What a homeowner can do to make sure their remodel goes smoothly - Around the House® Home Improvement

Episode 1228

What a homeowner can do to make sure their remodel goes smoothly

As homeowners sometimes we made decisions or do things that cause large problems in a remodel. There are things we can do that cause contractors to charge more money just because our actions are causing more work for them. How can you save money on a project? This episode is jam packed with tips on how to save you money and not cause a divorce in the next remodel project you tackle.

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Transcript
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[00:01:07] Caroline Blazovsky: Eric, Eric,

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[00:01:21] Eric Goranson: It was such a good show. And for all you wondering what I was doing, I traveled to Seattle this last week and got to see. Rancid in Dropkick Murphys. It was a punk rock festival and it was so much fun. That's a rock. I was awesome weeknight show. So ended up going to hit my favorite Thai food restaurant in Tacoma, ended up going to Seattle for the show.

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[00:02:10] Eric Goranson: And so it was huge, so much. So that rancid wrote a song called Olympia Washington. Yeah. They were talking about being at 52nd and Broadway and all they wanted to do is be back planning. And, uh, so of course, when they come to Seattle, where Olympia is 45 minutes away, that's the Olympia ask show. So they started out in play in that song.

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[00:02:40] Caroline Blazovsky: No. I saw the video. People were like, it was like one of the old slam concerts. Like everybody was jumping up and down and, and I don't know. I mean, I know their music just a little bit, so I'm just on the periphery, but it was, it looked amazing.

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[00:03:23] Eric Goranson: Right?

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[00:03:26] Eric Goranson: Definitely. I mean, I know. You've had a ton of bad clients. I've had a ton of bad clients and bad clients. Many times is attitude. But we'll talk about that today.

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[00:03:46] Caroline Blazovsky: So let's talk about payment because I think that's a huge thing. How you pay. The structure, which you pay, because that makes us feel comfortable with you. There is a relationship, a reciprocal relationship that has to exist between the contractor and the client. [00:04:00] So how you pay, I think also how you trust us, because I think if you don't trust us, you question every step, it delays the process and then it becomes a big headache.

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[00:04:10] Eric Goranson: dive into payment because many times. Whatever your contract is, it should have a payment schedule written down in there of how things get paid. Right? You know, this is much how much is down payment. What's the next, you know, benchmark of completion to the project, whatever that is, those benchmarks are key.

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[00:04:53] Caroline Blazovsky: Yeah. You'll have to, I mean, first you have to trust who you're working with and that goes back to again and looking into who your contractor is, touching [00:05:00] base with that from last week, you want to make sure you feel comfortable with the person.

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[00:05:31] Caroline Blazovsky: So I think people get, you know, they get afraid. I understand that, but you have to, at some point, trust us, or it's going to create strife in the working

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[00:05:52] Eric Goranson: And usually that's one of the biggest signs of things going sideways is that lack of trust.

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[00:06:12] Eric Goranson: I know. Sometimes it's a mental health thing as well. And let me just put a caveat on that. One is that there are homeowners out there that have serious trashes trust issues that have happened for 20, 30, 50 years beforehand. And no matter what the homeowner designer or anybody else does, there's always going to be a trust issue because they're automatically this.

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[00:06:48] Caroline Blazovsky: Yeah. They were just never going to trust you. And it was constantly going to be just, it, it wastes your time too. I mean, we have a lot of other clients that we cater to.

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[00:07:06] Eric Goranson: fast. I'll be honest. When I was designing kitchens full times, there was probably on average about four clients that we'd get right up to contract.

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[00:07:32] Caroline Blazovsky: Not comment you saw this.

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[00:07:43] Eric Goranson: And coming from the contractor side, the beginning of the project is the honeymoon period. Like we talked about last time, it's like dating.

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[00:08:14] Eric Goranson: And you know, we, I've been talking with, uh, with Amber, you know, and we've got to around the house listeners out there that are down there working on Amber.

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[00:08:28] Eric Goranson: Yeah. And I'll do this quickly. If you watched on social media this last few weeks, there was this contractor that was reportedly going to go repossess a shower.

