The Kitchen Remodel
After 25 years in our house, my wife Joanne convinced me that it was time to make some upgrades. Because I am inherently cheap, I fought it at first. Joanne is smart and didn’t give up, because she knew what the improvement would do not only for the value of our house, but our ever growing family that comes to visit. The goal was to remove the wall between our kitchen and dining room, making one large, open kitchen.
One of our biggest potential obstacles was figuring out if the wall we wanted to remove was load bearing or not. Joanne contacted multiple contractors and at least 6 came to look at the job. Half of them were certain it was a load bearing wall, half of them were leaning toward not. Joanne cut a hole in the wall to help them, and they still couldn’t be certain. They all said the only way to make certain is to start tearing the wall down. And once we started, there was no turning back.
We chose a nice contractor recommended by friends and our daughter Emily. Trying to save money, I took on the job of removing all the trim pieces in both rooms and taking sheet rock off the effected walls. It was hard work for a soft banker, but I had it complete by the time Mike the contractor showed up Monday morning. The wall was not load bearing, thank goodness. But there were a lot of other things inside the wall which required moving. We talked about our options with Mike, decided to use his recommendations and he got to work. That night we had a friend who also had extensive experience with home remodeling look at the project, and he had different thoughts.
Confused about which way to go, we asked our friend to meet with Mike to discuss the options. After a great discussion, we were back on track and Mike went back to work. A couple of days into the job, the wall was out, heating and cooling ducts were moved and electric was rewired. Now we had a better version of our vision, and it wasn’t exactly matching the original version. Then our son in law had the idea to remove a closet and make the new kitchen even bigger. We liked it and asked Mike if he could make it happen. It wasn’t in the original scope of the job, but he agreed to the improvement.
As small business owners and managers, sometimes it can be frustrating when we give the customer exactly what they ask for, but then the customer changes their mind about what they really want. Part of our job is to help others see and understand their visions for how they use our products and services. It might not match the vision we have for their use, but that is our problem, not theirs. Part of the issue sometimes lies where their vision isn’t realistic, or the changes would cost so much that the return on investment is minimal. Our job is to patiently and expertly explain the options available.
If we can accomplish that, we can become an effective member of our customer’s future. That turns into more sales, more referrals and what we are all looking for, more profit.
As I write this, I am hoping that all our changes are done, and the project moves along according to schedule. And I am hoping this is the last major remodeling job we will have to tackle for another 25 years.