HOLY CRAP, that was a project. We started running into hiccups immediately on this current remodel project. The surprises never stopped, and we had to fight until the very end to get it right. We ran into many unforeseens, issues on our end, issues with the design, and issues completely unrelated to us. To say this project was a challenge is a massive understatement. At the end of the day, I learned a ton of valuable lessons, the customers were absolutely amazing, and we delivered a beautiful space. I wouldn’t say I would do it all over again, but it was certainly a job that made me a more well-rounded contractor.
The project scope nearly doubled from a financial perspective as well as a work/labor perspective. The most challenging aspect of this project was that most of the issues did not rear their ugly heads simultaneously. As we were completing one aspect of the project, ready to move on, we would have to backtrack and address more of what we already did or what was already done. This really hindered progress and compromised morale. For example, I ordered windows/doors three different times during this project. In hindsight, it should have been four times, because I would have replaced all of the kitchen windows had I known we would have been ordering/replacing more down the road.
I can recall there being multiple situations on this project where I thought to myself, “This is literally never going to end.” I had to find areas where we could terminate our work, while still protecting what we were doing, and ensuring that our customers would be safe and healthy. We dealt with water issues, health concerns, structural deficiencies, safety issues, and design struggles. It was truly relentless. I am not absolving myself or my team of creating issues either. We added roughly a week or two to the project due to screwing up the floor stain color. An honest mistake, for which our sub corrected, but was disheartening to everyone at that stage of the game.
Kuiken Brothers Residential & Commercial Building Materials (NJ & NY)
Andersen Windows & Doors
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This project taught me how important it is to ensure everyone’s values align before a project commences. Who is a good fit with regard to the overall project and the team? Who will remain accountable when there are mistakes and shortcomings? Everyone screws up. I screw up every single day, but the truth lies in how you address those mistakes? Do you pass the buck and make excuses, or show up and fix the mistakes rather than cover them with band-aids? I can confidently say my team fixed any and all mistakes and delivered an uncompromising product to our customers. This is very difficult to do on a project that has gone sideways, but with the support and backing of our customers, we leapt over the hurdles and finally made it to the finish line. This was truly a team effort!
Our customers signed up for our process and our product from day one. They trusted us to do right by them, they secured additional financing to cover the added scope, and they agreed to not take shortcuts. They did their job. I cannot imagine how difficult this must have been for them financially and emotionally. They moved out with their dog and children at the onslaught of the project, and then remained out as the project grew and the delays compounded. They were appreciative, understanding, gracious, and trustworthy. I could not ask for better customers. Even when we had to add time to the project due to our own hiccups, they were understanding and accepting. They even surprised Rachel and myself to a date night at our favorite restaurant at the end of the project.
I have always said that I would not have the business that I do without the customers, and this job truly reflects that. They gave us the opportunity to make all the wrongs right, they gave us the freedom to make the judgment calls we saw fit, and they trusted us with their money, home, and family. At the end of the day, this is what makes it all worth it. I still probably wouldn’t do it again though, ha ha ha!