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[00:09:03] Eric Goranson: And we come back. Let's talk about a little bit more of that because we're going to have to run it to break here in a second. But the funny part of that whole thing. And it's not funny what he did to Amber. And in that, I mean, I don't want any contractor to ever do that to a homeowner, but the irony of this is him just absolutely having a mental breakdown and destroying that shower.

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[00:09:56] Eric Goranson: Welcome back to around the house. Caroline, [00:10:00] she's already laughing as we get into a. The second segment of the show. We've been talking about how you can be a better client for your contractor. And, uh, you know, it's funny, a lot of us started out early doing work for other people. What was your summer job there?

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[00:10:20] Caroline Blazovsky: Oh, my God. I had the best summer jobs. Oh, well, I mean, I worked the boardwalk. I mean, we could go on and on for stories, like, I mean, working at the boardwalk. Can you imagine what I saw? Like people coming out of the bars drunk, stumbling up too. I played the game without going into this, but we'll have to talk at a later point.

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[00:10:56] Caroline Blazovsky: Guaranteed winner. Every time we play roller ball at the New Jersey [00:11:00] boardwalk point, pleasant, New Jersey go in your honey uprise. And so these horses are great across and you'd be like number one's in lead. Number one, coming up on number two, number two, number oh five and the Levi's on the outside running high, running high running.

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[00:11:19] Eric Goranson: Nice. I started out when I was 12, when I was old enough to push a lawnmower, I started mowing lawns and I found this super cheap realtor that didn't want to pay for lawn care for his houses. And well, growing up in Eastern Washington, the Trey cities, we were kind of a boom and bust area because.

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[00:11:58] Eric Goranson: And so they would pay me at [00:12:00] 12 to go in there. That's

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[00:12:06] Eric Goranson: laws? Well, I was doing it my own, my own business. I then went to work for McDonald's at 14. Got my minor work permit at 14, you could get a minor work permit and go get a job. So I w I was working 20 hours a week at age 14.

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[00:12:31] Eric Goranson: Yep, absolutely. Absolutely. So, yeah, I mean, and then, you know, of course going up through there, uh, got into radio and then radio, I went and started working at a gas station and then.

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[00:12:51] Caroline Blazovsky: But I think growing up there was always someone who worked at the gas station. You always had a friend, you always tried to get free gas and back in the day you could. [00:13:00]

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[00:13:08] Eric Goranson: Where I was at, but, uh, I was the premium service guy. If you wanted full service, you'd come in, I'd come out of the shop and it would go ding. Damn.

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[00:13:42] Eric Goranson: Cause that's a funny story. I think people want to hear that one. Let's go back to talking about being a good client and you know, it's funny. We've always had this joke and it reminded me of the gas station too, is we had a sign in the gas station. That said, if you're going to [00:14:00] hang around and ask questions, the labor rate is double.

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[00:14:11] Eric Goranson: Right. I mean, because here's the thing and we see this so much that. My favorite clients were the ones that worked all day and came home in the evenings and the answered questions. And they weren't coming in and questioning every single trade that comes in.

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[00:14:51] Eric Goranson: You going to put some color over there? You're going to be doing this. Just let Bob Ross be. Bob Ross,

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[00:15:07] Caroline Blazovsky: So they use not a low VOC paint or they decide, Hey, I'm going to put a little cock here. And the client comes home in the whole house. Things like petroleum or, and these things happen and people get sick in their homes. And the contractor's trying to do a little sidebar instead of asking the client. So there really is a balance, like when do you ask the client?

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[00:15:44] Eric Goranson: I think it's, I think that's a 50 50 issue there because many times to me, you should have that you should have that in the contract. Right. Okay. I want to have. I want to have it specked out. I want to have this as my paint. This is my caulking. This is the [00:16:00] adhesives or, or this is the style of adhesives. I want to use, you know, those kinds of things.

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[00:16:11] Caroline Blazovsky: think it has to be a 50 50 relationship. It's got to be reciprocal if you're going to come with special needs. And it's really important to be working upfront with your contractor and tell them what kind of building you want, because some contractors don't want to do healthy building, or they don't want to worry about the paint.

