I have spoken many times in this space about having clear parameters of what your company offers for services and those services for which clients will need to contract on their own. The complexity and liability assumed when you take on too many trades under one roof can put your profitability and your business at risk.
Rules, however, are sometimes made to be broken.
I have also mentioned my good friend Mark Feinberg, owner of Home Theater Advisors, in this space quite a few times. He and I talk almost daily and text multiple times a day. We go over everything together; I am his sounding board for technical issues that he is running into, and I bounce business strategies and financial questions off of him. We both talk to each other about client relationships, customer service challenges, and marketing topics, tapping into each other’s experience and knowledge. We meet in person at least once a month to catch up, go over new ideas, and discuss trends that we are both seeing the marketplace. Having a partnership such as ours is invaluable.
During one of our recent monthly talks, Mark brought up a dilemma that he was facing. Not long ago, he completed the largest shade installation in his company’s history—32 motorized shades. As expected, issues arose and were addressed as the project progressed. One problem was still lingering, however, after the project was complete. We discussed the issue, and it sounded complex, so I met Mark, his lead installer, our shading partner Phil Kossin, and my lead installer on site at the client’s home to brainstorm solutions.
The client had expectations for complete blackout in the master bedroom, but that wasn’t made clear until shortly before construction was complete. Unfortunately the pockets for the shades were already finished and due to a concrete beam, there wasn’t enough depth in the pocket to recess the shade far enough to allow side channels enough height and for the windows to open (it’s hard to explain, but the in the fully open position, with just a half inch of shade hanging off of the roll, the inward opening window would just clear the shade when opened).
Because the use of traditional side channels wouldn’t work, we had to get creative. My lead installer, Jason, and I came up with the idea of installing millwork to the window frame, covering the gap between the frame and the shade, blocking out much of the light. Home Theater Advisors was on the hook for the work to ensure blackout due to contractual obligations, and we don’t have a millworker that we use and trust. Fortunately, Jason has a background in carpentry, and I wanted to create a blackout side channel in my daughter’s room anyway—so we had a good place to test this solution. So off to Home Depot Jason, Mark, and I went, and we purchased some sheet-wood and framed out the window, putting a brushed fabric on the back to protect the shade. It worked amazingly, and we are now going to install the same solution in Mark’s client’s home.
It’s just a great example of working together as partners and coming up with great solutions, and of using your own home or showroom as a testing ground and not trying new things at the client’s home. We were going outside of our typical process by doing carpentry in a client’s home, but we had tested it out fully and honestly; it was the best solution for the situation. We will present this solution to Mark’s client shortly and will hopefully install it within the next few weeks.