513-781-3000 brian@tmcbuild.com

2024 Houzz Service Award

2024 Houzz Best of Service Award

Our TMC Construction Services Team are all proud to have won the 2024 Houzz Best of Service Award as a result of our awesome clients and their positive reviews of our services.

TMC Construction Services consists of caring people looking to serve our community one client at a time. Thank you Houzz for the award.

5 Critical Mistakes Homeowners Make

When hiring a remodeling company… and how to avoid them!

By Brian Martin

I like drinking coffee, not the fancy 3 shot-whole milk-double cinnamon-whip…way too many words at the drive-thru. Nope, just a simple coffee with a splash of cream for me thank you. Usually costs me $2.50 and I am happy. I feel very different when dealing with a car mechanic. I do not mind paying whatever it takes to get the job done right the first time. Anyone who has been stuck on the side of a highway will agree that cutting costs on a vehicle repair is not a good idea. I want the technician with the most amount of experience and I want the best parts made. I think we all have things we are willing to invest in and other things we are okay with the barebones.

Here are some things to consider when looking to hire for a home renovation project.

Whether this is your first remodeling project or your hundredth, it’s wise to be cautious, ask lots of questions, and speak with the remodeler’s former clients. And think through the following:

Mistake #1–– Being pressured to sign a contract. You should always see renderings or drawings and be completely clear on what’s being proposed. A qualified remodeling company should be busy and not make you feel the need to pressure you to sign up today.

Mistake #2–– Hiring for labor only. It may seem like a great deal when you see a lower dollar amount for a remodeling project. However, if the deal requires you, the homeowner, to acquire all of the materials, you’ll soon discover the stresses involved. Where to buy? You will pay retail prices anyway? Did you order enough material? (The labor-only contractor will leave your jobsite if there isn’t enough). Did you order the right size? And what will you do if and whenthere are damages or shortages?

Mistake #3–– Hiring sub-contractors. It’s not that sub-contractors are bad people, not at all! The problem is they may have many other projects they’re working on. Yours could be job #1 or #2. Yours could also be #15 or #20. So, when the contractor you hire is ready for the tile subcontractor, that sub-contractor could be tied up for a week on another job. The same goes for the carpenter, plumber, electrician, painter…. And what happens when the tile sub-contractor runs into a problem with the way in which the carpenter prepared the shower walls and now wants to charge more for the extra time it takes to install the tile? Who pays for that?

Mistake #4–– Not Hiring a Design Team. Without a design team to assist you, it can be challenging walking into a building material showroom on your own. Thousands of samples and many displays in a showroom, sales staff running around here and there, a long counter with people in line looking for help. Who can help you…and where do you start?

Mistake #5–– Cost-Plus Contractors. Some contractors will list the cost of every bit of material and will list a labor price separately. So, if your project takes longer or requires more material than initially listed on the contract, you, as the homeowner, pays the difference. And when you see the contractors sitting in their trucks eating an hour lunch or you see them making mistakes cutting tile causing hundreds of broken pieces being thrown away –– are you the one paying for this? It’s better to have a LUMP-SUM agreement in-advance where the contractor lists one cost for the project and is held to that amount regardless of their mistakes or miscalculations.

And before you sign, ask lots of questions, seek references, speak with recent homeowners who have used the remodeling company.

 

© Copyright 2023 Brian T. Martin & TMC Construction Services, Inc.

Spotlight on the Kontopos’ of Loveland

The Kontopos family of Loveland turned to TMC Construction Services (TMC) to transform their home and it changed their lives.

A larger upgraded kitchen with some personal style headed the list of what V (Mr.) and Amanda (Mrs.) Kontopos were hoping for when they called on Brian Martin and TMC to make some improvements in their Loveland home. They were familiar with the quality craftsmanship of TMC having seen several home improvement projects they completed for some close friends including an outdoor living space and home office just over a year ago.

“They’re getting their kitchen done next,” said V Kontopos. “It says a lot they’re having TMC back, not just one time, but several times.”

It made the choice easy when it came time to plan and design the remodeling for their home. They knew the quality of work and the level of satisfaction TMC brings. Still, TMC takes it to another level making it personal.

“Above all trustworthy,” V Kontopos said describing what stood out about the TMC team. “Friendliness. They became a part of our family watching us get the kids off to school mornings.”

The Kontopos’ have two boys. They are at “that age” where they are constantly running from one thing to the next. Both are active in sports. TMC started the remodeling job in mid-August and completed the work in mid-November. So, they were there for about three months – like trusted members of the family. They were working late one evening when V needed to run their youngest son to a choir concert while an electrical contractor continued working.

