Chris Gash

  Rob Carlisle, owner of Carlisle Classic Homes, in Seattle, found that he was often asked to come in and clean up after another company’s remodeling job had gone bad. He became interested in understanding how the process derailed. He discovered that most clients hadn’t done their homework. “Most don’t know there’s a website that many states have where they can put in a contractor’s name and see if there are complaints [against the contractor] or if they’re current on their taxes and licenses,” he says.

Carlisle decided to take the information he learned in what he calls “job autopsies” and create a buyer’s guide to educate clients, which in turn would help people see his company as the go-to remodeler.

The guide consists of: a “contractor selection sheet,” which shows people how to select a contractor; a list of URLs for online research; and tips for interviewing contractors. A second, separate, part of the guide contains promotional materials, including project photos, the company mission statement, and copies of the company’s business license and certificates.

Value Added

“When you come into a process like this and you’re the fourth person coming in, and you hear [the client] say, ‘I wish I had this sheet when I spoke with other contractors,’” Carlisle says, “you know you’ve added value, and that holds a lot of weight.”

The guide differentiates Carlisle from the competition. “[Clients] understand that we bring this same structure and education to the actual remodeling process.”

—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.