Frequently Asked Questions
Remodeling your home, whether we’re talking about updating the look of a guest bathroom or a second story addition, is a big decision…and quite possibly one of the biggest lifestyle investments you’ll make outside of the original purchase of your home. We naturally expect that our clients will have a lot of questions during the decision making process, and throughout the remodel. Below are some of the more frequent, and thought provoking, questions that we hear from our clients.
Q: When does it make sense to remodel your home?
While people often think of home remodeling as synonymous with building an “addition,” there are a number of reasons it makes sense to remodel besides adding needed living space. Some of the most common reasons that we have seen in our nearly 40 years of residential design and remodel experience are the following:
Updating the Look of Your Home
Like fashion in general, what was once fresh in the layout and design of a home can become stale over time. Believe it or not, harvest gold and avocado were once trendy, but unless you’re way into the “retro” look, you’d probably prefer a more contemporary style for your kitchen. As our case studies demonstrate, Strite has a long track record of design and build updates that wear well with time.
Improving the Functionality of a Living Space
Unless your home was custom built, its design made generic lifestyle assumptions that simply may not apply to you. We find this to be particularly true in the kitchen, where your own unique approach to food and entertaining can make a huge difference in a room’s size, layout and finishes. Your lifestyle and interests are paramount when we address the functional remodel of your home.
Aging in Place
Homes age…and so do we. As we age, we eventually face mobility issues that in turn affect the livability of our homes. Rather than going through the dislocation of moving to a new house, a remodel that transforms obstacles into conveniences (particularly with regard to bathrooms) can be a better option for how we deal with aging in our homes.
To read more about how STRITE design + remodel addresses these and other needs, view the Services page of our website.
Q: What qualifications should you look for when choosing a remodeler?
Next to building or buying a home, a remodel may be one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make — and choosing the right remodeling partner is the single most critical component to whether that investment maintains its value. The best place to start in considering a remodeling partner is to identify those that are registered and/or licensed with the state to do business as remodeling contractors. In addition, check for their membership in local and state remodeling professional organizations, such as NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) and NARI-Idaho, and whether they have certifications in their trades — i.e., Green Certified Professional Certification, Certified Remodeler (CR), Certified Remodeler Specialist (CRS), Certified Remodeler Associate (CRA), Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler (CKBR), Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC), Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), etc.
Other factors to consider include years in business, reputation, recommendations and references, and membership in local business, civic and community organizations. NARI suggests the following questions you should ask prospective remodelers:
How long have you been in business?
Who will be assigned as project supervisor for the job?
Who will be working on the project? Are they employees or subcontractors?
Does your company carry workers compensation and liability insurance?
What is your approach to a project such as mine?
How many projects like mine have you completed in the past year?
May I have a list of references from those projects?
May I have a list of business referrals or suppliers?
What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business?
If you are getting competitive bids, be sure to only work with reputable companies. We also recommend researching articles and tips from industry websites such as RemodelingMag.com and NARIofIdaho.org to learn more about the importance of selecting a professional remodeler.
Q: What are the advantages to working with STRITE design + remodel?
It’s important to keep in mind that retrofitting a space is more complex than building something from the ground up. This is true even when adding onto your home, as it will still require blending the new structure into an existing one and connecting all the necessary services (e.g., electrical, heating and plumbing, etc.) to the original home.
Other factors involved include maintaining the livability of the existing home for the family and pets throughout the process — which is a situation unique to remodeling, and one that STRITE is experienced at handling.
There are many advantages to working with STRITE when considering the above. Among these are:
STRITE design + remodel incorporates design and planning into all of our remodeling projects, and we have in-depth remodeling experience as well as a thorough understanding of its cost. Having in-house design professionals allows STRITE to keep the budget in mind throughout the design process. This solidifies the cost effectiveness of STRITE’s systems and processes.
STRITE has a reputation for excellence. We invite you to view our client list and talk to past clients about their experience with us.
STRITE’s team approach — maintaining its core team members for the past 20 years — has been a primary factor in providing excellent customer service.
STRITE is a local and national award-winning company that has served the remodeling needs of Treasure Valley residents since 1975.
STRITE is a member of GuildQuality, a third-party customer satisfaction survey and reporting company, and has been recognized as a Guildmaster or Guildmaster with Distinction for the last five years in a row. According to GuildQuality, over 97% of our customers surveyed since 2006 would recommend STRITE design + remodel to others, compared to a national average of 60%.
Q: What are the types of projects for which STRITE is ideally suited?
Professional remodeling companies come in different shapes and sizes, from one guy in a truck to the full-service, design-remodel business like STRITE that has a staff of designers, project managers, and others who ensure that every detail of your project is completed to your standards, on budget, and on time. STRITE is the most ideal choice for people looking for the following remodel experience:
– Value added design that not only enhances the esthetics of a home, but improves its livability and functionality.