“The TMC people, I really knew,” said V. “It was okay, I feel good leaving Adam here, I can go take my son to the choir concert and Amanda was taking our other son to soccer that night. They locked up. We felt like a family member was here watching the contractor.”

It is often said: “The devil is in the details.” and with TMC the Kontopos felt like no detail was missed. They felt like the TMC crew heard what they said and responded.

“They listened,” said Amanda Kontopos. “They were very good about things specific to our family. They listened and created solutions to our problems.”

With two boys active in sports, they needed multiple solutions to accommodate their athletic shoes and fill water bottles. There is now a charging station in the mud room – no wires on kitchen counters. They built a custom shoe closet in the expanded mud room where the old laundry room was. A filtered-water station was custom built into the custom beverage center where the old pantry closet was. An active family also means lots of laundry. Amanda told them they could not lose the washer and dryer while construction was going on.

“They listened,” she repeated. “We never lost the washer. The hooked it up and moved it multiple times. They tried to keep things as normal as possible.”

It was a big project. Amanda ran down the list beginning with the kitchen addition, increasing the size and moving the laundry room to the second floor, creating a bigger functional mud room, adding a bigger half-bath while converting the old bathroom to a pantry and the old pantry closet to a beverage center with a custom filtered-water station. The laundry room was an eye-opener for V. right from the start.

“I would say the laundry room was the first part because that was the first thing that got done,” V said. “That was eye-popping to me. They took a space that wasn’t being used for anything upstairs. TMC came up with the concept to make that the laundry room. I would never have thought of that. It was a great idea. It was one of those things, like wow, these guys are really, really good.”

He used words like trustworthy, reliable, caring, pride and craftsmanship when describing their work. The TMC team gave the Kontopos family confidence their project had the full focus and effort of the team.

“They take a lot of pride in their craftsmanship,” said V. “You can tell they are more than just job-to-job, they take a lot of ownership. There was a long wait to get started with them. It was very worth the wait. You knew they were giving you 100% attention and they want to do that to the next client.”

It was not just creating a solution for a second floor laundry room and a custom shoe closet in the expanded mud room, but the special touches like the cabinets and handmade custom counter top in the new laundry room.

“Their work is amazing,” Amanda said. “Not everybody is going to go the extra mile. Our project was kind of big in scale and we were also still living here.”

The whole first floor was pretty much torn up. Tarps covered the dining room. Furniture was packed into the front room. Where the kitchen addition and dining area is now was completely cleared out. Keeping things clean and livable is often an issue during a remodeling project of this scope. The Kontopos’ said that was not the case citing the extraordinary measures TMC went to cleaning up daily.

“They cared for the things they weren’t touching,” said V. “Anything they moved, they tarped it off.”

It was more than that.

“The one thing that really impressed me too was they cleaned up every single day,” said Amanda. “It wasn’t just putting stuff in a pile so it was out of the way. They vacuumed floor to ceiling and polished things.”

Amanda launched into a story about having family in for Halloween and concerned about getting things cleaned up for the guests. The TMC crew was still working and she needed to leave to go pick up the boys. When she came back, they were polishing all of the furniture in the dining room – a room in which they were not even doing anything. V told how they blew the leaves off the driveway every day and said his garage has never been cleaner. Three months together like a family.

“They take their time with you to do it right,” V explained. “You don’t feel like you are part of a checklist. You feel like they are going to finish your job and then move on. I like that fact. They are all hands on deck on this job. They are fully committed to you. They are not multi-tasking. We felt it. We felt we got their full commitment.”

Giving the customer their full attention is the commitment of TMC. The Kontopos home has been transformed. Listening to Amanda and V, walking through the house with them, looking at the quality craftsmanship and design work completed, you can see the transformation carries beyond the physical home and into their daily lives. Sure when they were going to knock out an exterior brick wall, there was some nervousness. It takes a lot of trust to let someone knock a hole in your house. In the end, Amanda talked about the things they did to make it unique to the Kontopos family. Kitchen lighting and tile finish on the island and the wood accent wall helped create their personal style.

“It was exciting. It took a lot of trust,” Amanda said. “They are a class act. They are like family. I miss them. I want to know what’s going on in their lives.”

They’ll be back. The Kontopos’ are already talking to TMC about their next project.

Now or Later?

So you want to do a home remodel?

 

I know how it is, you walk into that same kitchen you have walked into for years, maybe decades. You go to your old wood cabinet that has slightly faded over the years and grab your morning coffee cup. As you sit at your kitchen table sipping your brew you glance around and think to yourself how nice it would be to have brighter color cabinets with crown molding, simple but elegant quartz counter tops, an updated stainless under-mount sink, and a really cool bold looking tile back splash. Wait, you think, could we even remove that wall and make the kitchen even larger?

