Walking in their shoes……

As young children, I’m quite confident that we’ve all heard the same message over and over again.  A couple of little variations here or there, but in the long run, I’m sure each of us can recall the resounding words of our parents, “Don’t make me repeat myself,” or the quick three word answer, “Deal with it.”  Of course, there is one that still makes me laugh today, “Stop hitting your sister,” or the ultimate parenting answer, “What did I tell you?”  Most of the time, those wise parental sayings just slid in one ear, and quickly out the other, falling into that deep pit of ambiguity called the teenage years….never listening to a voice of reason, experience, or common sense.

We as contractors sometimes make the same mistakes.  We talk to our clients about planning, delays, change orders, budgets, and schedules.  Unfortunately, when the contractor becomes the customer, and starts walking in someone elses’ shoes, it can be an eye opening experience, and failing to listen, like the teenager mentioned above, can result in some interesting surprises.

We recently started a major renovation on our offices and showroom at our Adams Street location.  There was nothing structurally wrong with our building; it served our purposes adequately. There were areas that needed updating.  There were opportunities for increased efficiencies within our organization, and the management team felt it was an opportune time to re-brand ourselves as the premier remodeler/home builder in central Minnesota.

For the most part, we did practice what we preach.  A plan was derived with input from all members of our team.  A budget was established, and like most projects, was re-established. Financing was secured, and a time line for the project was submitted.
It was interesting, however, to actually walk in our client’s shoes.  In order to complete the project in a timely manner, the building had to be vacated.  Which meant a new location for the office staff at Richard Larson Builders had to be secured, and then of course, the ultimate challenge…..the move.  It is not easy picking up an organization and moving it to another site.  Logistics, change, challenges, and more change have dominated everyone associated with our group.

One week into the project, and I’ve already learned that listening to experience is invaluable, and that every now and then, it is good for a business owner to walk in their customer’s shoes for a while.  Please accept this invitation to join me on our renovation journey and experience the highs and lows of a substantial remodeling project.