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[00:16:33] Eric Goranson: relationship. Absolutely. We're gonna have to go up to break here in a second, but the thing is. It's like we just talked about as a homeowner, as the person having the work done.

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[00:17:15] Eric Goranson: Lowe's wherever else they're going to the lumberyard and they're going, Hey, what's the most durable caulking I can grab? Oh, this stuff's epic. Boom. Now someone who has some kind of sensitivity. Is getting sick and you didn't spell it out. You're partially at fault. If that, if you didn't put that in the contract.

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[00:17:35] Caroline Blazovsky: too, it's, it's, it's a very it's murky waters, right? So even if you tell your contractor, oh, my child has asthma, please be careful about what you use. That contractor may have no idea what a safe product is. And as, as we'll find out, you know, speaking with an. Th this is all relative to the person, right?

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[00:18:08] Caroline Blazovsky: Right. I mean, that's key. Don't go with someone

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[00:18:19] Caroline Blazovsky: I'm Caroline

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[00:18:38] Eric Goranson: today's indoor air quality tip is brought to you by pyramid heating. And pyramid heating.com. When was the last time you changed your air filter? Do you have pets? Your indoor air quality is directly affected by the amount of pollution you're bringing in doors, pats, open windows, maybe a dirty crawl space or basement or lack of ventilation in your kitchen can all load up that air filter, [00:19:00] always check your system and make sure you're using the correct filter that the system was designed for.

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[00:19:22] Eric Goranson: Take out more pollutants out of your indoor air to thrive in the great indoors. Visit pyramid heating.com, Oregon CCB 5 9 3 8 2 that's pyramid heating.

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[00:20:14] Eric Goranson: And, you know, Caroline, you were given. A little crap, this last segment about being a slave driver, which I'll be the first to say it. I have no problem with that, but I learned work at age 12 for myself, you know, getting out there after school and I could be out playing with my friends and riding around in the neighborhoods and the bikes I was taking my dad's lawnmower and going down and mowing a lawn a Saturday or something like that.

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[00:20:38] Caroline Blazovsky: games. You weren't sitting in playing video games all day long and not doing anything.

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[00:20:59] Eric Goranson: They had opened a [00:21:00] E cheese in town and their, their one year anniversary, you could sign up and win an upright defender video game. And my little brother won it.

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[00:21:15] Eric Goranson: Oh yeah, yeah. This wasn't skee-ball, but it was defender and I can crush it, but, you know, and it made for good stories working though.

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[00:21:30] Caroline Blazovsky: have a Commodore 64. That was like the

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[00:21:35] Caroline Blazovsky: I got, I got stuck. My parents got me like a Commodore 64.

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[00:21:47] Eric Goranson: Tare was the best. Yeah, it was the best, but, uh, yeah, you have a gas station story that you should tell.

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[00:22:05] Caroline Blazovsky: And there was this guy named PD who worked at the local gas station. So PD was, you know, he was a real laid back kind of character. And so one day somebody came in with. A bag over his head with the eyes, cut out of a paper bag and he starts telling feed. He's like, give me your cash out of the register.

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[00:22:34] Caroline Blazovsky: He's like, what are you doing? And then the guy takes out. I guess like some type of handgun and shoots the garbage can and PD is like, holy hell. He's like, he's like, oh, is this a real, just in the money, but this is the type of stuff that happen, you know? Cause it was like friends at the gas station. You were never expecting to get held up and robbed, especially by someone with a paper bag.

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[00:22:59] Eric Goranson: with the [00:23:00] kid. No kid go up the gun, but couldn't come up with a mask.

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[00:23:11] Eric Goranson: is that? I forget she's in so many movies and she plays the same character. I keep forgetting, I

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[00:23:21] Caroline Blazovsky: She's like, just give me some Terry five.

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[00:23:51] Eric Goranson: There are things that can really be difficult for the contractor. And a lot of times it costs you a lot of money to, and [00:24:00] that is change orders when you say, okay, this is our scope. This is exactly what, what we're doing. There are two different kinds of contractor billing philosophies out there. What I see is the first one is that they have their, their pricing and the.

