Bellweather Design-Build

by Emily Blackburn
Will Giesey
Joey Willhite

Philadelphia, Pa.
bellweatherdesignbuild.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99%
GQ 2021 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2019: 20
Type of Firm: Design/Build
CEO: Will Giesey, Joey Willhite

Business technology and business software are offering new ways for remodelers and home improvement professionals to improve client experience and customer satisfaction. In what ways are you using software or technology to improve client experience?:

Bellweather Design-Build has been very forward thinking in terms of using technology to improve client experience and customer satisfaction. It all starts with Sales and their daily use of HubSpot as our CRM and CMS. HubSpot allows us to automate touch points throughout the entire sales process, so whether you are at the top of the funnel or bottom, you are receiving automated emails and texts to keep you engaged. Not only that, personalized automated meeting text reminders go out via HubSpot throughout the entire process, this small automated touchpoint make us seem prepared and professional to the homeowner.

After the client signs on to work with Bellweather, the automated touchpoints don’t stop there. We are also using HubSpot to send weekly client satisfaction surveys to all clients, no matter if they’re in design or construction. The quick and easy surveys allow us to check in with the clients in order to ensure their happiness and project success.

Another fun and “new” option we are offering are virtual walkthroughs. Before we can quote a price, we typically visit the home, but when clients are out of town, have COVID or just can’t make it, we offer virtual alternatives to make the process easy and efficient for all.

In design, we are using Buildertrend selections to make virtual collaboration the forefront of our process. We also use Matterport 360 degree photography that helps us develop the project virtually without the need to be on site every day.

In construction, emails are an obvious use of technology that has been used forever, but we are very regular with a weekly email at the end of the week recapping what happened, what is about to happen, and any homework/decisions needed from the client. We have a running list that we PDF every week of all the questions/decisions/resolutions and whether they are completed or not. Our project managers are awesome!

Rising costs for labor and building materials along with higher inflation on everything else is forcing remodelers and home pros to raise prices dramatically. Tell us about the most effective ways you are passing along these rising prices to your clients?:

Our goal as a design-build firm is to help educate the client on making economical decisions. We truly try to be as realistic as early as possible about costs so we don’t get halfway through design or to the sale and have major sticker shop. This allows the clients to make better economic decisions earlier…. how they can get the most bang for their buck? We present clients with many options for custom materials so they pick finishes that are within budget. We also allow clients to purchase their own appliances to avoid our mark-up.

One thing we have taken into account is adding in building contingencies and escalation clauses into the contracts so clients can get the best current pricing that increases if the market does. We are also doing competitive shopping in order to not enforce the escalation clause.

Supply shortages have required you to ask clients to go back and pick another finish or building material. What are your tips for handing these product trade-off conversations?:

Our goal as a design-build firm is to help educate the client on making economical decisions. We truly try to be as realistic as early as possible about costs so we don’t get halfway through design or to the sale and have major sticker shop. This allows the clients to make better economic decisions earlier…. how they can get the most bang for their buck? We present clients with many options for custom materials so they pick finishes that are within budget. We also allow clients to purchase their own appliances to avoid our mark-up.

One thing we have taken into account is adding in building contingencies and escalation clauses into the contracts so clients can get the best current pricing that increases if the market does. We are also doing competitive shopping in order to not enforce the escalation clause.

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