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Conducting a Home Renovation: An Interview with Erik Bergstrom of EBCON Corporation

By Erik Bergstrom

Renovating your home can be stressful, cumbersome, and downright confusing. Luckily, Erik Bergstrom of EBCON Corporation has some insider tips to help the process along and ease your rampant mind.

What is EBCON Corporation?

EBCON Corporation is a professional home remodeling firm, owned and operated by myself, Erik Bergstrom. I started this company after graduating in 2000 with a degree in finance from Santa Clara University, with the intent to deliver outstanding personal service and exceptional quality to homeowners along the Peninsula.

What Services Does EBCON Corporation Provide?

Residential home renovations with particular emphasis on kitchens and bathrooms as well as light commercial tenant improvement projects.

What is EBCON's Mission Statement?

Our mission is to provide quality construction and exceptional service to Bay Area homeowners. Our focused determination exceeds our customers' expectations and adds value, beauty, and functionality to their homes.

Our mission statement reads:

EBCON Corporation's mission is to provide quality construction and exceptional service to Bay Area homeowners. Our focused determination exceeds our customers' expectations and adds value, beauty, and functionality to their homes.

We earn our clients' trust through superior craftsmanship, timeliness, and open communication. Our high standards ensure lasting relationships with our clients and strengthen our company by creating repeat and referral business, ultimately establishing EBCON Corporation as a premier Bay Area residential construction company.

Each EBCON team member maintains and holds each other to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and fairness in our interactions with clients, suppliers, subcontractors, and professional associates. We encourage talent and teamwork, reward innovation, manage risk, learn from our mistakes, and constantly strive to improve. Our workplace is designed to foster personal growth, career development, and mutual respect, with a goal of helping our owners and employees achieve prosperity.

We look forward to continuing our mission by working with you.

What Questions Should You Ask a Contractor Before Remodeling?

  • Are you licensed in California as a General Building Contractor, and will you provide us with your license?
  • Have any owners in your company ever filed for bankruptcy, for this or any other construction, home renovation, or home remodeling company that they were an owner, shareholder, or partner in?
  • How many relevant customer references will you be providing?
  • Will you supply us with your current insurance certificate and the contact phone number for your agent?
  • Are there any other letters of reference that you can provide?
  • What is your rating with the Better Business Bureau?
  • Are you certified in Lead-Safe Work Practices? (If your home was built before 1978 this is a Federal requirement for virtually all home renovation projects.)
  • What professional or civic organizations do you belong to or support?

The General Home Remodel Process:

  • Prospective clients will usually contact us by phone or email. We conduct a 3-5 minute phone interview and follow up with them with an email introduction and client questionnaire. The phone interview, email introduction, and client questionnaire help ensure that we can meet their construction needs and provide value to their projects.
  • If we determine that EBCON and the prospective client/job would be a good match, we arrange for a complimentary onsite visit and formal introduction. This visit gives us the opportunity to formally introduce ourselves and present our new client binder, which contains over 40 references, letters of recommendations from our subs and banks, samples contracts, copies of our insurances, and a list of all the associations we belong to. This also provides an opportunity to photograph the job site and discuss the project.
  • From this point, we work with the owner to formulate a budget (unless they already have one) and create a material selection list. At this stage, we would create a design contract, which allows us to create plans, finalize material selection, and create a comprehensive working budget.
  • We would then schedule a secondary on-site job walkthrough, with our team, in order to firm up all details, finalize the contract price, draft the contract, and schedule the start date.
  • Upon acceptance of the contract, the owner would be given a personal username and password to our interactive project management site where they can view all construction documents, view, sign, and change orders, view an online calendar, correspond with the contractor and job site superintendent, and even make some material selections that might be outstanding.
  • At this point, construction would start. We would maintain direct communication with the owner(s) through weekly progress meetings, and would complete the project with exceptional quality, professional service, on budget, and on time!
  • Owner and contractor would have a final walkthrough where the owner would receive a binder with all their warranty cards, a home maintenance packet from the EBCON Corp., and the original plans/permit signed by the City.
  • EBCON would send out a Thank You card and a 6 month reminder that we will be contacting the owner for a job-walk 6 months after completion to make sure everything is operating and functioning as it was intended.

Tips for Preparing for a Remodel?

Research! Talk with family and friends, look online at sources such as Houzz, develop a rough budget, and have a good sense of the level of finishes that you want. The better prepared the client is, the more accurate the contractor can be, and the faster everything will get done. We recommend having the contractor brought in during the early stages so that we are working as a cohesive team with the architect, designer, material provider, and owner.

Common Issues when Remodeling Homes:

Unforeseen stress caused by the renovation is a common issue. When homeowners come to us, they are excited and anxious to get going, and haven't usually conducted a large renovation before. We work with our clients to educate them on the construction process, and prepare them for the realities of living without a kitchen or bathroom for an extended period of time, but the actual reality is usually much more stressful for certain individuals who have demanding lifestyles. We take every precaution to prepare our clients for this transition and work with them to minimize the impact to their lifestyle but some inconveniences are unavoidable.

Another common issue we see are owners who wanted a quote, but they don't have a working design or material selection list. This presents a unique challenge because we have nothing to base our budget on, and the price may not be reflective of the finishes the owner truly wants. We require that the owner go through a design process with us to ensure that all these issues are addressed beforehand, and that we are basing our budget on actual material that the owner selected.

Ideal Client?

An ideal client for us is an individual who values their time and sees the advantage to hiring a turn-key construction firm that can take them from start to finish, warranty the entire project, and assist them with every step along the way!

EBCON Contact Information:

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About The Author

Erik Bergstrom owns and operates EBCON Corporation, a professional home remodeling...

Phone: (650) 773-1272

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