Working alongside my husband in the role of being a General Contractor and Interior Designer whilst being part of the construction process has been the most rewarding, interesting and downright fun career paths I have ever taken part of. The sense of adventure and satisfaction that comes with doing renovations whether it is a smaller project like a deck or painting to a whole house overhaul is indescribable. When I decided I wanted a career in interior design, I never imagined that I would get a chance to have a role in the entire building process and I have no regrets. It has also been one of the most stressful, physically exhausting and confusing career paths I have chosen to take. The everyday logistics of this career are repetitive yet every project is so different. The wants and needs of every customer need to be realized early on in order to avoid huge and costly mistakes or worse – a frustrated or overwhelmed customer. Being in charge of another person’s hard earned money and having the knowledge to spend it wisely is a responsibility that we both have to manage daily and as fun as that sounds it is a huge amount of trust that our customers have put on us… and most don’t really know who we are!! For me this would be the equivalent of purchasing a pair of $400 shoes that you have never tried on with a no return policy… holy crap commitment! This all being said, I know the incredible accomplishments of our company began far before I was involved and in all reality I should not be surprised that our customers have no problem investing in us.
Every single day I have am shocked by the drive and brilliance that my husband shows me. There are so many aspects of this industry that he has taught me that I have no other way to describe it but to say “it’s just really cool”. I think it’s really cool that I get to work with my hubby every day. I think it’s pretty cool that I have the knowledge to run power tools. I think it’s pretty cool that I can make our schedule so we can be together as a family. I think it’s pretty cool that our customers get to witness our aura of unity in every project. I also think it’s pretty cool that my husband gets up every morning early to get on with his day… not everyone has the drive to do that. (I can only compare it to some people being able to do on line schooling to people that need to answer to a professor). My husband and I work together amazingly and I have always described it to people by saying “building Ikea furniture together is considered a great date night” – weird I know. But we truly do enjoy coming up with random design ideas together. We’ve had people ask “When you are in their house do you re-design or notice finishing flaws”? The polite answer is no but for real the answer is yes. Yes, we did notice that the mitres don’t meet up on ANY of your casing and that your kitchen layout would be a million times better if you just removed that load barring wall – no Biggy. (Sorry everyone – no judgement we just cannot help ourselves! I have actually text my husband a picture of a really bad mitre on a baseboard while I was sitting in the chair at a hair salon… I can’t make this stuff up)!
So now that I just described working with my husband as though every day I am dancing through fields of lavender with the sun shining down and you are all jealous your job isn’t the same…. Working with my husband is soooo hard!!! (Cue the whimper cry and violins). Although we are both very patient people and for the most part we deal with each other’s crap fairly well, everything isn’t all peaches and cream. One thing that I am sure most business owners can relate to… work comes home with you. No I don’t mean like you had a little extra work to do, or you cannot stop thinking about it. I mean, while I am doing estimates half the time I am also making dinner (sorry for the marinara stain on that last estimate), feeding the dog, washing the dishes, doing laundry, completing homework with the mini me and so on. I like to think that a large part of our company’s success is that as a general rule I know everything… the problem with this is my husband also knows everything. With so many self-proclaimed geniuses in one company you would think someone would give in eventually. But we don’t. (Just kidding, we actually do and I like to think this is where so many of our amazing ideas come from – and sometimes where we learn from our mistakes). Another not so fun thing with working with your better half – you both do the same thing day in and day out so by default mainly your discussions revolve around work. I have learned that one has to be involved in a lot of hobbies to keep things interesting – we have learned to become involved in what the other person enjoys doing, this is so important and a small rant of wisdom amongst the never-ending rambles included on this page… take interest in each other’s hobbies. This is the greatest lesson I have learnt over the last few years…. Anyway back to my cons list: Always remember that all these completed projects started somewhere and as a result I have been part of some pretty nasty demo’s that I would rather not speak of. My hair 50% of the time smells of saw dust. If I grow my nails I have to be fully committed to having one ripped off and deal with the impending blood bath that follows. Lotion is my best friend. Drywall dust – that is all I have to say about that. I also now own more paint stained work clothes than nice ones. (I’m pretty certain the other moms at school drop off think I own one pair of jeans and that I don’t like doing laundry). Okay but seriously, I would say the perks definitely out-weigh the downfalls but I just didn’t want you all to think I never ugly cried about life in the corner once in a while.
In conclusion, I have to confess, I started this “small” and minutely interesting write up with the intention of informing people of what a general contractor truly does and what to expect. The reasoning behind this is that I am discovering that there are a few misconceptions on what we do, who we are and what to expect. Cause let’s face it – renos are scary!! But alas, due to my forever 100 mile an hour brain, you got a little about me. HA! I hope you enjoyed learning a little of the insides of the industry from my perspective.
I feel obligated to say “Stay tuned for the next write up”????… I actually think I should type what I came here to write…“What is a General Contractor”?
Cheers! – Crystal Marin (aka The Contractors Wife)