The Importance of Pulling Permits on Remodeling Jobs This year I received the dreaded phone call – from a whole house remodel customer from a job just completed a year ago. The homeowner called at 7 a.m. and said, “Channels 2 and 7 are in my front yard, along with four fire trucks and a host of city officials from Beavercreek and the State of Ohio!” This is not the phone call you want at any time! I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee yet. I told them I would be right over. Upon arrival, I found the whole city block roped off and all of the neighbors gathered down the street. What a sight! They let me beyond the roping, and I proceeded to the command post where the homeowners were. After talking to them, I found out they had smelled gas and were instructed to leave the residence. They were told that the house was “ready to blow.”
They were questioned by officials from the State of Ohio about any work that had been performed at the house. They told them they had someone out to get the well turned on and tested, which meant methane gas. But the EPA thought it was natural gas. Well, you know who replaced all the gas lines, water lines, etc., during the remodel, don’t you? Yours truly. To make a long story short, this process went on for three days. By that evening, they did let the neighbors go back to their homes after deciding the gas was not flammable. The homeowners left their newly remodeled home, though, because of the smell. I was there with them through the entire process and had talked to all of my inspectors who were involved on the project (and the ones that were not). In short, everything I did was legit, and it all came back to the well. In talking with the inspectors, EPA and the state, they were looking for someone to blame. The moral of the story is that no matter how small or large the project, if what you are doing requires a permit make sure you get one and follow up on the paperwork! It will protect you and your business. Final note: Everything that we were involved with was okay. But remember on those small jobs that you don’t want to bother getting an inspection on, don’t listen to that voice that says, “Aw, no one will know!” – Cover yourself and your company! Sincerely, John A. Puslat Owner,Window & Door Designs LLC President, Miami Valley NARI
Obamacare Deadlines Loom – ACT NOW! Contributed by Dunlevey, Mahan & Furry
Early Renewal Strategy Employers may wish to renew their existing health insurance policies by the end of the year to avoid higher premiums. One of the most important provisions impacting small employers (with less than 50 employees) will take effect for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014 – known as the community rating restrictions. Currently, insurance companies look at a number of factors when developing premiums. As a result, younger healthier groups pay less than older sicker groups. For plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, insurance carriers can no longer look at those factors when setting rates. Thus, most small employers will see larger premium increases, while a few small employers with older workforces may actually see rates go down. Because of the new rules, it makes sense to look at an early renewal strategy immediately.You need to contact your insurance broker today to see if it makes sense to renew your health plan by the end of the year to avoid the community rating for a year. The following link to a USA Today article dated November 3 talks about early renewal strategies – http://www. usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/03/small-
Lens Masters I forgot my phone in the car last evening and reflexively reached for it all night during the concert I was attending – updates to check, work to do, and above all, bad photos and videos to take. Which is silly, of course, because hundreds of other people, tiny cameras hoisted and glowing over their heads, were taking the very same bad photos and videos I would have taken. We are all photographers, or at least photo-takers, these days. For remodelers, the development is helpful: It’s easier than ever to document projects before, during and after construction. But does amateur photography come with a risk to remodelers? I asked a couple of experts yesterday. Said one: “If you are selling based on quality and design, great photography is a must. If you are selling on price, a professional photographer is helpful but not always as important. Look at your competition. Make sure your
business-early-renewal-affordable-care-act/3360851/ Marketplace Notices for New Hires The government has released model notices which employers can use to notify employees about the new health care exchanges or marketplaces. The initial mandatory notices were to be issued by employers by October 1, 2013. In addition, almost all employers are required to distribute such notices to new employees within 14 days of hire. The following article talks about the notice requirements: http://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/ what-do-employers-need-know-about-acamarketplace-notices The notices have to be distributed to all employees – even those who are not eligible for your health plan (part-time employees). Here is a link to the government’s notices: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faqnoticeofcoverageoptions.html There are no penalties for failing to distribute the notices currently. However, this is not a reason to ignore the rule. photos are at least as good as theirs. ‘Before’ photos can and should be not great, ‘during’ photos should be competent, ‘after’ photos must sing.” Said another: “I have to agree that fewer remodelers are hiring pro photographers. However I’ve seen costs charged by amateur photographers close to professionals fees, and the quality is simply awful. So I do think remodelers are getting what they pay for – and that’s sometimes low prices, low quality.” The second expert, a professional photographer, added that his costs would approximate $700 for a typical kitchen plus adjacent room, including processing fee and assistant’s fee. As with professional remodeling, he added, buyers are resistant – especially lately. “Most clients do not understand the process of professional photography. The real problem is for people to see what it takes to create the perfect image, which has nothing to do with the simple point-and-shoot approach everyone thinks.”
Join Us for the December Meeting Topic: Focusing on the Future When: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 Time: 7:30 a.m. Registration 9:00 a.m. Breakfast and Discussion Cost: $10.00 NARI Certified Members $20.00 NARI Members $30.00 Non-Members Join us on for a discussion and exchange on trends and best practices in the remodeling industry specific to the Greater Dayton area. The remodeling industry and NARI member companies have undergone significant changes lately and face continuing challenges as a result of the recession. “Focusing on the Future” is a theme throughout NARI, and this discussion will help identify the changing business needs and demands of owners and managers. Learn how can you be better equipped and informed for future success.
CotY Awards Celebration!
