“Why is my remodel taking so long?”
This is something I hear a lot lately, and as a person who prides herself on exceptional customer service, it makes me cringe! But it’s a question that needs answering: why is it taking so long just to get these projects designed, bid, approved by the homeowners and into the production queue? I’ve got a few ideas.
Getting into the queue:
Since the burst of the housing bubble, if you’re still in business, you’ve trimmed your staff significantly. For a small to mid-size architectural/design firm, that means that you’ve cut back to one or two designers who perform most all the office functions; the designers are now acting as not only designers but they answer phones, work the front desk, serve as production assistants, estimators, etc. The owner might be taking care of the sales and administration on top of being the design director. Suffice it to say that those that are left are wearing multiple hats.
For the small business owner, this means that you might be everything; you’ve let the design and administrative staff go and you’re trying to do your bookkeeping and job bids in the evenings after you’ve worked all day in the office or the field. This is especially true for our subcontractors and trade partners who are by and large small business owners.
Obtaining building materials:
Many of our suppliers can’t afford to keep inventory. The demand for product is low due to the slowdown in the home industry; manufacturers will not extend vendors the credit they once enjoyed, which enabled them to keep their shelves full of product. As a result, everything must be ordered and shipped in; we produce very little for the housing industry here in Colorado.
All of these factors lead to a much longer lead time just to get to the construction stage.
The good news is that trades people are more available and more willing to work with designers on pricing, which is good because our clients are much more value-conscious. We have to work especially hard to find new ways to value engineer projects- the good old days when everyone, including (especially) the bank, was throwing money around are gone.
At Debra Toney, we have adjusted our practices in order to scale back the time you are in construction, and we are seeing that this offsets that annoying lead time to get into the queue. Through some very strict building systems and procedures, we can minimize the time spent in construction once we have crossed the threshold of your home. Hopefully, that’s the memory that you’ll have of your project- just how smooth and quickly things went once we (finally) got started!