By Jim Cory. Hank Jaworowski (Big 50 1999) moonlights. Not building porches or repairing roofs, but teaching. Call it Remodeling 101.
The lesson he tries to get through to his students -- who are mostly homeowners about to undertake a remodeling project -- is basically the same message he tries to convey to prospects in his sales meetings, Jaworowski says. It boils down to "telling people exactly what they need to know to make an educated decision," he says.
Jaworowski, president of Contemporary Home Remodeling, Smithtown, N.Y., teaches his course through the town's adult education program twice a year. The class lasts a month and meets once a week.
Class members outline projects, develop budgets, and gather ideas on design and materials. Next, Jaworowski leads them through the contractor selection process. He advises students to call 10 remodelers, looking for individuals who are well-qualified, with appropriate insurance. "Of the 10, maybe half will call back. And out of the five, [the student] might get three estimates."
In the final session, Jaworowski explains the contract, advising students on potential red flags and offering suggestions for inclusions. Clarity, he points out, is key. "Someone should be able to read your contract and know exactly what's going to happen," he tells them.
Jaworowski's 27 years in the remodeling business aren't his only teaching credentials. He holds a bachelor's degree in special education and elementary education and a masters degree in guidance counseling. He took up remodeling while still a teacher, to make extra money. Teaching brings with it a certain level of satisfaction. It also brings sales. Many of Jaworowski's clients started out as students in his class. "I tell them it costs a certain amount to do a job correctly. When a 70 mph storm comes along and that siding that was supposed to withstand 180 mph winds blows off, it was because the contractor didn't use enough fasteners. That's why you got such a good price."