Next Stage Design + Build

by Emily Blackburn
Jim Kabel

San Jose, Calif.
nextstagedesign.com  
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96%
GQ 2021 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2021: 33
Type of Firm: Design/Build
CEO: Jim Kabel

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?:

From the beginning, once a potential client requests a consultation, we use Skipio to make it easier for clients to schedule and confirm consultations with our project developers.   Once a potential client signs and agreement, use provide a log-on for a user portal to BuilderTrend which enables this to see their project schedule, track daily logs and job photos on progress, see and make progress payments, and submit warranty requests after the project is complete.  We also sign and send warranty certificates via AdobeSign.   And we make it a practice to provide regular e-mail updates from project managers.   Right now, over 75% of our clients are making payments on-line via BuilderTrend.

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?:

We’ve been sharing statistics on pricing inflation with clients when appropriate.   For all clients, we are providing budget check-ins during the conceptual and detailed design phases each time after key decisions and selections are made and well before the contract is signed.  Our goal is to make all decisions and finalize and place orders and/or sign contracts with subcontractors immediately after contract signature and store all materials in our warehouse.  We also provide clauses in our contracts to make our clients aware of potential price changes due to decision delays for any small number of remaining items.

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?:

Set expectations, place orders early, and communicate, communicate, communicate.   When we identify a long-lead item that may impact schedule, we make the client aware and will often collect a deposit to place the order for that selection before the final contract is signed.   

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