Virtual consultations are a great way to help homeowners renovate safely during COVID-19. Synergy Design & Construction has long had the tools in place that allow us to conduct virtual consultations, having worked previously with homeowners living out of the area or in the process of relocation. Our virtual consultations are FREE. But, what exactly is a virtual consultation and how can you best prepare?
What is a virtual home remodeling consultation?
After an initial phone call, the first step in our process is usually to come to your home to see the space, review the existing site conditions and get a better understanding of your vision for your home remodel. We can, however, do all of this virtually over a video conference. We provide the technology – all you need is a smart phone, iPad, or laptop (any device that is small enough for you to carry around your home). A video conference usually provides the same results as an in-person meeting and gives us enough information to ensure our services are a good fit for your project. It also allows us to mutually decide to proceed to the proposal phase of the project (the good news is we can also do this virtually!). The meeting usually takes no longer than an hour.
How can you prepare for a virtual consultation?
It’s important to be prepared ahead of time. There are a few simple steps.
Step 1: Prepare your video technology
We’ll send you a link to a video conference ahead of time. We use Zoom, which most people are now very familiar with but, if not, it’s very user friendly. You don’t need to set up an account to use it, but if you haven’t used it before, here’s a handy link to the basics. We highly recommend you test it out before the meeting starts in case your phone or laptop prompts you to download the software. Try it out ahead of time with a friend or family member. That means there’ll be no delay in getting started on time when our meeting begins.
Step 2: Prepare background information
It really helps if you prep ahead of time before we meet. Although we’ll be taking a video tour of the space(s) you want to remodel, plan to have as much of the following information on hand as you can:
- A clear description of all work you would like done
- Rough estimate of square footage of the space(s)
- A simple floor plan if you have one
- Age of the property
- Prior renovation work and experience
- Homeowners association covenants applicable to the projects (if any)
- Take three or four well-lit still photos of the project area that convey a sense of scale in case our video connection drops.
Step 3: Prepare your talking points
In-person consultations typically begin with a walkthrough of the space(s) you are planning to remodel, followed by a sit-down discussion of the project and the services we offer. Prepare a list of topics you would like to discuss.
Some things we’ll cover:
- Who will be in your home during the remodel
- Whether particular spaces will or will not be available for a certain amount of time
- How the non-remodel parts of the house will be protected during the renovation
- Your planned budget for the remodel
- Our scope of services and how we work
Step 4: Prepare your home
As with an in-person consultation, you need to prepare the area before the virtual walkthrough.
- Remove any clutter and any furniture that could block important views
- Maximize the light by uncovering all windows and turning on the lights
- We love pets and kids, but prepare to close off the area from unexpected attendees
What can I expect during my virtual consultation?
A virtual consultation has three phases: introductions, walk-through and a sit-down discussion.
This is our first opportunity to see each other’s faces! Plan to have your video turned on so we can see one another. Before we begin the walk-through, we’ll ask you to tell us a little more about your plans.
We’ll play an active role. We’ll ask you to show us around and may ask you to double back or move in closer to something. We may also take screenshots of what we’re seeing to help with our proposal process.
Walk through your space(s) in order and move the camera slowly. Please keep your hands away from the microphone on your device. If we need you to slow down and it’s getting a bit blurry, we’ll tell you! We don’t need to see your face during the walkthrough, so you can reverse the camera on your device so you can see what you’re looking at, too.
- Walk us through the main entrance to the space(s) you want to remodel. If this is a kitchen remodel, for example, show the rooms and the hallways around it
- In the work area itself, stand at the center and turn the camera slowly, 360-degrees.
- Standing at various points along the perimeter, pan the camera slowly across the space.
- Move the camera from the ceiling to the floor
- Highlight key sections. You can do a “show-and-tell” technique; hold your device in one hand and point with the other. Make sure you can see your pointing hand on your own screen, and that it’s clear what you’re pointing to
- We may ask you to show us a few close-ups
Move to a table or desk. Turn the camera back around to your face. We’ll discuss the walkthrough and talk through any questions. We’ll also share our renovation roadmap with you so you get a better understanding of how our process works. At the end of the meeting, we’ll discuss next steps. If it is mutually agreeable, we’ll talk about setting up a time for a proposal meeting (also held virtually).
What comes after my virtual consultation?
Assuming you wish to move ahead to the next stage, we’ll send you some date/time options for a proposal meeting. This is also a free meeting and is held virtually. At that meeting, we’ll walk you through our process and how we work so you get an in depth idea of how we work together to deliver your project. We’ll also discuss the different ways in which you can engage our services, should you decide to proceed.
You can read more about our social distancing and safe home remodeling practices here.