People say to us all the time, “You’re in Minnesota, (home of the Minnesota Vikings) how does this work long distance?” Well, I admit, we have to be very efficient to make it work, but it has been working for many years, so I guess that tells you, we are very efficient! When you call, we will chat about where you live, and what the purpose for the conservatory might be. Some people are looking for a place to relax and watch the stars and the moon. Others want to raise fresh fruits and vegetables all year around. A place for a swim under the stars maybe another reason, or, a combination of any of these spaces. It is important for me to determine the application intended. In other words, what are your expectations? If I’m a good listener, the final product will be just what you expected and more! I am also very sensitive to the age and design of your home. The room must ‘work’ with the architecture. (See my blog on Fit or Folly for further explanation).
Some calls I receive, an architect has been employed and there are drawings in place. Most inquiries have no drawings, so we start from scratch. In all these examples, I am assuming this is not a commercial building, but it may be a newly constructed home, so we need to know that as well. The question remains, how do you do this from Minnesota?
First of all, after we have discussed the above mentioned subjects, I look at some photos of your home, that you will be asked to email, and I will study the measurements you have taken for me. They are not exact measurements to build from, but close enough for me to create a ‘concept’ drawing. I do hand sketches, and our own staff, licensed architect, takes the notes that I give to him and he creates a wonderful elevation, various view drawing of the conservatory I think I hear that you would like. All of this work has been at no cost to you! We are happy to consult and work with our clients to show them that they can work with a family from Minnesota, and we are more than capable of producing a wonderful product. If you want to modify the drawing, no problem, but once we come to a basic concept that fits your needs, we then work to figure every screw and nail in the project to come up with a reasonable price for your end construction.
This is called the budget. It is not a bid, but it gives you a very close idea of the final cost, and it has options, so you can control pricing yourself. If you approve of the budget and the design, I make arrangements to come to your home and we sit in the kitchen table and sort out the details. I take lots of photos and accurate measures, while we discuss options for the room and any other details that might affect the end design (like roof drainage from your house).
If we are still on track, we enter into a ‘design agreement’ which is an agreement that charges us to produce a detailed set of architectural drawings for the project, along with specifications and final pricing. OK, now you ask, who does what? If this is all new construction, a local contractor may have to get involved. What we build is a specialty product! Glass structures can/should only be built by people who are trained, experienced and know just what they are doing. LEAK is a four letter word and not one we use in our day to day vocabulary!
Who builds it? We do. This is not sub contracted to locals. No way. Only our staff touches your room and takes full responsibility for its outcome. We have calls from people who have bought conservatories from another company and had another builder install it. Then the trouble starts and guess what? Two companies on either side of you pointing fingers at each other and the guy in the middle (that is you, guy or gal) gets stuck with the problem. Now, don’t get me wrong. When a hurricane hits or there is a big storm, our phone rings and rings but NEVER from our customers. Awhile back, we wrote about Amdega Conservatories, who unfortunately went out of business. Our phones we’re ringing off the hook back then too- but this time from their customers who lost thousands of dollars in deposits and needed help. So, rest assured, we stay with our customers for years after the installation. We all become friends and good acquaintances who share our great stories and joy of owning a crystal palace.