our communication Rhythm?

  • ​Some talk every day, some every week, some only at set checkpoints.
  • ​What is the meeting agenda for these meetings?
  • ​How will I know if things are off track?

  • What grade of material will you be using?

  • ​What material do I get to choose and what is your stock material?
  • ​Is your stock “builder’s grade” or of highest quality or somewhere in between?
  • ​Some have special connections with high end, hard to get materials.

These are all of the questions that you need to be asking a contractor before getting started. Maybe even more importantly, however, you need to ask yourself what is important to you when it comes to these 8 questions. Trade-offs WILL be made whether you know it or not. It is my goal to help you understand what trade-offs you make with these decisions. This way you can make sure that both of you are aligned on the expectations. This is how good relationships develop.

Before your next project, make sure that you have asked the other side how they prioritize each of the line items and make sure that you know how you prioritize them. Then start playing your version of Matchmaker. Good luck out there.​

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Hi, I'm Ross Paller

CEO Of Larossa

After flipping over 300 houses, holding a portfolio of 150 properties, and creating a successful construction company for over a decade, I felt compelled to pay it forward by sharing the wealth of knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated on my journey.

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