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Get the Best Reviews!

Whenever we talk at home shows about how to hire the right contractor, we talk about the different review sites. We have been a member of Guild Quality for more than 5 years now and boy do they get it right! Guild Quality only surveys the the construction industry and they do a terrific job. We had the privilege of getting to know Gavin MacDonald of Guild Quality at the Livingspace Dealer Summit we attended in Nashville. He asked if he could interview me. Even with a face made for radio, I felt it would be a good thing to continue to spread the word! So, I thought I might include it here. Enjoy!

Nearly Famous!

Ryan and I got to be famous on Tuesday! Because we are Silver Sponsors for the Dearborn County Home Builders Association Home And Garden Show next weekend, they put us on air! Travis “Double T” gave us seven minutes of fame. He asked us questions about our company and what we would be exhibiting at the show. It was such a fun experience. At one time I was going to go to school to be a DJ, so getting to be in a real studio where they play great country music for the community was pretty surreal. Thank you Eagle Country 99.3 WSCH!!

Greater Cincinnati Remodeling Expo

Hey Cincinnati, this is your ticket out of the cold this weekend! Come and see us at the Greater Cincinnati Remodeling Expo! We will presenting on Saturday at 4:30pm and Sunday at Noon. We’d love to see you there!

Size Matters!

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Hey Cincinnati! We all know there are a ton of jokes when it comes to this phrase.  What difference does size make in remodeling?  Well, just like the picture illustrates, the size of a company has limiting factors upon the size and scope of the projects they can effectively undertake.  When you consider a contractor for your next project, you may want to ask a few questions about the size of the company and consider how that overlays with the requirements of your project.   We have noticed as we have grown, that we are no longer a fit for handyman type work, just as we know we are not big enough to build a shopping center either.  Our sweet spot is project based work (bathrooms, kitchens, decks, additions, sunrooms, garages, whole home renovations ect).  You should know that this also affects the price at the bottom of your quote.   Small companies who operate out of their home have a different cost profile than companies that need to support an office, a fleet of vehicles, and company benefits.  This also has some bearing should something unexpected happen.  A larger company may have the resources to continue on with your project should someone get hurt or ill.  Every year, we get at least a few calls from  homeowners  that go on to explain that the contractor who began the work has a terrible illness, or is dealing with one in the family and cannot finish the work. 

 We try to take the “Goldilocks ” approach.  We are not too big or too small.  Hopefully we are just right for you!

Bid compliance. You’re the expert!?

Welcome back Cincinnati! The next topic in our series,  bid compliance.  There are a number of consumer publications out there that protect us when we go to purchase a new car, or a vacuum sweeper.  What about home remodeling?   Here is the scenario.  You’re working toward your due diligence.  You’ve interviewed and collected quotes for your upcoming bathroom project and you want to know why there are differences in the price.  Enter bid compliance.  Your mission is to now try to figure out if everyone bid the exact same project you described, what is included, and often more important, excluded.  Over the years, we have seen many people turn to a spreadsheet (I just heard a faint roar of applause from all the Excel users out there!).  That’s a great way to get clarity.  This exercise often reveals a lot of questions and that’s what we encourage.  Ask, A LOT of questions!  It’s nearly impossible to have too much communication on a remodeling project.  Anybody out there ever have a misunderstanding with your spouse?  You’re making a big decision with the help of a stranger!  The communication and prep before the dust ever starts to fly is the single best way to ensure a terrific finished project and is the #1 difference between enjoying your project and surviving it.  If you don’t feel comfortable asking question of your contractor, or the answers don’t fill in the cells of your spreadsheet, look elsewhere!

A big thank you!

Hey everyone!  Thanks so much to those of you who visited us at the Sharonville Remodeling Expo this weekend despite the weather!  Also, thanks to those people who work hard to make it such a great show.   We think that this weekend was our best show ever, and we still have another weekend to go!

Employees Vs Subcontractors

Welcome back friends for a 3rd installment!  Let’s talk about something that makes a HUGE difference for YOU, the consumer, when considering which contracting company to hire.  When you get a salesman to visit your home for a quote, ask them if their work is performed by their own employees or subcontractors.   Now here is where your poker face pays off.  Don’t except the first answer they give you.  We compete with many people that say they have their own “team” or their own 1099 employees.  Unfortunately, there is no such thing.  Just ask the IRS!  If you are employed by a company, you’ll remember that paperwork you need to fill out for your tax filing (dependents, married vs single, I-9, ect).  A person who receives a 1099 is a subcontractor.  Take a look at the highlights on the photo above. 