– A single point of contact in day-to-day management of the construction process, and accountability for its successful completion on-budget.
– Cost savings through the experience to “expect the unexpected,” the skill to execute your vision, and the ability to pass volume savings along to you.
Q: What are the major stages in a remodel project?
For nearly 40 years, the STRITE remodel process has been refined by hundreds of experts: our clients. While good communication is always critical to delivering what you’re looking for, there are steps to getting there that are as critical to the STRITE experience as the people we employ.
While you can review a detailed schematic of the STRITE process by clicking here, the major stages of a remodel project are summarized below.
Input — We ask questions about your expectations and lifestyle, and then we listening. Together, we create a list of your project objectives and prioritize them room-by-room.
Design Agreement — We create an outline of your objectives and an agreed upon budget range.
Conceptual Design — Our design team creates what will be the basis of the preliminary plan for your project.
Final Selections — We provide a shopping list with budgeted allowances for your remodel finishes. Time to hit the showrooms!
Description of Work — We schedule a “trades party” for team members at the project site, and use their input as the basis for a comprehensive “description of work” (DOW) that details every step of the construction process.
Pre-construction — We walk through the entire scope of work with you and discuss project details, such as the preparation of the construction site.
Construction — During construction, you’ll remain in close contact with your assigned Project Manager, who will provide you with frequent production schedule updates. As your project nears its end, you and your Project Manager will review the “punch list” of details that need to be addressed. Upon completion, STRITE will review the remodel experience with you and provide product information and warranties to add to your Project Binder for safe keeping.
Q: How long will my remodel take to complete?
The easiest answer to this question is that things take what they take — and not all remodel projects are created equal. There are, however, a couple of key factors to getting a project completed as quickly as possible. The first is organization…which in turn is a function of experience. Having done thousands of remodel projects over nearly 40 years, we know how the necessary sequence of tasks meshes, and how to condense this sequence down to a schedule that lets us hit the ground running, while avoiding the inefficiencies and errors that occur when people are trying to work on top of one another. There is, however, another factor that ultimately trumps experience when it comes to the timely completion of a remodel project: the willingness of our trade partners to make our priorities theirs. For more insight into this frequently asked question, read our blog, “How Long is it Going To Take?”.
Q: What is a DOW?
Try to imagine filming a blockbuster movie without the benefit of a script, and you have some idea of how integral a “description of work” (DOW) is to the successful completion of a remodel project. In essence, the function of the DOW is to take everything we’ve learned from our clients in discussing their project goals, everything our trades partners have told us about those aspects of the project they will contribute to, and all the costs and lead times for materials, appliances, fixtures, and finishes involved in the final outcome, and then compile this information into a “narrative” of how the remodel will proceed from beginning to end. For our clients, the DOW serves as a way of confirming that their expectations will be met, while giving them a way to gauge the project process. The DOW also provides the broader context for scheduling the work of our trades partners and for the creation of the project calendars we provide our clients. To better understand the role that the DOW plays in the overall remodel process, click here for an overview.
Q: What is STRITE’s warranty policy?
Another, and more relevant, way of posing this question is to ask, “Does STRITE stand behind its work?” The immediate answer is a resounding, “Yes!” — but the heart of this question gets down to the difference between “explicit” and “implicit.” Explicitly, all STRITE remodel agreements include a one year labor warranty, with materials and products subject to the warranties of their respective manufacturers and suppliers. Having said this, however, we should add that in nearly four decades of doing business, warranties have never been an issue for our company. The reason for this is not simply that we stand behind the quality of our work, but more importantly because we believe that, “once a STRITE customer, always a STRITE customer.” To better appreciate the “implicit” side of our warranty policy, read our blog post on the subject.
Q: Why does experience matter?
For most of us, it goes without saying that the more experience we have with doing something, the better we get at doing it. While this may be true for individuals, however, it isn’t necessarily the case with organizations — especially in an industry where every job is a “custom build.” Where the rubber meets the road is in how an organization builds “repeatability” into its processes — and how it in turn inculcates those processes (think “standard operating procedures,” if you will) in its staff and associates. For STRITE, this “repeatability” resides in our project database — a rich information source for how we approached a project, the costs associated with it, the challenges that arose, and most important, how we dealt with those challenges. For more insight into how repeatability benefits our customers, read our blog post “Why Experience Matters.”
Q: What does integrity mean in our business?
This is a frequently asked question that we can answer in six words: keeping our end of the agreement — which is, of course, another way of saying, “doing the things we said we were going to do.” As an integral part of the STRITE culture, this value goes beyond the notion of contractual obligation. Sure, our contracts require us to produce what we’ve agreed to on paper, but our interpretation of “integrity” is more about truly having the best interests of our customers in mind throughout a project and beyond.
