It’s been a little over a year now since I left a 23-year career in television journalism for a new career with C and K Roofing and Construction Services. During this time, I’ve been able to observe this industry from the standpoint of a consumer–who knows very little about the process of a home improvement project, how it works, and how long it takes–to a well-informed spokesperson for C and K Roofing. Reverting back to my past life of sharing useful knowledge with people, I jotted down a few things to help home improvement projects go smoothly for everyone involved:
- First, this industry is not like others and runs differently –I’m not disputing whether that’s right or good, just stating that’s the way it is in reality.
- If you treat workers or sales people as if you are trying to “catch” them, they will not return. Companies will decline customers who appear to be “high maintenance”, unable to be pleased, demanding, hostile, or suspicious. They figure it’s not worth the risk of potential problems and costly liability down the line. I know several customers who’ve struggled to find a company willing to take on their project, unaware that contractors have declined the business because they don’t like the customer.
- Once a project is underway, Don’t stand over and talk to the workers or bombard them with questions. It slows them down. Time is money to them. Many company owners actually tell their workers not to talk to the clients for fear of the worker saying something incorrect or unknowingly panicking the client with their comments. Any concerns or curiosities should be directed towards the company representatives or owners.
- Unexpected things come up on job sites that impact the rest of the day for other crews. A job may take longer than expected due to bigger problems uncovered during the repair process. That often has a cascading effect on the rest of the day.
- C and K Roofing avoids scheduling like utility companies who tell customers ‘crews will be there sometime between 9am and 5pm’. We set up specific appointment times as best we can. Clients should be aware various unforeseen issues can pop up, crews may end up running late or have to reschedule altogether with little notice.
- Weather is the trump card for safety of the crew and protection of the home. If rain is expected, it’s not worth the liability or financial risk of getting a project started until after the rain has passed. If it has just rained, surfaces can be slick until they dry off.
- Clients can help the process by using efficient means of communications. In an effort to multi-task and manage dozens of projects and crews simultaneously, texting is becoming the preferred and necessary means of communication. It is quick, to-the-point, and helps keep the process moving forward without having to wait for a conversation.
- Think of the process of a home improvement project as an investment. Be involved, but avoid being a “helicopter parent”. For example, just as a parent who wants a child to be successful invests time and interest into his/her activities, the same holds true for a home improvement project. If you have a question or concern, just ask. Be proactive by confirming appointments –even with a simple text message. That way no one is left waiting and wondering. If I may respectfully suggest: employ common sense. Don’t wait an entire day before asking what’s going on, if no one shows up for a scheduled appointment.
- At any given time, C and K Roofing is likely coordinating dozens of projects around the area simultaneously and cannot easily go on a new project with short notice. Often, companies try to do as much work and as many jobs in one geographic area as they can to save time and gas. That is often a factor when determining how quickly workers get to a project. It’s not uncommon for workers to stop by–with little advance notice to the client–to do a job when they’re already in the area. C and K Roofing makes a concerted effort to contact clients and give them a “heads up” that the crew is headed to them.
- Despite the advice reported in the media about ‘never paying a contractor up front’, the reality is that down payments are necessary, especially for smaller companies. C and K Roofing uses the funds to buy materials–such as roof shingles–to have delivered to the jobsite in advance of the workers. Smaller companies may not have extra cash on hand or large credit lines to pay for such materials. However, it is likely a red flag if a company asks for ALL of the money up front before doing a job. A down payment also keeps both a client and a contractor honest, so that neither party is left –in the end– without getting what they agreed upon from the beginning of the process.
- As with any other industry, or life in general, treat the workers as you would like to be treated. They are not second-class humans. They do hard work in very hot, very cold, dirty, and sometimes dangerous conditions. Construction work is a necessary profession.
C and K Roofing is happy to install roof replacements; perform roof repairs; install flashing; remove/replace rotten wood, fascia and soffit; install siding, windows, and doors; repair drywall; paint interior and exterior, pressure wash, and install insulation. We service homes in Huntsville, Madison, Owens Cross Roads, Hampton Cove, Gurley, Harvest, Decatur, Athens, and all of the smaller towns in between.
During National Roofing Week, June 6-11, C and K Roofing is offering a 20% discount on signed contracts for full roof replacements.