Q First, can you introduce us to Russell?
A Russell is The Cleary Company’s official greeter. He comes to work every day with me and has his favorite napping spots in our office. But when things get a little hectic Russell is more than happy to provide us with a break by going outside for a game of catch or chase the squirrel.
Q How did you get started in the remodeling business?
A I have been working in this industry for over 35 years, initially working for other contractors. But 25 years ago, with about $10,000 in my pocket, a computer, a truck, some tools and a few of my good buddies, I decided to start my own business.
Q 25 years is a long time. What do you love about your work?
A Relationships. Also, translating a customer’s vision into a design and then building their
dream is the best part of what we do.
Q What should someone consider before choosing a remodeler?
A It may sound basic, but sometimes when the focus is price, people ignore basic, but important questions:
• Am I comfortable with the people who will be in my home for weeks, possibly months?
• Do I trust the process outlined by the remodeler?
• Do I understand all the costs and potential over-runs?
Q How does a homeowner determine what type of person or firm they should hire?
A There are several questions to ask before hiring a contractor. In fact, we host an open house titled “Remodeling 101.” Open to the general public, we review best practices for a successful remodel. For example, there are different approaches people can take:
• DIY. Do some of the work yourself and have a cousin/neighbor/friend help.
• Start with an architect. Get plans first then hire a general contractor.
• Hire a Jack-of-all-trades.
• Go with a design-build firm.
We believe strongly in the design-build team approach. The benefits are that you communicate with one company from start to finish—for detailed planning, design and execution. This results in a savings of time and money and you get a clear idea of costs.
Q Once a homeowner selects a remodeler, what is important to communicate?
A There should be a clear understanding between both parties as to how long the project will take from demo through completion. The family should share their scheduling concerns regarding vacations, important events, etc. Also, does it makes sense for them to live in the home during the remodel?
And communication is key. Would you prefer to talk with your contractor face to face? Or are texts and e-mails more convenient? How often would you like to be updated to feel comfortable? And who needs to be involved when decisions are made?
Q Can you recommend any resources for getting started on a project in the Columbus area?
A Sure. We are active with the local chapter of National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), plus we have an A+ excellent rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Both of those organizations are great places to start with a bit of research.
Article by Karen Bradner/Photo courtesy of The Cleary Company
Article originally appeared in Housetrends Columbus – December 2019