SHREWSBURY – Strike up a conversation with Raymond Valois (pronounced “val-wah”), and you will quickly understand why he is respected by his customers. Valois sets the bar high for himself in his work as a craftsman of home improvement.
Valois describes himself as a visual person and is able to draw on his background in photography when working on the design of a project with a customer. He is able to apply the elements of artistic composition — such as design, proportion, and perspective — into the expert work that he provides his customers. He also has an unwavering work ethic.
“I follow my father’s creed of do it right, or don’t do it at all. I try to be better today than yesterday,” he said.
Valois receives a high rate of word-of-mouth referrals, and the feedback from his customers tells him that he is different from other contractors. He cares about the house and the homeowner.
“One must show respect for the customer’s home. You have to try your best to protect the house. I also involve the homeowners in the entire process. People love that,” Valois said.
With over 20 years in the business, Valois can call on his experience to manage a wide range of projects. He has the ability to create custom projects for his customers.
“I enjoy taking on the types of tasks that not everyone is willing or maybe qualified to handle. I handle unique problems with creative solutions. I am a creative craftsman,” he said.
Valois started his business over 20 years ago by placing a small ad at a hardware store and taking small projects. Over the years, the projects began to expand.
He is dedicated to continuous learning and keeping up with best practices and is concerned about the low numbers of new students studying the trades now. He frequently hires students from local trade schools, particularly those with an interest in carpentry.
He spoke of the innate ability needed for his type of work. “You need that predetermined ability to work with your hands. It’s pre-wired,” Valois said.
Valois’ high quality standards persist even in the presence of one of today’s biggest challenges: the supply chain disruption. He has to plan ahead and pre-stock most of his jobs long before the expected start date, typically three to four months.
The reasons for limited supplies and materials are many.
“During the pandemic, people started to spend much more time in their homes,” he said. “They weren’t going on vacation, so they put the money into their home. Whether doing it themselves or hiring contractors, they created a spike in the demand for construction supplies. Additionally, lumber suppliers in Canada had issues with beetles, and suppliers in the south had problems with the timing of their harvest. Add to that the labor shortage, and there is now a quality control factor in play. We have had inconsistencies on numerous projects.”
Valois also speaks of delays in getting permits from towns and the fact that subcontractors are backed up.
“My favorite tile installer is booked through the end of this year,” he said.
Valois has a clear goal: “I want people to appreciate what I bring to the table. People often don’t appreciate the amount of effort and practice required to deliver quality.”
And even with the challenges facing contractors today, Valois has one ultimate measure of success for each project: “I need to be proud to put my name on it.”
Find out more about Valois Home Improvements at https://www.valoishomeimprovements.com/.
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