ARTICLE Erin Reilly
“They project manage the renovation from start to finish! This took the stress out of having to organise different contractors for each component of the renovation and meant there would be just one point of call for any issues that might arise.”
-Refresh customer testimonial
According to a recent study conducted by Harvard University, the renovation industry is huge, confusing and fragmented. The renovation market comprises a third of all worldwide construction, but its size compounds the fragmentation problem, so there’s a realistic opportunity for companies that are “organized, differentiated and focused on brand building to capture market share and build large-scale business.”
A refreshing approach to renovations
Refresh Renovations brings certainty, consistency and quality to renovations. When a homeowner decides to update their home, they don’t have to navigate the confusing rigmarole of the renovation industry themselves. They sit down with a Refresh renovation consultant to discuss their ideas, budget and dreams, then Refresh makes it happen. The homeowner doesn’t have to lift a finger.
“It’s all about giving the homeowner a better experience,” says Refresh director Chris Caiger. “Refresh takes chaos out of the renovation process and replaces it with predictability, systems, order and peace of mind. We made renovations our full-time job so that it doesn’t end up being a second full-time job for the customer.”
“We manage the day-to-day goings-on of a homeowner’s renovation for them, while they continue to enjoy their life as uninterrupted as possible, Caiger continues, but we’re not only trying to make the process life less stressful; we’re also trying to change the overall quality of the outcome for the customer.”
Delivering a higher-quality, consistent outcome is what Director Jon Bridge identifies as one of Refresh’s most valuable selling propositions to customers. “In New Zealand alone, 40% of renovations end up in a dispute, 20% of which end up in major disputes,” says Bridge. “Most often disputes have something to do with overpricing. Refresh Renovations eliminates budget-based risk because we guarantee pricing before a hammer even hits a nail.”
Every Refresh franchise offers the customer a standardised experience, which eliminates the stress and complexity of home renovations, while giving homeowners peace of mind, certainty around budget, and the realisation of their dreams. Our renovation specialists communicate with everyone involved in the renovation process so the homeowner doesn’t have to, because we understand what is required for each part of the process, when in most cases the homeowner doesn’t know where to start.
“You’ll be surprised at how many languages are spoken on one worksite,” Caiger continues. “The renovation specialist not only speaks the homeowner’s language; he has to speak the language of the experts on-site, too. Many homeowners don’t know much about the building and renovation industries, so the renovation specialist effectively becomes their interpreter.”
The Refresh process
Refresh’s parent company, Traffic, provides customer leads captured through a targeted marketing campaign. The franchisee sets up an initial consultation with the potential customer.
In that first meeting with the homeowner, the renovation consultant extensively discusses dreams versus budget. It’s a frank and realistic conversation that educates the customer and makes expectations clear from the start. The consultant also conducts an initial feasibility assessment to determine risks, consents required, etc. before starting the project.
The renovation consultant then goes away, completes the feasibility assessment and develops a concept plan. The concept plan outlines the renovation journey from beginning to end, itemises how much each part of the journey will cost, and gives the homeowner an upfront expectation of cost, along with the opportunity to change their minds to work with their budget, or acknowledge that they need to spend more to get what they want. It’s cheaper in the long-run because, by the time building starts, there are no hidden surprises.
“With home renovations, you’re trying to bring someone’s dream to life at a price they can afford,” Caiger says. “The renovation consultant takes the concept and works out what materials will be needed and how the structure will work. They’ll choose an architect to develop a proper architectural plan, engineers will come in and make their calculations, builders will be consulted, and the whole project will get accurately priced up.”
Ultimately, though, it comes down to reputation. “The Refresh brand is the key to it all,” says Bridge. “A builder typically doesn’t have a brand to uphold, so they don’t care as much about a job well done - we do, though. The Refresh brand is our asset, our long-term future, and we’re incentivised to make that brand valuable.
“We truly add value to the renovation process by reducing stress and risk, ensuring clear communication, and providing the highest quality results possible within the homeowner’s budget. “For homeowners, it’s a no-brainer, really.”