Q: What does “value” mean?
For us, the concept of value starts with how we see our business, which is to provide a high quality service and product. If you think about a “higher calling” associated with any business, ours is to fulfill a community need — and after all, improving people’s homes is certainly an investment in the quality of a community. Focusing on this aspect of our business model, rather than on simply making money, forms the basis of how we look at value. To this, we add integrity (doing what we do honestly and professionally), talent, and experience. For more about how we define value, read our companion blog.
Q: What does it mean when we say we know our numbers?
“Knowing our numbers” is more than just a point of professional pride at STRITE — it is part of the value we bring to our clients when we undertake a remodel project. Knowing what things cost, based on years of experience with a wide variety of remodel situations, comes from tracking every cost for every project we’ve ever completed. This knowledge benefits our clients in two very tangible ways: it makes for an accurate estimate at the outset of a job (which translates into a fixed-price contract), and it ensures the absence of “change orders” through the life of the project. For a better understanding of what this means to our clients, read our blog, “Knowing Our Numbers.”
Q: How does Strite choose its subcontractors?
One of the advantages of having been in the business we are in for nearly four decades is that we’ve developed some very strong trade relationships. Not only do we work with trades people who are certified in their disciplines, but we also carefully screen them on their reliability, performance, and integrity. Because we guard our trades partners’ interests with the same zeal we show our clients, the trades community in our market places a similar value on working on our projects.
Q: What kind of relationship do we have with our local trades people?
Mutual respect, when it comes to our treatment of our trades partners as well as our clients, has been an indelible part of the STRITE culture for as long as we’ve been doing business. While this respect cuts both ways, there are other reasons that our trades partners tend to make our priorities their priorities — it’s good business. Our trades partners know that when they attend a “trades party” to preview an upcoming STRITE project, they are virtually assured of getting the job. They know that when they show up at a STRITE job site, it will be ready for them to get to work. Finally, they know that we pay when we say we’re going to pay, and that once they’ve met our qualification standards (which include being insured, bonded, and reliable), they can count on a consistent stream of jobs. All of these things contribute to the profitability of our trades partners, and benefit our clients by ensuring that the folks who work with us fit our schedules into theirs, rather than the other way around. For more on this subject, read our blog, “Don’t Call Them ‘Subs’!”.
Q: What is a “trades party?”
A “trades party” is an important step in the process of creating a description of work (DOW) and a fixed price agreement for our remodel projects. At a trades party we invite our construction partners to the job site (i.e., your home) to review the project with our design and production staff and provide their input. By giving them the opportunity to share their expertise and experience at the onset of a remodel we not only identify potential challenges, but also potential savings. We also ensure that they fully share in the knowledge we have of the project plan, and can safely and profitably fulfill their part in its completion on time, within budget, and to the expectations of the homeowner.
For more information, read our blog post, Party Time!
Q: How do we treat our clients?
For STRITE, customer relations is as necessary a cost of doing business as meeting our payroll. One of the legacies of our company’s founder, Jim Strite, was to make customer care not simply a rigorous discipline, but the subject of on going study. Rather than handing out reading assignments on construction techniques, which our project managers were already inclined to learn as a matter of perfecting their craft, the STRITE team was asked to study books like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” As a result, STRITE’s weekly production meetings typically focus as much on the emotional states of our remodel customers as they do on construction details. To better understand STRITE’s approach to client relations, read an interview on the subject with vice president Brad Milspaugh.
Q: How do we deal with mistakes?
Nobody is perfect — least of all builders. In any endeavor with as many details and complexities as a remodel, errors are bound to occur. Our goal is to minimize their frequency and impact through detailed planning and an in-depth knowledge of the construction process, and then take ownership of our mistakes if and when we make them. This, of course, begs the question of when something is a mistake versus an unforeseen situation that arises in the course of a project. Because STRITE routinely generates a “description of work” (DOW), we never try to hide behind a “change order” as a thinly disguised mistake — which is why we don’t use that term in our business. Between the DOW and our ongoing communications with our clients, there is never any doubt as to the difference between an outright error and a mere “complication.” The truth is, neither matters when it comes to our obligation to do the right thing, on time and within budget.
Q: What role does the owner play during the remodel process?
During your remodel project, your primary contact at STRITE will be your project manager. Open and timely communication throughout the project is one of the keys to our success as a remodeling company, so you will receive a construction schedule and updates on a nearly daily basis, a project communication board for two-way messaging, and weekly updates via email. At this point, your role as our client is to provide the valued feedback necessary to make sure that we are meeting your expectations.