Winning For Losing
Byggmeister lost the job, gained a client. This long standing client did not hire Byggmeister to remodel the kitchen in her West Roxbury Cape 16 years ago. She liked Paul Eldrenkamp well enough when the two of them met to discuss the project. She did not, however, like what he had to say about how it would go. Paul lost the job, but in the end, gained a client.
Why didn't you hire Byggmeister for your kitchen renovation?
It was my first house project and I had a set budget. I was pushing the kitchen out from the house but had no idea about that kind of thing and wasn't even sure about the floor plan. Paul said what the floor plan should be and I didn't like it. Then he told me the cost was going to be 15 percent over my budget and I really didn't like that. I just thought I couldn't spend that kind of money, so even though I liked Paul best — his interpersonal style, and expertise, I went with the contractor who said he could do it within my budget.
How did the project go?
Well, I ended up with exactly the floor plan Paul had told me to go with and spent within $1000 of what he said it would cost. The project started around Labor Day and was supposed to be finished by Thanksgiving. It was barely finished by March. Some of the work was shoddy so I spent years having things redone. The contractor didn't stand by his work.
So, there was some groveling?
As I was moving back into the kitchen, I called Paul. I said "Hi. Remember me? I'm calling to apologize." He said, "What are you apologizing for?" I told him he was the only person who told me the truth about my kitchen and, had I used him, I know I would have ended up with better quality of work. I explained that now I'm broke and still have a bathroom-and-a-half to do and a porch to put on. I said, "I'm groveling. If you will do those projects when I have the money, you will be my contractor for life. You'll never have to bid against anyone else." He laughed and said, "Absolutely!"
How many projects have you done with Byggmeister?
Over the last 15 years, there have been about six projects and a couple of little things. The first project ended up being a screened-in porch and a patio. Then, we did an upstairs bathroom and later a half bath. He's also done a few things to fix my kitchen.
Did you think some of the work was too small for Byggmeister?
I actually didn't even think Paul would want to do the kitchen renovation in my little West Roxbury Cape. I thought he only did huge projects in Weston and places like that. But Byggmeister has not only done my porch and bathrooms, but last year, they did insulation and before that, they fixed a terrible water problem in my basement. It was so bad, I was afraid to leave my house for long. When I finally had to travel for a wedding, Paul came by and checked my house for water. He even wet vac'd. Since they came in and fixed that water problem, my basement has been bone dry — even in the huge storms we've had lately.
So, what's the next thing on the list?
Actually, there's not much left to do, which makes me sad. Everyone on the crew is great and I love having them here. In fact, they automatically call a year after a project is finished to check on how the work is holding up.
Maybe you could make something up.
Amazingly, if you want something done, and the guys at Byggmeister don't think you should do it, they'll tell you. The other day, I said I wanted to replace windows in the living room, and they said I didn't need to. What contractors do that?