We have all heard of a homeowner getting ripped off or having a bad experience/poor end result doing a home improvement project. Home improvement complaints rank at the top every year at the Better Business Bureau and Government Consumer Affair Agencies. As I see it, the basic problem is that homeowners are not prepared to make the many choices involved in a home improvement project. Homeowners cannot be expected to know all the right decisions and all the necessary preventative items and provisions that will insure their project will be problem-free.
This is not to say that there is not advice out there to help homeowners complete their projects, but this advice is normally very broad in nature. For example, most literature will tell you to, Make sure you hire someone that has a license and insurance. That is really good advice, but what type of license and what type of insurance are we talking about? What type of insurance liability amounts are appropriate? $25,000, $100,000, $250,000? Is a landscapers license sufficient to build an outside cabana? My point is that there are just too many questions and too many decisions, both big and small, to rely on basic how to advice.
All homeowners interested in doing a home improvement project need to start off with a detailed blueprint or system that shows them exactly what to do in all phases of the project. This system needs to detail how to avoid poor home improvement situations. It also should be able to be used with any project, big or small.
The Home Improvement Success System accomplishes this. This system covers a variety of topics that one encounters when attempting a home improvement project. This system includes an easy to follow screening procedure to evaluate candidates to do your project. The Home Improvement Success System also includes all the clauses and terms you need to add to a home improvement agreement (contract). This will insure that the project is done without the usual problems that most people encounter when they sign a poor agreement. (Workers not showing up, poor or no communication, jobsite behavior, costly unforeseen problems, project delays, job site conditions, responsibility and storage of materials, etc, etc, etc)
This sixty-two page system tells you exactly what to do every step of the way. Here is the systems table of contents, along with an excerpt about meeting a candidate for the first time.
The Home Improvement Success System
Table of Contents
About the Author
STEP I Defining Your Project and Budget
What is a Home Improvement?
Project File Folder
Items to Consider Before Starting a
Categories of Work
Large Project or Small Project
STEP II Deciding On Who Does the Project
and Under What Circumstances
Thinking About Doing the Project
Types of Contractors
Being Your Own General Contractor
Why You Should Not Hire Just Anybody
for Your Home Improvement Project
Hiring a Friend or Neighbor?
Where to Find Home
I Warn Homeowners to Avoid
Come Looking For You
A Word on Anyone
That Comes Looking For You
5 Steps To Evaluating Home
Check License & Better
Business Bureau Record
Making Phone Contact
Large Company or Small Company
Evaluating Your Candidates
Case Study-Kitchen Remodel
Preparing a Contract
Building Permits & COs
STEP III Production of Your Project
If Problems Arise
Forms and Self Test
Project Specification Sheet
Waiver of Lien Sample
Right of Rescission Sample
Candidate Evaluation Sheet
Example of Labor Warranty
Here is an excerpt from The Home Improvement Success System that describes what you and your candidate need to bring to your first meeting.
Ask the candidate to bring these items to your first meeting:
Copy of their license and insurances.
Pictures of projects similar to yours.
Names, addresses and phone numbers (depending on the type of project) of at least 5 large projects completed within the last 2 years, or 15 smaller projects completed within the last 2 years.
Names, licenses and insurance information of any subcontractors they use.
Brochures of any products they recommend.
You need to bring these items with you to the first meeting:
All the people involved in making the decision on who to hire.
Project Specification Sheet- (Page 47), plans, diagrams and Estimate Form-(Page 49)
Survey of Property (larger projects)
Lot # (larger projects)
Pictures of your house, if meeting at candidates office.
Your Home Improvement File Folder with pictures of other projects similar to what you are looking to do.
Step 3 Candidate Interview
Just as you expect the individual to be prepared, you should be prepared as well. Try to obtain as much information about your project as possible and put it in your Home Improvement File Folder. Your goal is to paint the clearest picture you can into the mind of the candidate you are interviewing, so they know what you are looking to do and what you expect of them. Good candidates will also be able to supply you with additional information and insight into your project.
Keep a written record of the responses and comments you receive from each candidate. (It becomes very easy to forget which candidate said what.) Use the Candidate Evaluation Sheet supplied with this system (Page 56) to record your information.
When you first meet the candidate, give a brief description of what you are looking to do. Begin asking the following questions. (Do not initially spend a lot of time reviewing your project until you are satisfied with the answers to the questions you ask)
Whether it is an architect, designer, contractor or other dont be afraid to ask all the questions that you need to ask. Take control of the initial meeting. Remember you are interviewing the candidate not the other way around. These following questions need to be answered before you can proceed with anything else. I have included the types of answers you would receive from a well qualified candidate.
I would like to say that this system addresses every single question or problem that could ever occur with any home improvement projectbut that couldnt possibly be true. However the only way to get access to this system is when you become a member of The Home Improvement Success Club of America(www.homeimprovementsuccess.com) Membership to this club includes a web forum, chat room, teleseminars, teleclasses, phone consultations, and contract/estimate evaluations. These additional club items are designed to answer questions or concerns members may have, that the system may not address.