We just want to clarify.  There are a lot of companies out there who are very successful at utilizing the subcontractor business model.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this model.  Just make certain that you choose what is right for your family, and you know what you’re getting and who it’s going to be performed by.  We’ve heard many stories about the topic and we would be happy to share over a cup of coffee.

We choose to do things a bit differently.  Why?  Years ago we saw the guy at the bottom getting paid a lousy flat rate to do work that is hard on the body.  We don’t think it’s fair.  In some cases the guy at the top makes all the money and the guy at the bottom gets squeezed and can’t afford to replace equipment or give his family a stable income.  We pay our crew an hourly rate (with benefits) so they are paid to care about you and your family.  This also means they are getting paid if something takes a bit more time to get it right.  How does that affect the price?  We work within the price quoted (assuming nothing is discovered or changed) for as long as it takes to get the project done, our crew make their same hourly rate.  Subcontractors on the other hand, are often motivated to get things done more quickly as their compensation is tied to a flat rate. 

It’s just who we are.

It’s what’s in the middle that counts!

!  Installment #2

Remodeling is funny thing.  It’s not like purchasing most other things.  We are so accustomed to getting online, finding which widget we want to buy, and then finding the lowest price on that widget.  We click a few times and it gets set on our porch in a brown box waiting to greet us, almost like a surprise after a hard day’s work. 

That is a wonderful way to buy items where the only variable are price, vendor, and whether or not you get free shipping.  NOT a good way to go about hiring a contractor!

We’ve talked to many people over the years and the assumption is that if it has Remodeling Project  A at the top of the quote, and a number that looks good at the bottom, everything in the middle is the same.  We are sorry to say, that’s just not the case!

Purchasing remodeling is more like going to a sandwich shop.  If the top slice of bread is the project, and the bottom slice of bread is the price, isn’t what’s in the middle make all the difference?  You need your local sandwich artist to really listen and know if you want that bread toasted, are we talking bologna here or the good stuff?  Is that avocado extra?   We have to stop, because it’s too early for lunch! 

You get the point.  In this particular installment, we are talking about quality of products.  You’ve worked hard and are spending good money on this project.  Shouldn’t you get the good stuff?  We spec out higher grades of paint to allow for a great finish, lower odors, a cleanable finish, and mildew resistance.  Our shower systems carry a 20 year warranty.  Our sunrooms are constructed of fiberglass, vinyl and high end glass just to name a few….and we haven’t even talked about service yet.  The next time your collecting quotes for a project your family has been dreaming about make sure to ask a lot of questions about what’s in the middle, or you may get served something you just won’t eat.

Will I see the owner??

biehl brothers contracting owners

Many people who are considering a home renovation will often interview several contractors and get several quotes.   If you’re lucky, you’ll interview several people that impress you and you would feel comfortable leaving your home to.  That can really make for a difficult decision. 

We are here to help!  We are going to make several posts on this topic.  Here’s numero uno:

Ask your contractor, “will I see the owner?”.  Now there are owner operators out there, and of course for them, the owner is on every job.  Perhaps that’s a good fit for you.  If your looking at a larger organization, that answer may change.  Part of our culture here at Biehl Brothers is that every week (typically Wednesday) is owner job check day. 

We feel strongly about checking on your project every week.  Why you ask?  Well, that’s a two part answer.  We want to make certain you as the client are happy and informed, and we were blessed to be able to hire a team of folks we like spending time with.  We like to make sure they are happy too!

It’s just who we are.

Our newest product!

Over the years exhibiting in Cincinnati’s home shows we’ve noticed that many people were seeking an addition to their home with as many windows as possible.  It’s not surprising really that many of us spend our days in a box and are craving sunlight!  The type of room really isn’t possible using traditional construction practices, and we didn’t believe in the systems we’ve seen represented locally.

So about a year ago, we set out to find an alternative.  We interviewed several vendors and believe we found the best possible product to bring to the Cincinnati market.  We are proud to announce that we are the exclusive dealer in the Greater Cincinnati area for Livingspace Sunrooms!   Just imagine yourself in one of these beautiful customized spaces feeling the sun while curled up reading a book or playing with the kids, all with no bugs!  The best part is that we can configure your room to look just like your existing home’s exterior (brick, siding, ect) or add windows from floor to ceiling.  Please take a moment to see the photos of our latest project, and we hope to talk to you soon!

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