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How a Bathroom Renovation Can Increase the Value of Your Home: An Interview with Mario Conde of Bath Fitter

By Kristen Bosse

How did you get into this line of work?

A friend of mine who coached youth soccer with me mentioned that he worked for Bath Fitter as an installer. He was always late to practice and he would always tell me how busy he was at work and how they were short on help. I was in the insurance business and had always enjoyed working with my hands and thought that maybe I would try a new line of business and become an installer. I was familiar with Bath Fitter and always thought that it was a great idea but never really had a need for it. My friend set me up with an interview but when I went in for my interview, the human resource director looked at my resume and suggested that I do sales based on my background. Its' been history ever since.

What qualities should a homeowner look for in a good bath/shower remodeling company?

Here are a few questions that I believe a homeowner should ask when looking for a bath/shower remodeling company: How long has the company been in business? Do they have their own installers and plumbers? Is it a reputable business? Do they advertise? Do they belong to the Better Business Bureau? Do they have referrals from satisfied customers? Do they have a showroom where their products can be viewed? Do they offer free in-home estimates without the high pressure sales tactics? Do they have a legitimate place of business? Are their installers certified? Do they offer any type of warranties on their services and products? How are their customer service ratings? Do they treat you like you are the most important customer they have?

What are some easy-to-see signs that your bath/shower needs some work?

The following easily noticeable signs can help you determine whether or not it is time to renovate a certain area of your bathroom: Leaks, outdated colors, difficulty in cleaning, broken, cracking or loose tiles, grout missing from between tiles or tub/wall seams, mold/mildew build-up, bad smell- not fresh smelling, fiberglass units that have a "squishy" feeling when you step on the base

How much can a quality bath/shower remodeling service realistically increase the value of your home?

According to studies done, the bathroom renovation typically yields a 71% return on investment. This is one of the most used rooms in the home besides the kitchen. That being said, a bathroom renovation will greatly increase the value of any home.

Has your business been affected at all by the recent economic climate?

It most definitely has like most other remodeling businesses. However, with a few adjustments and cost cutting measures, we have been able to maintain a comfortable share in the market. We are quickly regaining momentum as of late and we look forward to growing our business in a more efficient manner without sacrificing quality.

What should new homeowners be aware of when dealing with a building company?

It is very important for a homeowner to do his/her homework when hiring a building company. A company's reputation is extremely important and a homeowner should do their research. A homeowner should make sure that the company they plan to hire has great references, has done similar jobs in the past, has good Better Business Bureau standings, and always stands behind their work. Also, if the company subcontracts any of their services, will they stand behind their work as well? Excellent customer service is also very important and should be a high priority on a homeowners checklist.

Are there any common mistakes new homeowners make when dealing with a remodeling company?

New homeowners depend on the professionals to tell them what they don't know. I believe a new homeowner should get different opinions and research all possibilities when making decisions for their new home. Make sure the updates you are doing are going to be the right choices and last for years to come.

What are the most difficult kinds of projects?

In bathroom remodeling , the most difficult projects are those where a customer has unrealistic cost expectations and they choose to do a renovation that is over their budget. Another type of difficult project could arise from the current layout of the customers' bathroom. We run into many plumbing when a homeowner wants to convert a bathtub to a walk in shower. The plumbing needs to be brought up to code and it is often a difficult situation because there is no access to the plumbing that is currently there.

Do you have a personal favorite project you like working on?

I like complete renovations of a bathroom. This is where we take everything down to the studs and subfloor and build everything up according to the customers' requests. This is by far the most satisfying experience because everything is brand new and functional. I like that I have been able to assist in the homeowners design process and helped create the bathroom that fits both their needs and wallet.

What sets your business apart from other companies? What do you do better/different?

Our company has been in business for 30 years and is the pioneer of bathtub liners. We make our own products from raw materials and we are the only company that offers a patented one-piece wall surround. We do the job from beginning to end. We do not subcontract any of our work and most jobs are completed in one day! Bath Fitter is an international company with franchises all over the US and Canada. When a customer purchases a job from our franchise, they have an internationally known brand standing behind the product they are purchasing.

What is the best way for people to contact you?

We can be reached at our toll free number: 800-479-8827 Or by email at info@bathfitter1.com

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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