Alphabet Soup

How many of you shop for a doctor by looking in the phone book or classified ads for "free estimates" or try to get three bids from the EMTs who come to your car wreck with an ambulance?

"I gotta a guy named 'Fast Louie' who can do your tax return cheap. He's not a CPA but he says he done good in 9th grade math." Scary idea, right? There is a saying that goes: "The people who take the lowest bid are usually the ones who can least afford it."

The public is starting to see that choosing a remodeler with credentials is better than looking at the graffiti on the lumberyard fence. So how is this problem solved?

The Smiths and Joneses are cramming a lot of living into their days so any reasonable help in making a sensible decision is welcome. Our clients are looking for qualifications, but can sometimes translate into anything better than graffiti on the lumberyard fence. So how is this problem solved?

Designations are the Answer!

Clients go to MDs when they hurt and CPAs when they hurt (in the wallet), so why not go to remodelers with the alphabet soup after their names. Names such as CGR, CAPS, CR, AIA, CKBR, and more that signify that the holder has successfully completed a course of study related to their chosen field.

Why is it so tough for the guardian media and pundits to figure out? I would love to hear one of the exposés admitting that the poor homeowner that got the dumpy job or got scammed had in fact, chosen out of their three bids, one of those "free estimates" guys.

Are there some bad designation holders? Sure, but the bad apples are few and far between. We just came back from the Remodeling Show and there were a lot of people wearing their "soup" around, plus the classes were jammed with folks working on their designations — they're the best.

If you don't have a designation or aren't working on getting one, you'd better get some good dust goggles and a respirator because in a couple of years, you're going to need them. It's dusty at the back of the pack.

The major designations are at critical mass which makes for an opportune time to start concentrating on an effective national advertising campaign to use our "soup" as a tag of assurance.

Publicize Your 'Soup'

Make your favorite publication use your "soup" every time they list your name. Qualified Remodeler is leading the way in recognition of remodelers' efforts to earn designations such as CGR, CAPS, CR, CKD and the like. Look at the names of the authors or the people who write in with suggestions; make sure they include the "soup."

The Master Design Awards that QR presented last week and the good ones that didn't win were largely submitted by companies whose principals are "soupy."

Be a Professional

What difference does the Alphabet Soup make? Is it some kind of guarantee of quality or of low price? Most likely the price will be a little higher, but so will be the quality and the service, too. No, there's no guarantee. The likelihood is that a much more professional, knowledgeable and dependable company or individual will be wearing the "soup."

The prescribed courses of study required to obtain the various designations are part of what makes the recipe a good one. There is a sense of both pride and accomplishment that goes with earning a designation even though everyone with one knows that there is no guarantee of business. Besides, this kind of "soup" looks good on your tie!

M M "Mike" Weiss has been a full-service remodeler for over 25 years. As an instructor for the CGR and CAPs programs, he spends many weeks each year on the road teaching other remodelers. He is also a past chairman of the Remodelors Council of the NAHB.