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[00:24:44] Eric Goranson: So maybe their labor that they charge you has doubled, or there's extra fees in there on the change order. So many times those change orders are much more expensive than what if you were putting it in the original contract. So [00:25:00] that's where you've gotta be really careful as a homeowner. Is that by coming in vague and then saying, oh, well, I decided that we're going to do this instance.

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[00:25:26] Caroline Blazovsky: I guess the question is how, if a homeowner say something goes in and they're not happy with it, how do they approach it in the most.

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[00:25:49] Eric Goranson: off, I would get your contractor or your job site. Superintendent, whoever is responsible for the job site in very unemotional and go, Hey, is, is this kind of [00:26:00] Don?

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[00:26:29] Eric Goranson: Say it early versus when it's all done, because maybe the contractor is going to go, oh no, no, no. You don't see all the rest of the pieces kind of like that painting. Right. It's not going to look like. Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. Maybe it's exactly what you're looking for, but you're, you're having a hard time visualizing what the end result's going to be.

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[00:26:50] Caroline Blazovsky: most times when people have a complaint, so they're looking at it and they there's two reasons. Right. They, they either just don't like it visually. Like it's just not what they imagined in their head from [00:27:00] a, from a design standpoint. Or there's something structurally that is just looks off to them and they may not be able to articulate it like you or I would, but I think those are two different things.

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[00:27:27] Caroline Blazovsky: Right. How would you want them to approach that? And they, they made the mistake. I mean, the contractor just fixed something and it looks ugly. Now they're just

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[00:27:39] Caroline Blazovsky: I mean, if the client picks it and then it goes in and the client doesn't like it, how do they, how do you have them approach you with that?

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[00:27:46] Eric Goranson: handle. I think the, the, the, the, really at that point, I've seen this happen before where the client goes, wow. I made that selection, especially when there's not an interior designer involved, this happens more often than not. This is why with kitchens and [00:28:00] baths and things like that.

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[00:28:22] Eric Goranson: You're paying another $8,000 to put in a better material. And maybe that thousand $2,003,000 to have a designer help work through the process. We're more. I mean, I was charging a couple hundred bucks an hours as an interior designer, but that money would have been better well spent to get a more cohesive project.

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[00:28:48] Caroline Blazovsky: Like I told you, I put one of the, the long narrow sinks in right on top of. Um, Cambridge top. So it was like these modern really, I don't know how to describe it on a [00:29:00] vessel thing. And it was long and rectangular and skinny.

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[00:29:08] Eric Goranson: her out. Oh my God. And then I have to wipe down around the base of it. Exactly. Hey, when we come back, let's wrap up this discussion with the last segment, hold to that just as soon as around the house.

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[00:29:44] Eric Goranson: And we'll set something up. Thanks for listening to around the house.

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[00:30:11] Caroline Blazovsky: Oh, one caveat coming out of the break. Uh, we are backup on Instagram, so we are official around the house show.

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[00:30:31] Eric Goranson: There we go. And then, uh, if you listen to the podcast right now, make sure that you. Following or subscribing to that.

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[00:31:00] Eric Goranson: Those good skills of being a good customer and. Yeah. And so some of the things that we talked about before, we're making sure that all your needs and requests were in the contract, not being the overly hovering, kind of like helicopter parents over the project, you know, making sure that you're paying the bills on time, that you're, you're, you're, you're getting things taken care of.

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[00:31:48] Eric Goranson: I'm building a new house. And the week after my completion date, I have a wedding at the house or I've got Thanksgiving or whatever.

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[00:32:01] Eric Goranson: Well, they weren't, there are so excited to show off their new home or they're a new renovation. They've got everybody coming over the following week.

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[00:32:33] Eric Goranson: The landscaping hasn't been done. So that week was like watching a extreme home makeover project because the contractor was trying to do everything they can. To get it done, but you know what the problem is is it's the most inefficient way to do it. If you've ever seen one of those extreme home makeover houses, the quality is not great because you are pushing everybody well [00:33:00] beyond their craftsmanship abilities and fast usually doesn't mean good.

