By Jeff Theodore, Contributing Writer
MARLBOROUGH – After more than two decades in the construction business, William Johnson has heard his fair share of nightmare stories from dissatisfied homeowners speaking about building projects gone awry.
The biggest takeaway Johnson says he’s learned through the years is to always keep the lines of communication – between contractors, carpenters, lay workers, clients and others – wide open.
“The ultimate goal is to be truthful,” Johnson says. “If there are delays, make sure the client knows. Everybody is much happier if they know what’s going on.”
Johnson believes so fervently in customer satisfaction that he has named his business YourWay Construction Management Inc. Established in January of this year, the new company seeks to have construction projects done “the customer’s way.”
“It’s not about our way,” says Laura Johnson, who co-owns Yourway Construction with her husband of 14 years. Laura handles the business’ administrative affairs.
Vowing that Yourway can save customers both money and time, William says he had been preparing for several years to strike out on his own.
“I found a way to pay for insurance and licensing and to have all my certifications,” he says.
Typically, that isn’t the case for many construction-related businesses, according to his wife.
“There are so many people out there who are not licensed or insured, and because of that, they’re able to do the work for far less money,” Laura said. “But that also means they can’t be held accountable if an accident were to happen.”
“When you hire someone who isn’t insured, you can’t make claims,” she said. “My husband, who has all his licenses and [went above and beyond to be] trained by the Army Corps of Engineers, wanted to make sure people have something to fall back on in case something happens.”
Homeowners also can’t file an insurance claim against a contractor who does not fulfil their duties, walks off the job or doesn’t show for a job unless that contractor is both licensed and insured.
William also tells each new client that he can take care of just about everything above ground. He notes, however, that he has no control over what may lurk down below.
“When you start excavating, there’s no idea what you may happen upon because of foundations, etc.,” he says.
In a somewhat similar vein, when William and his wife founded Yourway amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they had no idea what would happen.
“Because of COVID, it was a little bit of a struggle starting out,” he said. “Material prices were through the roof…Additionally, the availability of materials was a challenge because factories were shut down.”
Recently, however, the couple says that lumber prices, in particular, have started to decline by as much as 20 percent within the last month. As such, they’ve reached out to clients to reset the potential costs of renovation projects.
While COVID may have slowed the start of his business, William says he thinks the pandemic has opened homeowners’ eyes to consider enhancing their homes rather than selling them.
“In this market, putting money into your house, in the long run, is going to be more valuable than selling your house,” he says. “It’s more cost-effective to use the equity in the house to update it and since people are spending more time at home than ever before, their wish list has gone up quite a bit.”
Depending upon the size of renovation projects, William says he aims to have them completed within four months.
“With that being said, some items such as decking and railings that used to take two weeks to receive now require a four-to-six-week turnaround,” he says. “And with the weather we’ve had this summer, many contractors are behind, so it’s slow to get pricing or nail down dates to put on their schedule.”
Nonetheless, the Johnsons believe that the future of their construction management business is bright. Within the next year, William says he intends to hire a lead carpenter to be present on every job site and to serve as an envoy between him and clients.
In the meantime, Laura says she’s heard her husband’s reputation precedes itself on the popular mobile app Next Door, where prospective patrons look for people who do carpentry work.
“There are people whom Billy worked with eons ago reaching out to him now because they’re thrilled with his abilities, so that’s saying something right there,” she says.
Individuals can contact YourWay Construction Management at email@example.com or by phone at 774- 245-3629. Learn more at yourwaycm.com.
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