Interesting conversation tonight while talking to my attorney. Ok, well really it is my dad but he IS an attorney. And his fee structure is quite attractive to a small business owner like myself. Our conversation dovetails nicely from the post yesterday.

I was lamenting to my attorney (dad) all of the insurance I was required to have to run my business. There are policies for liability, policies for the buildings, policies for wind damage, auto policies, umbrella policies and I am pretty sure there must be a policy for seemingly every possible small business scenario that could occur.

Or, is there?

How would I know? You need a double major in finance and math to really understand even the declaration page. I went to the University of Arizona and took what was affectionately called “football player” math. Despite what many thought, I was not in there to get a date. And, I have yet to figure out what post graduate degree you need to actually fully understand what is covered and what is not.

So to get to my point. My attorney (dad) started explaining what all I needed, which policy should cover what potential peril, and continued on with this sort of dialogue. Then he said this: You just need a really good agent and he or she can explain it all to you. Just ask them what policy will cover this or that.

I stopped him cold. But Mike, (dad), here is the rub. I do not know which questions to ask! How can I get proper answers when I have no clue about about every “for instance” that might possibly rain down on my growing small business??

Then, I hit on an analogy to explain to my dad, I mean attorney that really resonated with me LOUD AND CLEAR.

My clients face the same dilemma building or remodeling their home. Yes indeedy. It is not so much a matter of not knowing what you want or which products might fit best for the design or even where to place the appliances/tub/sofa/dining table. It comes down to this simple truth.

How can you get the right answers if you are not sure which questions to ask in the first place?

Ah, this is the real dilemma most people face when remodeling or building and they might not even know it! This is the worst case scenario. And it happens. Constantly.

A potential client may think they know “exactly what they want”. And they probably do. But, do they know the best way to achieve their wants? The best way to execute their ideas?  The latest and greatest products out there? Do they know when a builder or sub asks them about something what the ramifications might be? And, most importantly, do they know the right questions to ask their builder/sub in order to get the right answers?

I can tell you from 19 years of experience, most people do not unless they have remodeled or built many times before. Just like me with the plethora of insurance options. I do not know enough to be sure I am understanding every possible scenario that may arise and how to protect my business. I am “relying” on him to “know” what sort of coverage we need. Then am “hoping” I get the right type of coverage and that it will handle all the possible claims that may or may not occur.

Can we not use these same words so many times in a remodeling or building situation? Clients “rely” on their builder/sub to “know” what is right thing to do and  how to install/execute/make “pretty” a house/room and then the client “hopes” for the best. I am not knocking builders here at all. What I am saying is that the builder is but one part of the team needed to make it all work. But, does every builder feel it is necessary to even have a “team”? The good ones do. The bad ones want all the control.   These are the grand poo bah types who are autocratic. The best compliment I ever received from a builder was this: “You make me look good”.

Smart guy. He recognized the team approach and he knew how to make the team work for him.

When you hire a designer to help you with your project, you are not just hiring someone to plan and design a layout or to choose the right fabrics/furniture/appliances/tile/fixtures etc. It is imperative to ask for referrals on designers, look at their website, ask to call some of their former clients. You should be looking for a professional that can also help you navigate the building or remodeling process. Someone who understands the materials, the sub contractors, the plans and the intricacies of the installation and execution of each detail of the project. This insight can be more critical to the successful outcome than any other contributing factor.

I bet my reputation on it.

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