By Philip Trapkin, Owner of SterlingWorks
I read all kinds of advice all over the internet, and in magazines, about how to choose the best builder for your custom kitchen remodeling project – check BBB, call references, inspect previous jobs, Google, do background checks…
All this is valuable, but after almost 20 years in the business, and even more years developing my own business senses, I have come to the conclusion that there is an infallible approach to making the right choice.
Of course, this process assumes you are choosing from a list of comparably qualified candidates – licensed by your city or state, insured, with good references, and quality photos of previous projects. These are all a big part of the equation, and should be considered when thinking about who you want to work with. But that’s as far as the thinking should take you. The final decision should come from below your head. It should come from your heart and gut. I submit that our intuition is infallible when it comes to all of life’s choices, if only we take the time to notice.
In my opinion, in our American culture women have had the upper hand historically when it comes to paying attention to intuition and their feelings. Men have been more apt to lean on thinking, planning, scheming, and figuring out. It doesn’t mean they don’t have intuition; it just means they don’t automatically lean on their feelings before making a decision.
After reviewing the more than 100 custom kitchen remodeling projects I have completed over the last 17 years, I found the common denominator of successful endeavors is the relationship! In the successful partnerships I’ve had, the connection was made within seconds of meeting face-to-face. I know this might sound more like dating advice, but there is so much evidence to support listening to your heart and belly when making the decision about a remodeling contractor.
In a recent Popular Mechanics article, 10 Tips for Hiring a Contractor, they come to the same conclusion with their #1 tip.
Imagine what it’s like to have a house full of strangers for a night. Now imagine that for three months! There is good reason to feel connected to, and like, the people you invite into your home. After all, this is your personal space, and you’re partnering with someone to re-create it, and be on your side, when the inevitable challenges come up – as they do in every remodeling project.
You will feel much better if you have a trusted advocate, rather than a talented but cold builder whose announcement that ‘your house needs additional (fill in the blank)’ might not ring so true. I tell my potential customers, “if I would go back-to-back in a bar with you, then we’ll make a good remodeling team.” And make no mistake, it is a team effort.
Once you have made your gut check and found a great fit, all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place; the price is right, the timetable is right, the crew is right, and the custom kitchen remodeling process goes smoothly.
I suspect this approach isn’t taught in business school, or suggested by most online advice bloggers or consumer advocates. But I can tell you it has proven to be 100% accurate in my remodeling career.
I’ve had great relationships with so many of the homeowners I’ve worked with in Atlanta. Read what they have to say here. If you’d like to see if I’m the right kitchen remodeling contractor for you, then reach out and let’s talk.