Red House Design Build

by Emily Blackburn
Justin Zeller

Providence, RI
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97%
GQ 2021 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2021: 16
Type of Firm: Design/Build
CEO: Justin Zeller

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?:

Since the pandemic began, we’ve been offering virtual meeting options both for client-facing meetings and internal meetings. This flexibility has been a tremendous asset for our team and our clients. As investors in a high-end remodel, our clients often lead busy lives, making scheduling difficult. Virtual meetings have allowed us to keep our pre-determined schedule intact.

We also use GuildQuality to survey clients twice during our process – once at the end of the design phase and the other at the completion of construction. While we are fortunate to receive predominantly positive feedback, clients appreciate the opportunity to share their experience in this simple-to-use interface.

We also use Buildertrend for CRM and project management. Clients are often relieved to find all of their project information in one place – schedule files, photos, drawings, permits, messaging, meeting notes, and daily logs. It is an invaluable resource to our process.

Finally, at the start of each project, we perform a 3D Matterport scan of each client’s home. This tool is fantastic in helping us understand and uncover potential hidden issues and help build our existing conditions models. It’s also helpful to have on file for future projects for repeat clients.

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 do our best to keep our clients informed about pricing every step of the way. From the first phone call, we give prospects an estimated budget range based on their initial scope. Over time, as the design becomes more defined, the budget becomes more exact. We then present a fixed-price construction contract.

Our marketing team does a great job at writing educational articles about the costs of popular projects. By communicating with the sales team, they are able to create the content that is most requested. For example, after getting weekly requests for adding a second-floor addition to a ranch home with unrealistic budget expectations, we wrote an article that outlined our expected costs for a project like that and gave reasons why it might be higher than clients anticipate.

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?:

First, whenever we believe an item may sell out or become unavailable, we try to order it as promptly as possible. However, this is not always possible. We are honest with our clients about the state of the market and the supply chain. While it is never easy to disappoint someone, our team of talented designers is always ready to offer a comparable option in its place.

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