Mark your calendars for the Miami Valley NARI CotY Awards being held on Thursday, January 30th at Walnut Grove Country Club (5050 Linden Avenue, Dayton, OH 45432). We will be celebrating all Miami Valley NARI local CotY winners as well as presenting the Skip Lowe Award, Remodeler of the Year and Supplier of the Year Awards. Heavy appetizers and drinks will be served. More information to come!
October Meeting Recap The October Membership Meeting was held at the Miami Valley NARI offices on October 22nd. The topic of the morning was “Mandatory Inclusions for Proposals and Bid Submissions,” presented by Michael Sandner, an attorney with Pickrel, Schaeffer and Ebeling. Michael provided in detail those specific provisions of the Home Construction Service Act (HCCSA) that have an impact on the documentation you provide to your owner – prior to, during and after construction. If you’re a remodeler with a contract that exceeds $25,000 entered into anytime after August 31, 2012, you need to know how to comply with the Act and avoid the penalties for non-compliance which include: l Possible pursuit by Ohio’s Attorney General l Voiding of your contract l Recovery of economic and non-economic damages l Possible award of attorney’s fees to the plaintiff
Welcome New Member Miami Valley NARI is excited to welcome new member, Bud Polley’s Floor Center. Bud Polley’s has been serving the Miami Valley’s flooring needs since 1982, and welcomes members and consumers to their beautiful showroom at anytime. Offering quality products in both the residential and commercial areas, at Bud Polley’s you can find hardwood, ceramic, porcelain or stone for floors, walls or counters; Schluter waterproof tile showers and steam rooms; quality laminate flooring; luxury vinyl tile, sheet vinyl and linoleum; cork and bamboo; carpeting, area rugs; custom window treatments including shutters; and floor maintenance products including host carpet cleaning. Besides being a NARI member, Bud Polley’s is a member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ Rating and has received the Readers Choice Award from the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call. All NARI members are encouraged to contact Tom Hohenstein, Flooring Design Consultant with 30 years of flooring experience at (937) 6676064, or firstname.lastname@example.org. They will share interior design service, connect you to a professional sales staff with years of product experience and installation knowledge, and will provide you with any measurement, estimate and installation support. Their showroom is at 955 West Main Street in Tipp City, and they are open Monday thru Saturday. You can also connect via www.budpolley.com or on LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest.
National Member Discount: EagleView Technologies EagleView Technologies, known for inventing the concept of 3D aerial roof measurement reports, now offers wall measurement reports for siding and has put together a special offer for NARI members. Reports include a 3D diagram of the structure, total square footage of wall areas, measurements for windows and doors, N, S, E & W elevation diagrams and a summary page of all measurements. Benefits: 1. Professional presentation and customizable cover leaves a lasting impression on homeowners 2. Spend more time selling and less time measuring 3. Prepare estimates before visiting the site 4. Color photographs from each direction assist with production planning 5. Measurements integrate into the EagleView Estimator for precise estimate development 6. Mobile apps allow you to stay productive on the go Call (866) 659-8439 and identify yourself as a NARI member to get started today.
Get Social In Remodeling Your Pitch to Consumers By Dave Thomas
It seems you can use social media for just about anything these days, especially when it means reaching out to consumers looking to spend money on remodeling their homes. With that in mind, while the weather may be cold and frightful for a sizable portion of the nation, spring is actually not too far around the corner. As many people are apt to do, spring is a good time to work around the house, getting it in shape for those outdoor summer parties and more. More and more home decorating, remodeling, and service providers are turning to social media these days in order to reach out to potential customers, finding it to be a good medium to start a conversation. According to a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project report, 82 percent of residents nationwide over the age of 18 turn to the Internet on a daily basis, with more than 50 percent of American adults older than 65 doing the same. Given those numbers, you would almost be foolish in 2013 not remodeling your approach to social media if it hasn’t been very stellar to date. Should you be looking to ramp up your social media outreach to consumers, there are ways to go about it, including: Proactive – First and foremost, be consistent •andBerelevant on your social media pages, be they Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more.You can’t take the approach of just showing up from time to time, you need a consistent presence that shows the consumers you are serious about what you do. Use social media to engage the consumer, helping them out with their questions and/or issues. Offer homeowners and renters looking to change the look of their residence both ideas and solutions, making you there go-to expert. Being proactive also allows you to hear the chatter
online regarding your company, something you should definitely be in-tune with;
Blogs Do Work – If you have a company blog dedicated to home fix-ups and remodeling, by all means use it. The blog is a great way for you to share your knowledge, promote some of the ideas other homeowners and renters have tried and worked, and even offer guest blog posts from other experts in the home remodeling industry. When the time comes for the consumer to want to do work on their residence, you already have in place a pool of ideas to make the job of remodeling that much easier, plus less costly to the individual; Pictures and videos – While •Pinterest has taken off, there are other means that you can also turn to in order to give those updating their residences imagery to chew on. Having home remodeling videos and/or virtual home remodeling tours on your website is a great way to share ideas with those looking to add an extra room onto their property, remodel a kitchen or bedroom, install an outdoor deck or patio, put in place the proper gutter styles, or throw a few fresh coats of paint on the interior or outside of the homes. When using such imagery, make sure it is appealing, not to mention leaving a call to action; a look around – The last thing you can •andTake should do is see what other home remodeling companies are doing with their social media and overall web presence. While you certainly do not want to copy their efforts, get an idea of what seems to work and not work for them. Incorporating an idea or two from others into your overall social approach can’t hurt. If 2014 is the year you hope your home remodeling business takes off, being a little more social about it is a good start.