Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. References from friends and family are usually a good way to go. Word of mouth is what keeps contractors busy. Always check references!
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Any general contractor would agree that much of their time is spent meeting with clients and preparing estimates. Most contractors, including myself offer free estimates. We do not mind preparing these estimates but get frustrated when the proposal is submitted and we do not receive a response even when a follow up call is made. A general contractor wears many hats and is usually quite busy. Please realize that much time that is uncompensated for goes into meeting with a client, answering questions, offering advice and preparing a proposal.
If a client decides not to go ahead with the project or receives multiple quotes and chooses another contractor please have the courtesy to call and let us know what decisions you have made. It gives us the opportunity to move on to other clients and projects and saves us any further time we might take to follow up with our proposal.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. We specialize in custom and fine home building and are also willing to take on projects for clients working on a budget.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I am most satisfied the last day of a project knowing I am leaving something behind I can be proud of. Whether it's a new home or a rebuilt chimney I smile when I drive past a project that I had worked on. It is very fulfilling and keeps me motivated.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. How did you come about your occupation? I am a third generation contractor and have worked on job sites since I was 10 years old helping my dad. Everything I know I have learned through experience and guidance.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I am a third generation contractor. I grew up as a young boy helping my father on job sites. As I became a young man I realized how much experience I had gained and that I enjoyed following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather. Since I have been dedicated to providing the same quality work I learned and always continuing to learn about new products and building techniques to provide my clients with the best options and final outcome to be proud of.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. A new law is soon to be passed that any contractor in MA with a C.S.L. must take a certain number hours a year of continuing education to keep up with new products and building methods. This is similiar to what other professionals must do to retain their licensing.
Personally I am constantly reading woodworking and building magazines, reading newsletters and blogs online, attending seminars on thing such as photo voltaics and new technology available for homes and other structures and always researching projects I work on. I believe the smart person is the one who knows when to ask a question and also knows where and how to obtain information when needed. There are many different certificates available for specialized services and to stay competitive it is important to obtain as many of these as possible. Its also fun to learn new things that interest you and being innovative is something that can make or break a business. It is nice to offer unique service(s) that other contractors do not.
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. Technology has become more incorporated in the building process. From new tools and products, to "smart home" technology a contractor must be able to keep up with these advances. Photo voltaics is another big thing that will become much more common. Look forward towards seeing the cost of solar powered systems drop as well as their efficiency increase over the coming years.
Many states including MA offer homeowners rebates, incentives and programs to make it much more affordable to install such a system. This is an investment that will not only pay for itself over time and can even make you money but also is a great way to help end our countries dependence on oil and help the environment.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Get a job as a contractor's helper. it shouldn't be difficult to find such a job but the trick is finding possibly a smaller outfit where you will have the opportunity to really learn the trade. Try to find a boss that is patient and willing to take the time to teach you how to do the work and not stick you with doing menial tasks. Many larger outfits do not want there employees becoming their future competitors. Realize this while on your job search. Possibly an older contractor who has plenty of experience and is headed towards retirement. They will most likely be much more willing to spend the time needed to teach you the trade then just ordering you around and trying to beat deadlines. You will be much happier waking up to go to work every morning as well as learning the trade. Remember, money is always a concern but it would be smarter to find someone such as this to work for and accept a lower pay than taking the extra few dollars an hour a larger outfit might offer. You are doing this to learn so that one day you will be your own boss.
On the other hand many people do not want to run their own business and deal with all the responsibility that comes along with it. In this case you may be better off obtaining a long term position with a larger outfit and be loyal to your employer. If you are willing to work hard and learn you may be surprised at the lengths a boss may go to make sure you are happy in your position. Good workers can be hard to find.