Thursday, December 29, 2011

Village Builders 2011 year in review

2011 the year in review for Village Builders Inc.
It has been an interesting year for Village builders Inc in 2011.
For the third straight year the overall work taken on and completed has grown. We have grown every year since the credit crunch and stock market crash of 2008.
2011 was the year of the house for Village builders, we started and completed more houses in one single year than ever before in the company’s 30 year history.
Renovations on the other hand were down compared to the previous two years but still ahead of the pre 2008 pace.
The trend for houses seems to be that they are getting more expense per square foot. Houses now have all the bells and whistles in them and every feature imaginable to make life a little easier. Things such as rough-ins for elevators and generators are now a common theme in all our houses. Electronics and automation is on the rise with more tech savvy clients wanting to be able to control their house functions from there smart phones.
The trend for pre 2008 was that the houses grew in size, but were close to the same price per square foot and tended to be in the chalet or country style. The trend in 2011 was houses of all sizes, shapes, styles and locations but with an ever rising price per square foot.
·         Energy efficiency in all the aspects of the home is growing year over year, 2011 was no different. High efficiency gas furnaces are now the norm and if the property allows geothermal heating seems to be the only sensible option for houses in the country that have no access to natural gas. More insulation is being added to houses, in the walls and in the attic with the rising cost of electricity and gas.
·         A larger percentage of houses that we built or were building in 2011 are getting away from wood siding and are turning to stone or brick. Also cement sidings popularity has continued to grow.
·         Steel roofs have become the most popular option for at least half of the houses that were built. With the uncertainty of the quality of shingles these days and the extreme weather steel will continue to grow in popularity.
·         Decking is undergoing a major revolution with so many new products and options. Builders are being asked to look into products that they have never even heard of or seen before. Composite decking is becoming the most popular because of its longevity and new materials that are making it look more appealing.
·         Fireplaces are growing in size, especially natural gas fireplaces, with so many options out there people are being buried by choices and so are builders.
·         Painted trim is the most popular way to finish off the house in 2011 and reclaimed floors that are finished on site were also the most popular.
·         Window sizes seem to have grown in size. Also the amount of different manufactures that we seem to be using has grown as well.
·         Houses with attached double car garages seems to be the norm again in 2011, this is a trend that has continued for the last couple of years, even with the space for a detached garage people are opting for the attached version.
·         Master suites are now the norm in all houses built in 2011. Suites commonly all contain a large bedroom, large Ensuite bathroom and an ever growing walk in closet with custom shelving units installed.
Overall it seems that homeowners are becoming more and more confused with the over abundance in choices that they are able to find on either the internet or in the stores. There is a growing lag on the building process because of homeowners being bogged down with choices.
Village Builders as a company now employs more people than they ever have before. This is in every department from the operations, office staff and the design.
With the prospect of large new projects in the spring and the current ongoing projects the operations side of the business looks to grow even more in 2012.
With the increased management and growth of the business, perspective clients are being identified earlier on in the building process. Instead of being identified months before there project starts they are now being identified years in advance. This is allowing Village Builders to take a more active role in the planning process of their perspective client’s entire project. This is one of the main reasons for the growth in 2011 in Village Builders.
Overall the year of 2011 was of growth and change with so many new employees.
2012 looks to be another year of growth with less change to structure of the company and more infill around the current structure.
Design Department
This year marks the 1st anniversary of the interior design department at Village Builders. The prospect of growth in this sector seems to be very large as not only new clients are using our service, but former clients as well are taking advantage. The design department has revolutionized the renovation side of the business with new modern designs and out of the box thinking. They are also giving our clients more personal attention than ever before and being able to help keep a strict eye on all the purchasing of materials and order tracking.
2011 was one of the most successful years for Village Builders Inc. and 2012 looks to be even better!

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village builders Inc.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Buying local series: General Contractor

