The Little Things

After speaking to Rob Heselbarth, Qualified Remodeler’s editorial director, about refinancing his home (see his “Editorial Director’s Note,” June issue, page 6), I called my lender about refinancing, too. Based on Rob’s experience, I knew the numbers wouldn’t match what my loan documents say, but I forged ahead. My lender pulled some preliminary numbers and comps while we were on the phone and essentially told me I will live in my two-bedroom Chicago condo for the rest of my life. Rob referred to the numbers he heard as “shocking”; I felt more like I’d been slugged in the gut.

However, this horrifying news was the motivation I finally needed to get some work done to make my condo 100 percent comfortable for me. I’ve lived in it for five years and have struggled with my master closet since day one. (For all the details, see my recent blog post: There were other things I disliked and repairs that just needed to be done. Plus, I had always wanted a backsplash to brighten my kitchen’s dark finishes.

I hired Master Handymen, Chicago, without bidding the job out. When I was part of my building’s board, I hired them several times to address issues around the building, including in my own unit. I liked how conscientious the team had been and thought the company’s pricing was affordable. It took only three and a half days for them to complete a laundry list of tasks in my unit, including expanding the closet door opening from 4 to 6 feet and installing a glass tile backsplash. I was delighted by the beautiful workmanship.

Despite my happiness, it actually is the little things they did that will keep me calling Master Handymen for the (many) years I will live in my condo. For example, I had turned the air conditioning down while they were working because, despite my energy consciousness, I wanted the crew to be comfortable. The first couple days they used a tool in my bedroom that exhausted outdoors, so a window was open. After they left my home, I realized they had closed the vents leading into my bedroom so I wasn’t unnecessarily cooling the outdoors.

Secondly, the crew asked how I wanted the floor moulding to look after the wall was removed. I told them to match it to the rest of the room and didn’t think about it again until after the team was gone and I was organizing my new closet. I happily noticed the moulding terminates in a new and beautiful way on both sides of the doorway.

Lastly, I kept my pets trapped with me in my second bedroom/home office during the job. On the fourth day, my cat Nestle was getting impatient and was scratching at the door. I asked the workers whether they’d be OK if I let Nestle out. They didn’t seem to mind at all as Nestle sprawled out on the floor and seemingly supervised their work. They even gave him a pat or two.

The work done in my home probably won’t win a design award, but I shared the customer service experience because it will stay with me. In this issue, we highlight several examples of how it’s often the little things you do that keep your clients coming back, including in the “Remodeler Survey Series,” page 32, and “Business Solutions,” page 28. Share the little things you do to keep your clientele satisfied by emailing me, and your ideas may be included in an upcoming issue.