How Long Do “Things” Last?

So . . . how long should a brand new refrigerator last? When a client asks how long your proposed new flooring will last, what do you say? When you are quizzed about electrical issues, how do you respond? You could say, “Look, why don’t you ask an electrician,” and risk insulting the client, or you might reply with, “Copper plated wiring, copper clad aluminum, and bare copper wiring are expected to last a lifetime. Electrical accessories and lighting controls are expected to last about 10 years.” That’s taken verbatim from the report . . .

In an NAHB study conducted in February this year (2007), they published a report titled Life Expectancy of Home Components. In that report, sponsored by Bank of America Home Equity, they published an unblinking collection of data every remodeler and home builder can use when answering tough questions from prospects. Having answers to these questions would, without question, differentiate a savvy, well-informed contractor from the run of the mill, unlicensed, door slammers competing for the same construction dollars.

Working with an informed client is always better than working for one who is second guessing you at every corner. Clients aren’t born with the knowledge they need to interact competently with you, and like the old saying goes, they don’t know what they don’t know. In fact they normally think they know a heck of a lot more than they actually do. It therefore falls within your realm to, in the process of setting expectations, educate them. Keeping up to date and well-informed yourself is, without question, the sanest path a contractor can take.

There are many reasons to belong to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), but if ever there was a single compelling reason to belong, it would be for the unfettered access to their research. To have access to this information is worth the price of membership alone.

The knowledge that we consider knowledge proves itself in action. What we now mean by knowledge is information in action, information focused on results. –Peter F. Drucker