Classic Remodeling & Construction, Inc.

by Emily Blackburn
Bob Fleming

Johns Island, SC
classicremodeling.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96%
GQ 2021 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2021: 34
Type of Firm: Design/Build
CEO: Bob Fleming

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?:

During the sales and design process we use photorealistic renderings to help clients visualize the end result of their remodeling project. The renderings include suggested furniture layouts as well as the client’s product selection, to help the client get a true feel for how the space will look. These renderings really help the client get excited about the project.

We have also been using DocuSign for contract signings. This program has been especially helpful to our out-of-town clients who no longer have to plan trips to the area in order to sign a contract. It allows them to review and sign documents from anywhere in the world and helps keep the process moving.

Behind-the-scenes we use software like DropBox for file storage. Keeping all project information, including plans, photos, and vendor quotes in one place that everyone can access from anywhere, helps improve our internal communication and allows us to respond to questions and concerns much quicker.

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?:

First of all, we begin discussing cost increases and inflation issues with clients at our very first meeting. We always specifically review the 3-year lumber index and the 43-year history of the lumber index. Together, these graphics illustrate how much more we are paying for commodity items, how rapidly the price increases have occurred, and how unstable lumber costs are right now. We present this information as a way of helping clients understand the cost issues we are currently facing.

In order to account for these price increases, we have added a cost escalation clause in our contracts. In short, this clause explains that if we have quoted materials more than 2 months in advance we will requote at project start. If prices increase we will adjust accordingly. If prices decrease, the client will benefit from that decrease. And finally, if the price increase is considered to be significant by the client we will offer the option of postponing their project start, for a period not to exceed 12 months.

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?:

In order to prepare clients for product issues, we talk about supply shortages early and often during the sales process. Beginning with our very first meeting, we explain the product availability issues and long lead times we’ve been experiencing and how that can affect the overall project schedule. We discuss delivery timelines, providing specific examples of the delays we are experiencing – how window orders went from 2-3 month lead times to 6 months or more, cabinets from 2-3 months to 5-8 months, and appliances from a few weeks to a year or more. We also discuss the fact that many orders come incomplete or incorrect, and our staff is working harder than ever before to track and resolve product issues. We close by letting them know that our staff is acutely aware of what’s happening with the supply chain and working behind the scenes to find the best products and pricing for their project. By scheduling their project further out, our goal is to have everything on-hand before we disrupt anything in their home.

These conversations continue at each meeting, so that if/when an issue with a selected product arises, the client has already been prepped for that possibility.

Our designers have deep product knowledge and are constantly monitoring the latest information from our vendors regarding product availability. This helps us guide our clients toward products that are more likely to be readily available. When we do run into a product that is extremely delayed or no longer available, it’s much easier to discuss the issue with the client and suggest another, similar product that would work in their space.

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