Estimating, Design and Construction Process Overview for Jim Hicks Home Improvement

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Excerpt: Oftentimes I am asked, “What is your process for Estimating, Design and Contruction?” So I decided to outline for you (because I only want to be a blessing…)   I.       House Call and Free Estimate I meet with the owner at their property and listen to their vision for the project, take measurements and pictures. I then develop a “conceptual budget” with a written scope of work to detail what I have priced (because the faintest ink beats the best memory). II.     Budget Presentation Once the owner receives the estimate, they then have a good idea as to what the project is going to cost with the…

Estimating Siding in Carrollton, Windows in Norfolk, and Load Bearing Walls in Williamsburg

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Excerpt: Each week I go out to Joust Windmills! and by that I mean, meet with homeowners that have called and requested a free estimate for Home Improvements.  We are making a better world, one home at a time! Don Quixote by Picasso Hopefully, the homeowners I meet will see us as the best value for their hard earned money, select our firm to perform these services and in them we acquire a client, a raving fan, and a new friend! Sometimes my efforts are rewarded, sometimes I refer them to another firm that can serve them better, sometimes I…

Have You Ever Felt Frustrated Comparing Two Estimates?

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Excerpt: It’s difficult comparing estimates. I had to do it remotely once for my Grandmother in California for just a roofing project once and it drove me crazy, it was like comparing Apples & Oranges! I thought it’d be a piece of cake, after all I do this for a living, right? My experience was, knowing more about what I was talking about only made evaluating each contractor and their proposal even more confusing. I had a real eye opener: “this is what my clients are going through??” So, I feel your pain. As a contractor, the only time that I really have to…

Thoughts on Leadership

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Excerpt: Recently, I was very flattered to receive questions on leadership from a Cadet Commander of the local Civil Air Patrol for a speech he had to give. Below is my response: Dan, Thank you for your email, it was well received.  I will attempt to answer your two queries as best I can.  Question #1. You wrote: “The main question is to write about how executive level leaders lead by articulating a vision and directing a staff. How conveying your vision for the end goal is or is not important to your leadership style”. Several quotes come to mind: “To grasp and hold a vision, that is the…

The Ugly Truth That Contractors Know About Your Home

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Excerpt: It was 1999 when the reality that homeowners don’t look at their own homes was illustrated to me in a potential dispute with a client. The crew had just finished the roof on the small townhome and were sweeping off the loose shingle granules and cleaning up.  I had arrived to ensure the client was satisfied and to collect the final payment. “How do you like the way the new roof looks, ma’am?” I asked. “Well it looks real nice, but you guys messed up one piece.”  She replied. Surprised, I queried, “What piece is that?” as I walked backwards into the street to…

Client Questions: How do I Select a Roofing Contractor When I Have Hail Damage?

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Excerpt: A storm of hail this size can devastate a roof A friend recently wrote me a question about how to evaluate roofing contractors to determine who she should use to replace her hail damaged shingle roof:  Hey Jim, I have a question for you. Our house in Colorado Springs needs a new roof due to hail damage. I contacted three Roofers and got their estimates.Two work with USAA and the other with the manager of our house. He has the lowest estimate 6.000$. The other two are the same….around 11.000$. What do we have to look for when picking one of…

Success Profile for Jim Hicks in Hampton Roads Magazine

"I just want to see my smiling face on the cover of The Rolling Stone"

“I just want to see my smiling face on the cover of The Rolling Stone”  (click on image to enlarge)

Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling in Virginia Beach – Good, Fast, or Cheap: Choose 2

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Excerpt: When evaluating remodeling options, I am reminded that the graphic design industry feels the same way about their industry: I like to tell people this:  good, fast, or cheap – choose 2.  If it is good and cheap, it’s probably not going to be fast.  These contractors will have big back-logs of work.  They have a very economical product and a suitable quality of work, so everyone wants them to come to their house next.  These contractors will get things done the most economical way possible at the highest quality that is warranted; however, this will be done in their way…

Some Contractor’s Just Can’t Say No

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Excerpt: Some Contractors Just Can’t Say No – A Commentary by Jim Hicks It’s amazing to me how contractors are diversifying their products and services that they offer to their clients in this down economy. I was just talking to a contractor that supplies and installs overhead garage doors. During our short conversation he told me that lately they were installing a lot of granite countertops and commercial lighting. So I asked him what experience he had in doing these kinds of things. He said “None, it is a learn-as-you-go situation but I just can’t tell anybody no when they ask me…