Edwin Fotheringham

When you started your company, you likely had everybody from your parents or your spouse to your customers and past bosses chiming in about what you should do. Like Ben Braddock being told the secret word “Plastics!” in The Graduate, a lot of advice should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. However, when the advice is good, it’s really good!

Here are just a few nuggets of advice that some of your fellow remodelers have received throughout their careers:

  • Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.
  • My father told me that if you are going to do business in your hometown, you better never let the customer down. Seventeen years later, it is still a core focus of my business.
  • Raise your prices!
  • Don’t quit your day job.
  • Get a trade; it will always serve you well. (Thanks Dad!)
  • Join Remodelers Advantage.
  • “Don’t give your services away; never undersell yourself,” and “The client is always right.” By its very nature, design is a highly visual medium. Few home­owners are skilled at reading plans and often make decisions based on incorrect visual assumptions. Most homeowners recognize the mistake once built and either pay to correct it or live decidedly unhappy with the mistake.
  • Dream big!
  • Specialize in one area of work.

All these pearls of wisdom could apply to anyone reading this. My own father once gave me a valuable piece of advice: “Hire people smarter than you.” I did. And it worked out exceptionally well. Luckily, it was a low bar to begin with! 
Mark A. Newman, senior editor, REMODELING.