LGA, Inc © all rights reserved.
The Bad Rap on Remodeling By Patrick O'Toole
TRYING TO PINPOINT THE SOURCE
of the poor reputation that persists regarding the remodeling industry is not as easy as you'd think. Sure, there are relatively low barriers to
entry in the home improvement industry, and a number of bad apples do make their way into and out of our industry on an annual basis.
But there is reason to believe that the real source of this reputation lies deeper.
The conventional wisdom on the industry's reputation is that the "bad apples" leave behind hundreds, maybe thousands of dissatisfied homeowners each year, some of whom take their story to local television stations. TV stations in turn air these quick-hit, cautionary tales about "home improvement scams" in a way that distorts the true scope of the problem. So far the professional remodeling industry has
attempted to counter the damaging effects by simply disassociating itself from these types of fly-by-night operators and highlighting the hallmarks of quality companies. But publicity about" bad apples" is only part of the story.
Common sense should tell us that most homeowners have trust issues with remodelers in general because they are unable to authoritatively discern between quality construction practices -- those that meet code and ensure that walls will remain plumb over the long haul, etc. -- and the cosmetically pleasing but incorrect work that goes on everyday. The question that many construction-muddled
homeowners ask is: Why pay the real cost of remodeling a home with a reputable firm (with insurance, warranties, etc.) when you can pay a fraction of the price to get results that look just as good?
The difference in price between the workmanship of a qualifies remodeler and anybody else is substantial enough that droves of otherwise highly intelligent people continually rationalize hiring the lower-priced operators. Anyone in the industry knows they will pay for it in the long run in dollars spent to replace shoddy workmanship. They will also pay for it in terms of marital stress and general
inconvenience as the lower-priced operator continually misses deadlines, disappears for weeks on end, etc.
For now, it makes sense for the remodeling pros who read this magazine to follow the lead of many of their peers who spend time educating their prospects on the construction process. The more that homeowners are able to discern between good and bad construction, the better the whole industry will be in the long run.