As your finish your coffee you likely have thoughts of messy contractors that rarely show up, weeks or maybe months of an unusable kitchen, escalating costs that never seem to have an end in sight. And with those last thoughts, you throw your cup in the same beat up sink and go on about your day.

Covid and our present economy has certainly changed the landscape of the home remodeling industry. In 2015, TMC had a 3 month wait list and we could order materials within 2-3 weeks of the project starting and everything would be available and ready to go at the start date. As of, February 2022, TMC has a 12 month wait list and cabinets for example have a 3 month lead-time.

Quality minded contractors with a loyal following and strong client on-line reviews have long wait times. These long wait times have an upside that clients have time to make thought out decisions on the products they would like to have in their newly remodeled spaces. TMC’s design team walks our clients through step by step, item by item, to ensure that each piece works well with the next and that orders can be placed in the right amount of time for the project. The quartz tops will look great with the tile backsplash and the paint colors will make the new cabinets look incredible.

Do the project now or later? Here is what the owner of TMC says, “It typically costs very little to investigate a potential project. Likely if you start investigating today your new kitchen, bathroom, or addition is 12 months or more away. Look at on-line reviews and talk to neighbors and friends, make a wish-list. Select your top two or three candidates and start the conversations. Next year at this time you could be drinking coffee in a beautiful new kitchen.”

HOME IMPROVEMENT: Spotlight On The Carr’s of Loveland

SPECIAL FEATURE:  Home improvement from TMC Construction Services

LOVELAND, OH (October 11, 2021) – Here is the story of the quality home improvement work done by TMC Construction Services for Scott & Kristen Carr of Loveland, Ohio. By Chuck Gibson

The Carr’s had lived in their home for nearly eight years and decided it was time for some upgrades. For them, it began with second-floor bathroom renovations;  including the Master, “Jack-n-Jill”, and a guest bathroom. That was the first project (3 bathrooms) which was followed by renovation of Scott’s home office (call that #4) motivated by the sudden need to work-from-home resulting from COVID. As summer 2021 was fading away, finishing touches were being completed on the fifth project (#5) – a backyard outdoor oasis for summer fun and completed in time to enjoy the arrival of autumn 2021. Five projects, one after the other, inside their home and outside their home speak volumes in testimony to the quality of work done by TMC Construction Services for the Carr’s.

HOW DID YOU CHOOSE TMC IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Stand up shower in the Carr’s TMC renovated bathroom. (Provided)

“We had neighbors; good friends of ours used them for their kitchen,” explained Kristen. “She said how professional they were.  Trustworthy, timely, you name it, they were there for her.”

Cost was certainly one of the considerations, but the Carr’s were looking for more. Trustworthiness was very important to Kristin.  

“I had three little kids at the time. Scott was travelling a lot,” Kristin said. “I just wanted to be able to have somebody that was going to be in my house for the next three months, and trust them in my home. It’s a big deal; it really is. They were very professional. There was never an unprofessional word. Never once were they unprofessional. They were just so organized. Those were just very important to me.”

Brian Martin and his TMC Construction Services team of Frank and Ben was not the only contractor option considered by the Carr’s. When they decided to renovate those three bathrooms, they talked to more than one contractor about the work they wanted done.

“We had at least three people we spoke to about doing the bathrooms,” said Scott Carr. “Brian came out and upfront said: ‘My reputation is important to me. He laid out, before he ever talked about any hammer or screws he would be bringing into our house, we may be more expensive. Here are the reasons why. It’s the quality. It’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to work with you.’ He was just organized, buttoned up.”

This custom double sink bath vanity was part of the TMC renovation work for the Carr family (Provided)
TMC exceeded Carr’s expectations on bathroom renovations (Provided)

Living in the home with three kids and her husband on the road, it was important to Kristin and Scott to know their house would still feel like home at the end of each day during construction. They understood there would be dust, but were assured by Brian his crew would be able to clean that up. To the Carr’s, those variables were worth paying a little more.

The Master Bath created by TMC was just the oasis Kristin Carr was looking for (Provided)

“He made it a point with Kristin to share they would clean up at the end of every day and we wouldn’t know they were there,” Scott explained. “They walked their talk through the project. I was travelling – it was pre-COVID – there was never a day I came in on Friday and had to ask: What just happened in here? Everything was clean, it was immaculate. It became a no-brainer if we were going to do another project.” 

Kristin recalled the start with all three bathrooms gutted and renovated all at once. It was enough to bring tears to her eyes. The TMC crew reassured Kristin with their simple motto: It has to get worse before it gets better! After it was done, and the Carr’s “lived a little”. They were more than satisfied.

“I WANTED AN OASIS IN MY BATHROOM AND I GOT IT,”

SAID KRISTIN. “VERY PEACEFUL.”

