Foremost Builders

by Emily Blackburn
Dave Clarenbach

West Lebanon, NH
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97%
GQ 2021 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2021: 10
Type of Firm: Design/Build
CEO: Dave Clarenbach

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?:

We are using Ruby Receptionist to handle all incoming calls and fill out our first contact sheet on our website for any potential new clients. We are using Template messages in Buildertrend to let that client know that we are looking forward to discussing their project with them and asking them to email us pictures of the area they would like to remodel. We are using Microsoft Teams Meetings for initial video chat with prospective clients. We are using Canvas software on our iPad to scan the existing conditions at our initial meeting with potential clients and then sending of the scans to Occipital for a conversion to Chief Architect file.

We are using Buildertrend estimate templates from past projects to produce our rough budget numbers and scope of work details for the Design Agreement. We are using DocuSign or Buildertrend for Design agreement signing, and WePay to collect the deposit.

We are creating 3D designs in Chief Architect and using Oculus Quest 2 to allow our client to immerse themselves in the space. During the remodel we are using Buildertrend for all communications: Messages / Daily Logs / Schedule Updates / Invoicing / Change Orders / Payments / Checklist for Production Managers Jobsite Visit and Safety Inspections

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?:

During the design process we are giving budget updates as we receive pricing from vendors and trades.

During construction we have a cost escalation clause in our agreements that says we will absorb the first 5% of an increase in materials cost and anything over that will be passed along to the client at cost.

We write change orders and release them immediately to them through Buildertrend as soon as we are aware of the triggering of the cost escalation.

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 try very hard to eliminate this from happening by writing change orders during the design process which allows us to pre-order the items selected prior to us having the construction agreement signed.

Our current backlog, of close to a year, has also helped us by ordering the products needed for projects and store them in our warehouse until they are need at the jobsite.

In the case that we do have to go back to a client to tell them a product is no longer available we explain the situation, let them know that we have done everything possible to prevent it from happening. However, now that it has happened we would like to assist them in finding a equal or superior product to complete their project without sacrificing their project schedule or the quality of the end product.

All of our clients are familiar with the cost escalations that have occurred and the supply chain issues.
The important part is that we talk about these things early and often.

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