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[00:33:05] Caroline Blazovsky: a time period, like we're in now with COVID, that's not even going to happen. I mean, look, if you put that kind of parameter on your contractor, now there'll be walking out the door because there everybody's so busy and slammed. I mean, you're lucky you get anybody for two weeks.

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[00:33:21] Eric Goranson: I mean, out there at the parade of homes this year, there were some gorgeous houses, but still you'd walk into a shower and you'd see. Due to back orders and stuff, even for the parade of homes they're missing, you'd see a shower valve missing that was blanked out. Or there was one builder. I looked at this a month before when I was out there walking through and I'm like, that housing can be done.

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[00:33:57] Caroline Blazovsky: You are out there. You were like, he went out as a previous, like just [00:34:00] a preview, what was going on?

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[00:34:04] Eric Goranson: Yeah. Yeah. And that, and that builder, you know, not talking to any shade, he always is at the last minute on that stuff. And he got burned on this and you just couldn't do it in 2021 coming into 2022. You just can't run it that

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[00:34:20] Caroline Blazovsky: You just don't have, we just don't have the access. There's too much weight.

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[00:34:41] Eric Goranson: You've got to be, this is an emotional process. If you're doing a renovation or building. Specially renovation, because you've got people in your house every single day, and there's this emotional flow to the project. You're excited to get [00:35:00] going. It's great. Everything gets torn out. Oh my gosh, this is exciting.

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[00:35:25] Eric Goranson: You know, whatever that is,

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[00:35:42] Caroline Blazovsky: You can't have the animals running around. It's just, it's all

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[00:36:03] Eric Goranson: Let them be the ones to do it because you want to walk in after that. Were there. Yeah,

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[00:36:16] Eric Goranson: it's kinda like going to buy a new car, right. If you bought the new car and then had to sit there and wash it after it came off the car carrier, peel the plastic off, wipe the marks down off it and do all the prep work that the dealer does for.

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[00:36:38] Caroline Blazovsky: and takes the fun out

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[00:36:44] Caroline Blazovsky: typical. I mean, do they, would they do that? Like my contractors don't do that, but is there any emotion.

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[00:36:51] Eric Goranson: It's kind of a west coast thing. Many of them have the, the house cleaner come through. At least the ones that I've worked with. They have the house cleaner come through and that's the [00:37:00] last, like the final day. Oh, my God. Tools are out. House cleaner goes through and just knock it out.

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[00:37:11] Eric Goranson: but that's, it's just one of those customer service things.

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[00:37:30] Eric Goranson: And the other thing I like too is that they, if they're a construction cleaning company and there are ones out. They have the right HEPA vacuums. They're not going to be grabbing your vacuum and trying to run your expensive Mila vacuum and run, run a drywall dust through. I

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[00:37:50] Caroline Blazovsky: We could do a whole episode on that. No, no, no. You need to have a separate HEPA, either. Shop back with HEPA filter and bed.

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[00:38:13] Caroline Blazovsky: know you do.

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[00:38:36] Eric Goranson: If I was going to call the police on the homeowner in their project. When I, you know, when the abuse gets so bad that I'm like, okay, you guys, I'm leaving the job site in the. And if you guys don't cool it, the next time this happens, I'm calling the cops and they'll

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[00:38:59] Caroline Blazovsky: That can be [00:39:00] a problem. That's why we're saying to homeowners, you need to be conscious of how you're acting towards us. We're employees of you. So you need to treat as

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[00:39:20] Caroline Blazovsky: Oh my God. Oh, so she wasn't a fan. It wasn't effecting you. She was actually getting

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[00:39:44] Eric Goranson: What are the things that you can do? And of course, you know, in the project sold. You know, a tip, you know, baking cookies, you brought up

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[00:40:03] Caroline Blazovsky: And have you seen this happen? Like there's disagreements that go on and they're like, we're just sitting there as the contractor or the consultant or whatever, and we have to see it happen. So we have to become. Savvy at navigating that cause people actually have their blowouts right

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[00:40:18] Eric Goranson: I'm Eric G I'm Caroline B and you've been listening to around the house. .

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