Recently, the management team of Foundation 1 did some interviews for promotional videos and were asked the question of “How long have you been in the industry?” The answers ranged as follows…
- 4 years
- 5 years
- 7 years
- 8 years
- 9 years
- 10 years
- 11 years
- 17 years
- 28 years
- 17 years
- Since the start of Foundation 1 (2001)
It caused us to step back and realize that we actually have several hundred years of experience, not just in the home office, but really mostly out in the field helping customers. It was kind of cool.
From a customer perspective, it is easy when evaluating a foundation repair bid to look simply at the project scope and dollars. What is not apparent, however, is the experience of the team who will be hands on with completing the work. Experience matters.
On a related point, in many contracting situations, laborers are often treated like an expendable commodity. Give a guy a shovel and have him dig. You see this in the extensive use of seasonal workers, temp laborers, and even the proverbial “pick them up in the morning at Home Depot” guys. Not at Foundation 1.
We do it differently. Our laborers are employees; many with years of experience. Not only does this increase the competency of the crews, but greatly increases the quality of the people on your property, and the commitment they have to the company’s long-term success and their standing with the company. The standard we ask our guys to hold is to treat your property with the level of respect that they would treat their own home (and frankly, even better.)
Experience leads to competency. It also leads to being creative at problem solving (and nearly every job has some element of problem solving). With foundation repair, waterproofing, and concrete (our core services), even jobs that are “routine” have their intricacies and challenges. You want eyes on the project that have seen many different circumstances and have that broad base of experience to draw from.
A homeowner contacted us who had a stone foundation with seriously bowing balls. The homeowner had talked with many different contractors. He had learned from us and the others that the ideal approach was to excavate the outside of the home (the damaged wall) and then install a variety of structural supports and waterproofing elements. He indicated that many of the contractors, however, said they would not do this due to the potential instability of the wall. While we recognized this risk as well, we discussed an approach with the homeowner that would protect the home in the event that any of the wall lost its integrity during the process. It was a much more challenging plan, but ultimately the one that was necessary to restore the original structural integrity. (Obviously, there was a strategy to protect the safety of the home and the safety of our workforce.)
Ultimately, in this case when the excavation was performed, it was identified that a portion of the wall was not structurally sound, and we switched to our plan to address this. In the end, this wall was going to eventually collapse, and the “band aid” solutions proposed by the other companies would not have addressed the issue. Our approach, based on our experience, restored the integrity to the foundation, and may have even saved the whole house. If the wall could not have been fixed, they might have had to tear it down.
A second example involved some structural repairs to a 100+ year old home. As we reinforced the foundation, we noticed the home did not lift in a way that was predicted in the repair plan. One of the reasons for this was the extremely small boards used for the floor joists. Simply put, the house did not lift with the foundation because the floor could not support the weight of the upper floors. Recognizing this, we built some reinforcements into the structural framing of the home.
The result was that we achieved the initial goals of structural stability, but also made the overall home more stable. The owner was shocked in walking around the home, as you could literally feel the home as more secure underfoot. On top of this, we were able to modify the overall repair plan (again, based on observations from our experience) associated with this. By moving some things around in the plan, we were able to save money on one part of the project to pay for the additional structural framing work. So the customer got MORE for their money, for the same cost. Less experienced crews would have just followed the initial repair plan, ultimately resulting in not nearly as positive of results.
(See why just going with the cheapest bid is not always the best move!?!?!)
Lastly, experience matters in putting together repair plans. Our least experienced evaluator has 5 years of experience. (Yet, some of the national companies literally take people off the street, run them through a training program and then put them out writing estimates.) In addition, at Foundation 1, several of our estimators were actually highly experienced foreman in foundation repair, and one was previously a home builder and had a number of years of college engineering. We employ experienced professionals, where many others use sales guys just trying to get a signature on the contract.
Additionally, we have a number of support resources in place to allow our foreman (and others on our team) to ask questions of other foreman, and tap into the knowledge of our Operations Manager and other highly experienced mangers in the home office. Being part of a larger team, we have the ability to tap into a collective knowledge base and work together to identify answers to questions / challenges. Smaller companies simply would not have the base of people to work together to come up with collective solutions. A team of experienced people is even more valuable than just a single person with experience.
Experience matters. And it costs more. But it allows our team to execute at a higher level leading to a higher level of customer service and reputation. Experience is a big part of being able to deliver on our motto, which is “rest your foundation on our reputation.”
Click here or the video icon below to view our “Team Experience” video.