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How to Communicate Effectively With Your Contractor: An Interview with Advanced Renovations

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Advanced Renovations is a full service remodeling company. We have always specialized in remodeling, not new construction. We can of course accommodate new construction if we were asked to. We do quite a bit of home addition work, which is of course new construction, just attached to an existing structure. We do all phases of remodeling, kitchens, baths, additions, structural repairs, sunrooms. Just about anything that someone would want to add to their home we can perform the work needed.

How did you get into this line of work?

I got into remodeling back in high school on a limited basis and worked in the construction industry on and off even through college. I worked in another field of interest for several years and returned to the construction industry when I had enough of my own capital to start my business on a solid footing.

Is remodeling ever a necessity or is it simply for aesthetic beauty?

For most people remodeling is for the aesthetic beauty. They are tired of the past decade look to their home or in some cases the last three decades. Remodeling is definitely a less inexpensive way to upgrade your home rather than buying new. And for that reason most people that do remodel are doing it because they like the area they live in just tired of the age their home is showing. On the other hand some folks are forced to remodel, like in the case of a parent moving in with them due to illness or not being capable of looking after themselves. In these cases an in law suite works great and we have built some really nice additions for this purpose.

How do you offer competitive pricing while making sure you don't sacrifice the quality of your products?

Our pricing is really project driven and once we come to the final number of the project being requested we go over that pricing with the customer. You could get five estimates and none will be exactly the same, but they all should be in the same ball park. If you have estimates that are much higher or lower than the rest, that is a red flag for those companies. They are either trying to make an unusually higher margin on your project or on the other hand they are going to have to cut corners in the completion of your project to hit the much lower price. Once our price is determined by calculation of materials, labor, distance to project site, county or city permits and other filing information, we stick to that price. We do not pad our estimates so that we can be negotiated down on price. I know what it will take us to do the job and I price very good work at a very reasonable price. If we don't get the project at the price level we need to do the job correctly and more importantly to our standards. Then I know we were competing on price alone and not craftsmanship and quality, and we are better off not getting the project.

What are the first steps a homeowner should take if they are thinking of renovating a part of their home?

Any homeowner thinking of remodeling should first consider what the motivation of the remodel is in the first place. If for aesthetic upgrade or for a specific purpose that should be the first step in determining what you want built. After that step is complete you then need to assess how you would like the space to function. Have a specific goal you are trying to achieve such as, more square foot for a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or sunroom. Any number of needs or wants can drive a remodel project, so whatever that need or want is, make sure you identify the specific need or want and start from that direction. The last thing you would want is to have the project complete and not have your initial need met by the new space.

What sets your business apart from other comparable companies? What do you do better/different than the competition?

Advanced Renovations is different than most remodeling companies in the sense that we sub very little of our work out. Because of the trades people we have on staff as full time employees we are able to do most all the work in house. Most remodel and new construction as well uses a great deal more sub contractors than we do. What advantage this gives the customer is with us they are dealing with one company the entire time. This equals less hassle and better communication for the customer on any changes to the project and more accountability on us for the project being done correctly.

What are some steps homeowners should keep in mind during the remodeling process?

One of the most important things the homeowner can do during the remodel process is having patience. Larger remodel projects can take several months to complete and this is something that most homeowners are not prepared for. There will be days when things are loud, odorous, dusty and inconvenient to have people working in your home. So having patience is a key ingredient in a good remodel project making it to completion the way you want. There are always challenges to remodeling; after all we are building onto a structure that someone else built years ago with different building codes and processes at that time. So for the most part no remodel project is the same and there can be setbacks along the way.

What are some aspects of your business philosophy that you will never sacrifice? (ex. Refusing to decrease the quality of materials used in order to stick within a customer's budget)

We realize our company name goes on every project we do. Therefore we will not cut corners, avoid building code regulations or skimp on craftsmanship to make a larger margin. There have been projects in the past were we were losing money every day we were on the project site. But we never used less material or labor hours to complete the job correctly. That is something we will not do.

What are some key qualities that a homeowner should expect from a good design and remodeling company?

Like I express to all prospective customers I talk with about choosing a contractor. The most important aspect of the project is that you can identify and communicate well with your contractor. This will be a better relationship than with someone you feel will not be as likable to work with. And in the process of the project if there is mutual understanding from contractor to customer with open lines of communication, any problem will be easier to solve. So if you are choosing a contractor on price alone, you might find yourself in a situation where there is no communication and not much resolution to any problems.

What are the most difficult kinds of projects?

Some of the most difficult projects arise when there are no real drawings or plans or even the customer knowing exactly what they want the outcome to look like. For the most part a large majority of remodel projects do not have architectural drawings or any drawing s for that matter; they are just an idea the customer has. That does not mean that there can't be specific ideas of layout, materials, and processes before the project begins. Even if this is listed out on notebook paper, at least there is a set of steps to follow and a reasonable expectation of what completion should look like. Even if it is a picture out of a magazine, this is better than no plan at all. Some of the time you are tearing out what you just built because the customer has changed their mind over night. There are always going to be changes along the way in the project. But if you have a clear picture of what you want before the project starts this cuts way down on change orders and anxiety, for the customer and the contractor. A good remodel contractor should be able to help guide the customer through the initial phase of creating what the final product will look like. We have done so many projects of all types that I am able to guide the individual that wants my help in implementing ideas that I know will work and look beautiful.

What are some of your personal favorite projects to work on?

The projects I find the most rewarding is when the customer has a very good idea on what they want but no clue on how to get there. This allows me to inject into the project ideas that I have used in the past on similar projects that have turned out to be functional yet beautiful. It is satisfying seeing the end result when you know you had a great deal of input into the project and the customer is ecstatic over the outcome. Just gives you a sense of accomplishment to have helped someone create the home that they have always wanted.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

The best way to have Advanced Renovations go to work for you on your project is to give us a call at 864-288-3633 and schedule a free consultation concerning your project. You can also contact us through our website at www.advancedrenovationssc.com .

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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