Many remodelers find that women, especially those in sales positions, more quickly and effectively establish a firm level of trust with clients. Some male employees still question women's place in physically demanding field positions. Clients, however, have been overwhelmingly positive — a sign that it may be time for remodelers to rethink the face they present to consumers.

What were the clients' reactions to working with women? “Our customers tend to believe our female employees more readily than they do our male employees.”
Henry Friloux, Norco Construction Co., Norco, La.

“Very positive. Times have changed and so have potential clients. For a company to be successful, it must change as the industry dictates.”
Les Morton, Morton Construction Group, Augusta, Ga.

“Clients often expect a man or ask to talk to a man.”
George Constant, Hess Construction, New York, N.Y.

What strengths do you feel women bring to the remodeling industry? “Most of our clients are married couples. The female half of the couple usually identifies with our female employee and we find that communication is improved.”
Stephanie Dropping, Norsk Remodeling, Redmond, Wash.

“I find many women to be more detail oriented and more sympathetic to how to behave in a customer's home.”
Malcolm Koval, Home Artistry, Pittsburgh, Pa.

What weaknesses do you feel women in remodeling have? “Although women can pack some muscle, men will always be stronger. Sometimes it matters.”
Diana Hanson, Woodpile Construction, Meridian, Idaho

“Standing up to the rougher element involved in our industry — subs, clients, and employees who see women as not belonging in certain roles.”
Ray Parry, Parry & Associates, Englewood, Colo.

How did male employees react to working with women? “It caused disruption rather than friendly competition. It was heated and often created sexual tensions.”
Angie Baker, ATC, Cleveland, Ohio

“The reaction of men is that if the women can do the job, they don't mind working with them at all.”
Mike Davis, TMT Construction, Redmond, Ore.

How many women are currently employed at your company?

How have clients reacted to women your company has hired in sales or office positions?

How have clients reacted to women your company has hired in field positions?

Why would your company not employ women in production management/field positions?

Does your company have a written policy banning discrimination on the basis of gender in your workplace?

In which departments would your company employ women if they were equally qualified for the job?

How have male employees in sales or office positions within your company reacted to women in these jobs?

How have male employees in field positions within your company reacted to women in these jobs?

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