Buying local series: General Contractor
When building a new home it is always best to buy from the local businesses in the area or community that you are constructing the home. No matter if it’s your summer home, second home or your primary residence buying locally always makes more sense. This time I’m writing about the reason you should be having your project managed by a general contractor locally, I’m talking about the local general contractor.
General Contractor:
Of all the different trades that I have written about in this Buying Local Series there is no more important part of building or renovating your home then the general contractor. Without a really good contractor it wouldn’t matter how good the rest of the trades are, the project will not run smoothly or at a high quality if the general contractor doesn’t know what they are doing.
A really good general contractor is not that hard to find, all you have to do is your homework. Since you should be trying to find a local general contractor you can start by talking to the local lumber yard and any local trades that you have had previous experience with and you trust. Check the internet, a good general contractor will have a website and this will tell you a lot about how organized and professional they will be. Ask for a list of references so that you can talk to their previous clients, the longer the list that they will give you, the more satisfied clients they will have.
Here are some reasons why you should look to hire a local general contractor;
·         They will know the trades that will give you the quality that you need and deserve.
·         They will know the local weather conditions and be able to advise you on what products do better in this climate and what products perform poorly.
·         Since they are local they use a lot of the same trades over and over again. This gives them some pull when it comes to getting the job done on time and when you require warranty work done on your house years later.
·         In the future once the project is finished, you will not have to go far to get repairs or warranty service.
·         If you plan to do a series of renovations overtime then they are always close to help you with the planning and executing of these projects.
·         They will know the ins and outs of the local building rules and can help you navigate through it to get your permit in a timely manner.
·         When they give you an estimate they will be able to factor in certain things like weather working conditions, soil conditions and some travel problems. These could end up costing you more money if you went with an out of the area contractor who will charge you extra.
·         You should be able to get them to give you tours of other projects they have done in your area so that you know the quality of work they do and the style that they are use too.
·         They employ local craftsmen; this can help you get to know the community and make new friends and neighbours.
·         Since they use local trades, they will be able to cut down the build time; they will know what trades are busy and what trades are available to do the work.
·         They will know where to get the best price on materials and the best quality of material.
In a world that keeps talking about going green; there is nothing more green then using local businesses. They do not travel as far to work, cutting down emissions, the money stays in the local economy and a lot of the material used on the project will not travel as far because it can be shipped from the source instead of being shipped to different locations.
Remember that the most important decisions that you will make when building a new home or renovating an older one is who you choose for your general contractor. The general contractor will be the one that makes or breaks your project and will be the one that helps it come together in a timely manner.
If you want to see what a quality general contractor should be check out our website
If you require more information on general contractors email me at or if you have a project that you would like us to general for you feel free to contact me.
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bostich, Hitachi, Paslode which are the best framing nailers?

Pneumatic air nailers for framing
Framing pneumatic air nailers are the life breath of any residential construction company. Nothing can bring the construction of a house to a grinding halt faster than the failure of the pneumatic framing nailer.
As the operations manager at Village Builders Inc. I do all the tool purchasing and I have tried most of the different manufactures of air nailers on the market.
Being a custom home company we frame all our houses ourselves.
For the first twenty years we only owned Paslode guns. A couple of reasons why; they were one of the only guns available on the market, they lasted a long time and they took a lot of abuse. But in the last 10 years the market has been flooded with companies making pneumatic air nailers. The prices vary from the cheap to the expensive.
First things first if the price of a pneumatic nailer is too good to be true then it probably is, that means that it is make cheaply. Too many nailers are made with a lot of plastic to help keep the weight down. This might sound like a good thing, except when its -20C and your labour drops the air nailer off the top of the ladder and it smashes on the floor. When you pick it up it rattles and pieces have fallen off it.
Here are some guild lines that I use when shopping for Pneumatic air nailers;
·         When buying a framing nailer you want something made of metal and this means that it isn’t going to be the lightest tool to handle. Remember that what you do is work and that is what your employee’s are going to have to do with it, work. A framer built from metal will last longer in the hands of your carpenters and especially your labourers that don’t realize how much the tool there holding costs.
·         Don’t be afraid to try a different brand if you think the tool looks better and the price is right. Also different nailers have different options. So pick the nailer that suits your needs.
·         Buy your nailer from a place that you will be able give you warranty service and repairs after the warranty has run out. Make sure your buying it from a business that isn’t going to take your tool when it breaks and send it away somewhere else in the country. Every day you’re without your tool is a day that you can’t make money with it. If you have a local tool dealer that might cost you a little bit more but give you better service then go with them. Service always should win out over price.
·         Research your nailer. Look on the internet for tool reviews, look in trade magazines, talk to other people in the construction industry and talk to your local tool dealer. He will be able to give you feed back on what nailers are popular and what nailers are coming back for too much service.
·         Ask your employee’s. This is a big one, your employee’s will tell you if they like the nailer or if they don’t. Maybe they know of problems with the tool that you don’t.
Now for my choice of pneumatic air nailers;
1.       Hitachi-We have owned a few of these guns. They seem to last the longest, because they are made of metal. They are by far the heaviest nailer as well. These guns are a little larger than normal guns, so sometimes they are hard to fit between the studs. But this gun takes abuse and just keeps driving nails. It also toe nails better than most other guns on the market.

2.       Bostich-This gun is a very good quality gun and it is also made from metal. What makes this gun come in as high as number two is that this is one of the only framing nailers that I have found that will shoot framing nails and joist hanger nails. All you have to do is change the head on the end of the gun and it will shoot the joist hanger nails. This has saved us hours of work and many fingers since you don’t have to do it by hand. Also you don’t have to buy a pneumatic nailer that just shoots joist hanger nails. When the heads wear out they are easily changed and are not expensive to buy. The cons with this gun are that the service record though good is not as good as the Hitachi. These framers don’t take the abuse that the Hitachi’s handle. Also these nailers are a little harder to use when toe nailing. A plus for them is that they are a little smaller then the Hitachi’s so they fit between the studs a little easier.

