Canadian Contractor

John Bleasby   

Are you a Guide or a Director? You should be both!

Canadian Contractor

Clients depend on your expertise to help prioritize and then select their renovation projects.

Here’s the scenario; your new clients want to renovate their home. Not only do they wish to improve the quality of their personal living space but in a way that it maximizes their resale value. It’s a very common situation.

They have a wish list along with budget restraints. They really don’t know what they want until they see it, and even if they see it, they may not be able to afford it.  Since it’s in your best interest to deliver results that meet as many of your client’s goals as possible, how do play your part?

Perhaps being both a Director and a Guide is the answer.
What does that mean?

Your role be that of a Director when it helps to prioritize your client's desires.......

Your role becomes that of a Director as you help your client’s prioritize their desires…….

Most experts agree on the top five renovations that will increase home value. They go more or less like this: Kitchens, bathrooms, fixtures, flooring, and new income suite. Very likely your client can’t afford to do them all at one time, and so they ask you what their best choices are for the money available.


You now take on the role of Director. You need to help them prioritize.
For example, while adding an income suite may help young couples meet mortgage costs in expensive urban centres, you need to ask them to seriously consider if they are really willing to borrow even more money, engage in a fairly expensive renovation project, put up with landlord-tenant issues, and acknowledge that although an income suite represents a potential equity gain to be realised down the road when they sell, it is not going to impact their own living space standards today. Is that really their number one priority? You can’t tell them not to do it, but your expertise is needed so they don’t end up with regrets.

Kitchens are the heart of the home

....but when the choice is made, your role often shifts to that of a Guide.

….but when the choice is made, your role often shifts to that of a Guide.

No wonder kitchens top the list of many renovation ratings. They spend a lot of time there, not only to prepare meals but also as the inevitable social hub when friends come over; everyone seems to end up hanging around chatting in the kitchen.

So, if you have ‘directed’ your client to consider their kitchen first, you might then need to ‘guide’ them towards choices they can both afford and that deliver the biggest bang for the buck. For example, if the cabinets need replacing, do they really need to be expensive custom made ones, or will component-style cabinets like IKEA do instead? Sure, granite counter tops are beautiful, but Caesarstone is an attractive and lower cost alternative. As for colours, ‘guide’ their choices within a range that might appeal to a wider audience; how many TV home buyers shows have you seen where the wife of a prospective purchaser comments that she loves the layout of the house, but hates the blue countertops and purple cabinets?

Their space now, someone else’s later
Bathrooms are a very personal space where luxury and practicality need to coexist. Many couples wish to add a new bathroom or  upgrade their master with a double vanity basin and a rain shower, yet often overlook a proper-sized bathtub. Although they may be an adult couple and prefer showers, your client may need reminding that a tub is a necessity for any future buyer with children.

Renovating from the floor–up
Flooring can make or break the atmosphere of any house right from the start. Wall-to-wall broadloom is seen today as a dirt-and-germ collection system. You can ‘direct’ your client to the hard surface choices that abound, but ‘guide’ them to the best options within, for example, the hardwood look via bamboo, engineered composites, or solid wood.

Going for less is not always going for less
And if your client begins to realise their budget won’t stretch as far as they had hoped, you can ‘direct’ them towards the idea of new fixtures, and then ‘guide’ them to a new kitchen countertop with a stylish sink and faucet, improved LED lighting in main rooms and bathrooms, or an improved hallway entrance and closet.

This two-step collaborative process of ‘directing’ then ‘guiding’ will develop trust, results that satisfy, and great referrals and call-backs for the future.

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