For Charlotte Builder, Success Involves Educating Clients On The Process And Explaining The Ripple Effect Of Every Change

Posted on | September 24, 2015 | No Comments

Homeowners often become starry-eyed as they imagine all of the possibilities afforded to them in a new build or renovation. It often falls to the builder to deliver a reality check regarding what’s possible within the confines of their budget. Charlotte custom home builder and remodeler Ben Collins, owner of Salins Group has been building homes and managing homeowner expectations for 17 years. He knows exactly how to deliver a finished product that delights his clients and meets all of their needs, yet stays on budget and provides them value. North Carolina Design talked to Ben to find out the significance of helping home building novices understand how their project comes together.

Images Courtesy of Salins Group ©

“The whole process is really an education process for homeowners,” says Ben. “As a builder, it’s extremely important to listen to your clients and understand what they want. But clients need to do their share of listening and understanding as well. Getting clients what they want is not accidental and it’s not easy. We put a lot of energy and effort into making it happen.”

Ben asserts that managing a client’s expectations is an absolute cornerstone of success. ”I lay everything out for them at the beginning based on drawings, pricing, and their selections,” he explains. “I want them to understand exactly what they’re getting, and I want to make sure that what they get is what they expected.”

“If people’s expectations are unrealistic, I’m better off telling them so up front. If they have a $100,000 budget and they want to renovate several rooms with expensive high end selections, on day three I’m telling them it isn’t going to happen. If I agree to something knowing it can’t happen, I’m setting them up for failure.”

Ben also helps educate homeowners on making wise decisions throughout the process. “I want to make sure that people understand what their options are and what the cost of those options will be,” he affirms. “There are consequences to every decision, good or bad. One trim change or one plumbing spec change, and all the work that you’ve done to this point is now wrong. People tend to assume that every widget is going to fit onto every gadget and it’s just not the case.”

“Every single aspect of what we’re doing sets off a snowball effect. The size of the crown affects the height of the cabinets. The size of the casings affects how far away the light switches are from the door jambs. You might think, ‘oh, I just want a bigger window,’ but creating that bigger window will suddenly throw the whole house off balance. Or you might want to put off a decision to install a slate roof, without realizing that the house has to be built to support the extra weight beforehand.”

Of course, homeowners can have everything they want, as long as they’re willing to pay for it – and they’re often surprised by the cost of changing even small details. “A client will say ‘can’t we just move this shower door over seven inches?’ I tell them, well, we can but it’s going to cost another $2,700 to reframe the door and reroute the drain.”

Ben’s clients appreciate his integrity and his direct, transparent approach. And he loves working closely with them to help them create their dream home. “We often end up creating great, long-standing relationships with our clients,” he reflects. “I think it’s because we genuinely listen and care about their wants and needs. And they really do end up appreciating the lengths we’ll go to get them the home they really want.”

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