It is our pleasure to share our experiences with Refresh, and in particular Wayne Gordon.
For a number of reasons we owned two houses, one in Wellington and one in Levin, but age and health changes determined that we had to decide where we were going to live. We chose Levin but we had inherited the house some fourteen years earlier, and nothing had been done to it other the painting the exterior, so we determined that we wanted to do a full renovation to bring the house up to date. Having been involved in renovations earlier, knowing your tradesmen was of extreme importance. To start the process we visited the Home Show in Palmerston North to see what was available. There were various variations of help available, but we were recommended to visit the Refresh stand to see what they could offer.
I can remember my opening remark “I am 71 years’ old, and we have a number of renovations to do, and I don’t want hassles!”
We firstly met Wayne’s wife, Anna, and later Wayne, and the first thing that impressed was their listening abilities, and the lack of high pressure salesmanship. They were nice people.
Our major dealings have been with Wayne, so I should start with our impressions of him. He is ex-army, and the one thing that impresses, not just with us, but also with the tradesmen he employs, is his organisation. He organises when each one will be required, and manages this as the contract goes on so that their visits to the work site are as productive as possible, and not done on a crisis basis. His documentation is exemplary, and he keeps in regular contact as the project proceeds. He was often at the site, and we got regular emails bringing us up to date. He is very pleasant to work with, and there was nothing he was not prepared to help with.
How the project proceeded
First Wayne came and we went through the house outlining the changes we wanted to make. All of the time (and ever after) he took copious notes. After that he brought in the tradesmen he works with to look at their part of the project. It was clear that they all enjoyed working with Wayne, and they were invariably pleasant, attentive and well skilled. All through the project they would talk to us about what they were doing, and often suggest enhancements
There followed a detailed specification, (after which we scaled down our desires - no surprises there), and further specifications followed, sometimes accompanied by a further visit from the tradesmen involved, until we arrived at a specification we were happy with, and an agreed price. Then followed to formal contract, and even with this he showed flexibility to ensure that both parties were comfortable with the contract. Thereafter, that was the agreed price. Any changes we made (and this is inevitable) after that were treated as variations, and priced and agreed before continuation. The documentation was terrific. There were changes, and occasionally delays, but all of the time we were fully informed. At times we made our own purchases, but often Wayne had contacts that ensured that even then we got the best price we could. If we ordered something, for example the toilet we chose which didn’t turn out to be quite what we were looking for, Wayne would return it and get what we did want. All of this was done with good humour, and a genuine concern that we should be happy with the finished product. If we couldn’t get what we wanted (for example the tiles in the bathroom) from his normal suppliers, Wayne himself went around the other suppliers to source exactly what we wanted.
All through this time Wayne was keeping us informed, sometimes by email, sometimes by text and sometimes by phone. Whenever we visited the site, there was always a tradesman wanting to talk to us to ensure that they were doing exactly what we wanted.
There was only one genuinely bad day. As part of the process we had put our Wellington house on the market. We sold by tender and got a price we couldn’t refuse, but we had to be out of the house in a fortnight, a week before Christmas, whereas we thought we would be transferring in about mid January. At the stage we signed the Purchase and Sale Agreement our Levin house was completely uninhabitable. In Levin everyone worked as hard as possible to get things finished, but when the fateful day came we arrived in Levin with things still in a mess. Wayne came in the driveway he said, “Don’t worry, you will be in the house and able to lock up before I go home tonight”. And we were! Wayne brought a vacuum cleaner with him and started on the ghastly process of cleaning up the dust from the building and rendering of the walls, and anything else he could do to help. Nothing was too menial. It was a while afterwards before we could live in the property, but we were able to stay with a relative for a week, and Wayne kept the pressure on to ensure that the essential work was finished, at least to the stage that the house was habitable. Given this was the week before Christmas, no mean achievement.
We are nearly finished now, with all of the extras that needed to be done once the renovations were finished – new carpet on the floor, repairing some windows where catches were old etc.etc. Wayne is still as attentive now, at the end of the contract as he was at the start, and has an impressive number of contacts for any tasks that come up, for example a furniture repairer to fix a dining room table which had been damaged by the carrier on the way from Wellington to Levin. Again, these have also been highly skilled professionals. Again, Wayne has acted as liaison to see that the work was done.
In short, we would not hesitate to have Wayne manage another renovation in the future, and we cannot recommend the Refresh Renovations Palmerston North franchise highly enough. If the other franchises meet Wayne Gordon’s standard, you too will be well pleased.
Bill and Marie Hinkley