Renovations in the New Normal
We were caught off-guard by the COVID19 pandemic. We never thought that those contagion movies we saw will ever happen during our time. The Spanish Flu that devastated the world from 1918-1920, seemed to be unthinkable in modern days. Here we are with millions infected and hundreds of thousands dead in 2020.
It is very concerning to say the least, about the future of builders and remodelers. Most families are affected with the rise in unemployment due to businesses getting shut down and schooling going online. Parents became teachers for their children of school age. Grandparents are called upon to provide childcare. It has been almost 6 months since our government leaders have made the hard decision to ask people to stop gathering in large numbers and to quarantine if exposed to the virus. Our healthcare professionals are stretched thin trying to attend and care for those infected above and beyond the regular load of ill patients. This year being an election year did not make it easier, as we are all bombarded by propaganda and mudslinging regardless of our political affiliations or lack thereof. All the frustrations, despair and exhaustion the population feels now have led to the increase in domestic violence and mental health issues. Low consumer confidence is also an after effect of this pandemic.
On a good note, homeowners are now spending more time at home. They began to look closely at their homes and see what needs to be repaired or what can be improved. The more time we spend inside our homes, the more we need to make it beautiful and functional. Our homes can provide us comfort in these trying times. The age of information technology allowed more people to work from home thus, transforming rooms into workspaces. Spaces became exercise rooms as gyms are closed, family rooms became entertainment hubs, and kitchens are seeing more action than ever before due to restaurant closings and limited outside dining. These transformations or enhancements have allowed us remodelers to dig into our creativity in design and functionality. As the competition became stiffer than normal, we also need to make sure that our services are top-notch not just in the quality of our work but how we care for our customers. We need to provide them with guidance in their choices.
Remodeling a home is a financial commitment. We need to be able to give our customers the information they need to make educated decisions. Design, functionality, and budget are the three very important aspects in any home improvement project. We need to ask some tough questions at times and be transparent to our customers in order to set realistic expectations from both sides. Projects can last for weeks or months and we will be in our customers’ lives during those times. Expectations must be clear with no gray areas that are subject to misinterpretations. A big number of disagreements and tensions grow from the failure of setting the right expectations from the beginning. The customer and contractor relationship must be based on trust. A contractor’s goal is to provide quality performance of the scope of work agreed upon, on time and on budget. Unforeseen changes or additional work are inevitable in most construction and remodeling projects. It is important for both customer and contractor to set aside contingency funds and allowance of time. There is nothing more frustrating for both sides than getting work delayed because of lack of planning and preparation. With many sites to check for reviews, the customer has the ability to pre-screen contractors who they feel will answer their needs. An experienced, knowledgeable, and reputable contractor with verifiable references, who conducts business with integrity, who truly cares, and takes pride in his or her work can be hard to find. This contractor may not be the cheapest among a group of many, but you will be assured that he or she will be in business for a long period of time and stand by their work.
I am hopeful in the American spirit of resilience. We adapt, we change, we work together for the good of this country. All hands on deck to get our country back on track to good health, economic growth, peace and harmony. The older generations did, and we will too. Just like the homes we renovate, we bring new life to what is worn, broken, and outdated.