Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Personal Safety Is A Concern That Needs To Be Considered"

One of the challenges we face in doing home renovations and remodeling - particularly for aging-in-place solutions and with older clients - is their concern for their personal safety. We need to be aware of this and come prepared to the initial meeting to reassure them that we have taken extra steps to help them feel comfortable with the remodeling process, regardless of how extensive it might be.

Whether the proposed work is a few hours or several days, the homeowners or renters need to feel that they are going to be safe in their residence with several strangers being present at various times. They rightly will have concerns for their personal safety and for their property. It's possible they have never had this type of work done in their home and that at most an appliance or air conditioner service call has been the extent of having strangers in their home with them.

These concerns are valid and are accentuated for older people and for singles of any age. They may have apprehensions about even having the work done even though they want or need it to be accomplished. They may look forward to what they perceive will be the finished product, but in the meantime, they will have several different trades in their home. While the work is being done, there will be a certain amount of dust, demolition, and disruption of their daily routines. Seeing their walls, cabinets, flooring, or other items being removed could be a little shocking for them if they aren't emotionally prepared to see it happen.

Unless the clients are going to be absent while the work is being done - and this is extremely unlikely due to their concern about the safety of their personal property (furniture, artwork, jewelry, and the like) in terms of it being damaged or taken - they are going to be watching the work transpire. They may not be in the actual construction zone, but they are going to see and know generally what it happening. They will have a schedule or outline of the workflow also.

We should begin - before even selling the job - by specifically reassuring them that we are aware of their concerns about having strangers in their home and that we understand how they may feel uncomfortable about that. We need to convey to them that their feelings are normal and that we have undertaken a series of measures to help put them at ease. We must sell them first on trusting us and gaining their confidence that we are concerned for their safety and well-being as much as they are.

Then we can share with them how we pick the crews that we use, how we or someone we designate will be present at all times during the job, and how we have instructed everyone associated with their project on how we expect they to conduct themselves in their home. We can even furnish photos and website addresses of the teams we will be using in advance of the job commencing.

People rightly are concerned for their safety and not giving it full credence - and addressing it head-on before the job is ever sold - is a major mistake that we need to avoid if we want to be successful and receive the endorsement of satisfied clients.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.