Scott Carr was equally pleased with the work done on the bathrooms.

“It exceeded the expectations,” said Scott. “You can put a drawing on paper and show pictures of previous projects, but when it is yours . . . and that ‘Aha’ moment of okay, this was worth the however many weeks, this is what we thought it was going to be and it exceeded it. The Master Bathroom especially exceeded the expectations for what I thought the project was. I think the greatest compliment you can give somebody is, without hesitation, a recommendation.”  

Scott Carr’s office after renovation by TMC (Chuck Gibson)

“We can’t get what we now have inside anywhere else unless we build, so let’s work on the backyard,” Kristin said. “We had Brian come over. We knew they did outside work, but again, they exceeded our expectations of what we wanted. They talked us through everything.” 

Inviting the contractor to come back for your next project may be just as good as a recommendation; maybe even better. TMC exceeded expectations on the three bathrooms and Kristin was ready to move on to the next project. By then, COVID had Scott working from home more and renovation of his office was an obvious choice. TMC was their choice to create a good comfortable working environment for Scott’s home office. There was a comfort level established , not only with TMC, but also with any contractors Brian might choose to use.

“Anybody Brian was going to use, he explained why he was going to use them and the experiences he had with them,” Scott said. “I knew anybody he was going to use had to meet his same quality expectations. It gave us the confidence, as the consumer in this process, we were getting the quality. He has a high expectation and people have to meet that for him to use them as a contractor on any project he does.”

Office renovation done –mission accomplished. With COVID keeping the Carr family at home more than ever, they decided on another project. They had what they wanted inside their home. They love living in Loveland, have no plans to go anywhere. Upgrading their outdoor living was the obvious choice.

Doors ensure Scott’s privacy while working in his home office (Chuck Gibson)
An accent wall provides just the right finishing touch for Scott’s home office (Chuck Gibson)

That included highlights of their new outdoor living oasis like a custom outdoor kitchen under roof. That was a big change. Originally, that was going to be a pergola, but that was one of many changes Kristin and Scott challenged TMC to make during the project. Brian, Frank and Ben talked them through it and made the changes seem smooth and easy.

TMC custom built this outdoor kitchen for the Carr family (Chuck Gibson)

“They were very patient if I changed my mind; which I did often,” said Kristin. “Ask Brian (Brian Martin, TMC owner) He was so patient, and Frank – kind of Brian’s go-to guy. They were just so patient with the changes we would make. They do this all the time, but for us, this was a new process for us.”

Scott points to communication as the key, especially for the changes.

“It starts with communication. They took the time to understand at the start what it was we wanted. It’s important,” said Scott. “We always would go back to that when there was a change (Well Scott why do you not want this?) Then we would talk about it.”

From planned pergola to custom ceiling, this was the biggest change (Chuck Gibson)

They kept an ongoing dialogue. It was open communication and understanding of what the Carr’s, the customer wanted to accomplish. TMC used their experience as a quality home improvement service to guide the Carr’s along the way. At the same time, they never steered them away from what they were trying to accomplish.

“They became like family,” Kristin said. “We have done a lot of other things with this house – carpet and floor people, and that has never been the case. That says a lot right there about the company, about Brian and the people he hires as well.”

TMC was so much like family when a pipe burst in the basement while Scott was away on business, Kristin called Brian. It was a Saturday in February and his team of Frank and Ben were on another job. No matter, Frank was in the Carr’s driveway in about 15 minutes, found the problem and fixed the broken pipe. Scott says Brian told him: “Hey, we are family.”

“They did not have to do this for me,” said Kristin.

THEY DID THAT AND THEN THEY CAME OUT

AND CREATED A LUXURIOUS OUTDOOR LIVING AREA.

“The highlight? It’s really the kitchen,” said Scott. “I love cooking. WE love cooking and just doing the grill, the egg and Ben customizing that build. He went on his own and measured the Green Egg specs so it would be a perfect spot for it. He bought the outdoor appliances for it – he custom-made all of that. When it finally all went in, that was it. The first couple times cooking on it, that was the: this is why we did this. Kids jumping in the pool, serving the neighbors burgers, steaks whatever we’re doing.”

Kristin says that is exactly what you get with TMC Construction Services. You get custom design, quality craftsmanship and stay within budget. Even with changes, TMC kept the Carr’s informed and there was never any question where they were with the budget or supplies.

“I know what kind of company they are, and I will recommend them,” Kristin concluded.  “But I want them available for my next project.”

The Carr family loves the custom outdoor kitchen feature (Chuck Gibson)
The Big Green Egg custom built by Ben is a Scott Carr favorite feature (Chuck Gibson)
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