Contractors / By Anne Zhou / October 25, 2016
Meet the Contractor: Aaron
Sweeten handpicks the best local general contractors for major renovations. The screening process can be a bit technical (licensing, insurance, references, portfolios, experience and beyond…!) but we love getting to know these experts and want to share their stories with you – where they’re from, what they love most about construction, and what renovation challenges they face. Today, meet Aaron!
Where are you from and how long have you been in construction?
I’m from New York, born and raised in Queens. I’ve been in construction for almost 15 years now.
How did you get into construction?
I kind of fell into the construction industry by mistake. It started with a part-time job while I was in high school, working for a friend of the family who had a pretty big construction company. I have some family background in the industry, but never gave being in construction any thought. I really wanted to be in finance at that time, I thought of myself as a finance guy. But, after a while I realized I just loved speaking and working with people. I really liked engaging new clients, hearing about their prospective projects, and learning what they were looking to do–and it kind of snowballed from there. I found that I really liked the business and then once I got a little more involved in actually seeing the type of jobs that the company was doing, what you uncover during the work, how you fix it, then seeing the end result, I found all of this to be really exciting.
What do you love most about construction?
One of the things I really love most is seeing progression. I love how we are taking something and have the ability to completely change it, it’s so cool. Seeing a job from start to finish really is a lot of fun. My favorite part on the creative side is when we’re going through the planning and the “teasing out ideas” phase with our clients – I really enjoy that. Of course, it’s fun to meet new people as well, we’re dealing with different personalities, styles, and property types, on a daily basis. There’s always something new around the corner, needless to say, my job never gets boring!
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is someone who doesn’t want to be their own general contractor and who can really trust and confide in us for our opinion. This way, we can truly have a collaborative effort in creating a great space for them. Most of our clients are professionals that don’t have the time to do everything and appreciate the high level of service we provide.
What is the biggest challenge for you guys renovating in New York?
One of the biggest challenges for us is the number of building management companies and how they operate. They all have different turn around times which can affect a project’s timeline, which is sometimes hard to forecast. Each individual building has their own quirks as well. We work through these things, but it can be challenging at times.
What do you think is the biggest misconception that homeowners have when starting a renovation project?
The biggest misconception is that a lot of people think that their project is going to be very quick, be able to start the very next day, and be inexpensive, because it’s just a small kitchen or just a small bathroom – they just saw an entire renovation on a television show, which was really weeks or months of work in just 30 minutes! Budgets and time lines! Good things take some time, right? You can’t just hire someone off the street to work in your home. You need to have a professional that has all the proper credentials, certifications, licenses, insurances, and really gets the process. Most importantly, someone you can gel with. That’s the only way you’ll get the proper outcome. For a lot of people we speak to, we need to be clear that there is almost always a wait to start a project. We are usually booked out several months in advance to begin physical work, although we begin working behind the scenes right away.
Favorite New York City restaurant?
Joe’s Shanghai is an all-time favorite of mine in New York City. Ultimate comfort food.
Favorite New York City building or structure?
The Freedom Tower: It has a special meaning to me and many other New Yorkers. To me, it represents progress.
Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.