It's why men will do seemingly anything to avoid a Saturday of hitting the malls with the wife or girlfriend. And it's why women would just as soon let them stay home.
OK, that's a generalization, but there's some truth to those stereotypes. "Women shop differently than men," says Lynne Graves Stephenson, co-owner of HUB Design/Build in Villanova, Pa. "It's been anthropologically proven."
More specifically, says Stephenson, women are generally more thorough, while men are more likely to be happy with the first thing they find that they like.
Though many remodeling clients are male-female pairs, women typically take the lead when it comes to choosing light fixtures and faucets. Stephenson, who is the primary salesperson at the company she owns with her husband, says that while she usually starts the product selection process with both halves of a married couple, it doesn't stay that way for long. "The husband frequently drops out of the picture pretty early," she says.
And yet, at the majority of remodeling companies, the person who ushers clients through the production selection process is male.
Bill Shaw is another remodeler who sees the problems these differences between men and women can cause. The owner of Wm. Shaw & Associates, Houston, used to have his production manager, a man, accompany clients to local showrooms to pick out items like bathroom tile or kitchen fixtures. When that began to take up too much of the production manager's time, Shaw thought he'd shake things up a bit; he specifically looked for a woman to fill the newly created position of product selection coordinator.
Shaw hired Roz Evans to usher clients through the selection process, from establishing product allowances to going to the showroom and making final choices. "I knew I needed a woman to deal with women," Shaw says. In the two years-plus that Evans has been with the company, her duties have expanded greatly.
Evans emphatically agrees with her employer. "I feel the client's needs [better than a man could] because I'm also a woman," she says.