Better Builders

by Emily Blackburn
Walter Babb
Peter Baughman

Seattle, Wash.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 95%
GQ 2021 Recommend Rate: 95%
Number of Jobs in 2021: 9
Type of Firm: Design/Build
CEO: Walter Babb, Peter Baughman

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?:

The two primary software services we use are BuilderTrend and HubSpot. HubSpot allows us to keep closer track of our Homeowners journey with Better Builders from our first interaction. This aids our team in maintaining attentive and consistent communication throughout the design and sales process. BuilderTrend comes into play once our homeowners are in the design process and continues through their build.

This gives us on comprehensive location to store and track all pertinent documents, decisions and communication. Homeowners are able to make their selections, review daily logs, track their project schedule, and more, all in real time. This keeps our team organized while also showing transparency to our clients throughout the project. We are offering the highest level of client experience and have high customer satisfaction because we make them part of our team throughout their time with Better Builders.

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?:

All we can do as our clients trusted advisors is keep them informed on the rising costs in real time. We are also factoring larger contingency amounts into our pricing because of the delayed starts with our backlog of work. From the time we sign into construction and actually start working on their home, several months may pass. Any increase in cost in that time is funded from the contingency so that the total price does not increase. Our clients are aware and have some say in the contingency that is budgeted. We find that candor in these up front conversations helps our homeowners have a better grasp on the market for building materials and the costs associated with their projects.

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?:

We have started having these conversations very early in our pre-construction process. Usually, we start in our first official meet and greet zoom call. We also suggest that if there is a particular product that is a “must have”, that we secure it now. Most everything else will have a close comparison for a replacement product. We’ve also started ordering all of our products months in advance of the project starting. This has greatly reduced our running into the issue of things not being available or delaying projects because of discontinued or unavailable product. Most of our homeowners are understanding and with great communication we are able to maintain a honest and collaborative relationship.

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