When a family came to Tim Shigley to inquire about an addition and kitchen remodel, Shigley reviewed the project, realized it would make more financial sense to tear down and build a new house, and told the prospects as much. “I told them, quite frankly, if it was mine, that is what I would consider,” says the president of Shigley Construction, in Wichita, Kan. After his honest assessment and his suggestion that they contact a builder, the remodeler didn’t expect to hear back from the couple.
Do the Right Thing
But within a few months the couple did call back, asking to meet with Shigley again. The prospects wanted to know why he had turned down the job — particularly in such a tough economy. Shigley explained: “I want to do the right thing for you, [give you] the best product for the best value. It’s my hope that I have a lifetime business relationship with you.”
The couple hired Shigley Construction to tear down the original home and build a new house. The remodeling project was a gift from the couple to the wife’s parents, who wanted more space for family gatherings. The house was built in the 1940s and although an addition could have worked, the home had an insufficient foundation and lacked insulation in the walls. Tearing down the house also provided an opportunity to add a basement.
The last new house Shigley built was in 2001. But many of his trade partners also work on new construction, so he was confident in their ability to handle the job.
Shigley told the clients that if he was hired for the project, he would build the house according to his standards. He explained that new construction has lower margins than remodeling and that new-home builders — concerned about keeping prices low — use more affordable products, which makes it difficult for him to compete on price with them. And although he made a lower margin on the job, it was a large project and kept his crews busy for nine months.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.