3.       Paslode-They were the industry leaders for years, but the rest of the world caught up to them and in a lot of area’s passed them. I have found that not much has changed with paslode framing guns over the years. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. There track record for tools is very good but a lot of the things like ease of loading and ease of use are just not there compared to the rest of the industry. But paslodes have a great service record and seem to be able to take abuse. The price point of these guns is the big one for me; paslode always seems to be more expensive than any other manufacturer. I have a hard time justifying the price I have to pay to own one.
There are hundreds of framing guns on the market; the only way really to know is by trial and error. But if you start with the 3 that I have listed above you will have a better chance of finding the right one sooner rather than later.
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders inc.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 100 year deck joist

The 100 year deck joist
In today’s world of deck building, everyone is talking about the top of the deck. Should your deck be pressure treated, cedar, composite material or some form of wood that is suppose to last you the lifetime that you own your home.
When building custom decks, gone are the days that you figure the deck will only last 15 years and you will have to tear it down and build a new one. Now if you are spending large amounts of money on the top of the deck then doing a few things to the actual structure of the deck will ensure that you never have to replace it.
First things first. You need to install proper footings to make sure that the deck never moves. The best way to ensure that the deck never shifts is to install FOOTING TUBES. A proper footing tube will come with a flared bell on the bottom, or sometimes called a big foot. A footing tube will start at the bottom at about 24 inches and taper to about 8 to 16 inches at the top. When these are placed a minimum of 4 feet in the ground the frost will never be able to get underneath them and heave the deck. Once they are backfilled and concrete is poured into them you can be certain that they will be there for a lifetime.
A couple of things you need to do before you build the frame of your deck on top of your footing tubes. You should lay filter cloth underneath the entire area where the deck will be constructed. This will ensure that you do not get weeds growing up under the deck. The more organics that you can keep away from the deck the less likely they are to rot. You need to weigh the filter cloth down so that the wind will not roll it up. Usually most people get a small load of gravel and have it placed over the filter cloth.
You will want to make sure that the framing of the deck will be at least 1 ft off the ground. This will allow airflow under the deck which will intern allow the deck joist to dry when they get wet.
If you are hanging the joist off beams or a ledger board, make sure that every joist gets a galvanized joist hanger bracket. You also should only use galvanized hanger nails to fasten the hanger to the joist. This will allow the joist to take a larger load without any movement at the ends.
For all your nailing you should only use galvanized nails and if you are using screws they should be either coated to reduce corrosion or be ceramic screws. This will help extend the life of the fasteners and help minimize repairs in the future.
Once you have placed the joist in the framing of the deck, before you install the top, there is one more thing that you need to do. Install a piece of waterproofing on the top of the joist. You want the waterproofing to be wide enough that it covers the top of the joist and wraps down the side of the joist. The waterproofing should only go about half way down the side of the joist. It should go half way down on both sides. This should be placed on every joist in the deck. The reason that you want to waterproof the top half only of the joist is because this will allow the joist to dry naturally. If you waterproof too much of the joist or all of it then any moisture that the joist does absorb will not be able to evaporate or drain out the bottom. The reason for the waterproofing on top of the joist is because all your fasteners will penetrate the top and on the upper sides. The waterproofing will coat the fasteners going in and stop the water from penetrating the joist. Also the space between the deck boards can be prone to holding water, because the air cannot dry that space.
Once you have the top of the deck on, you should install skirting around the deck from the joist down to the ground. You should use open lattice not closed lattice. This will do a number of things;
·         it will stop animals from making their home under the deck
·         it gives the deck a nice finished look
·         it will allow airflow under the deck to dry the joist.
So there you have what we call the 100 year joist. If you are having a custom deck built and you are planning to put a material on the top to last a life time then make sure that you ask your contractor about the 100 year joist.
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Get your building permit before January 1st 2012

Get your building permit before January 1st 2012
If you are in the process of having a house designed, interviewing builders or you are ready to build but have decided to wait until spring to start construction then you should submit your plans for a permit NOW! If you wait until the New Year your house will cost you more money!
The reason for this is because the Ontario Building code is going through some large changes that will affect you. They have decided to raise the energy efficiency on all new houses. There are going to be certain things that your contractor doesn’t do now that they will be forced to do in the New Year.
The system that is coming out is a columned system. Which means that you pick a column from A to M and you have to follow it through the constructing of the building. This means that if you deviate from the column you will fail your final inspection with the building department.
This new system has to be agreed too when the designer is drawing up the plans. There is a lot of paperwork that the architect will have to prepare for the house plans. If the paperwork isn’t done properly then the building department will not issue a permit for the building.
So any house plans that have been drawn up in 2011 and submitted in 2012 will not be approved. All 2011 plans will have to be completely revised to meet the new code standards. Also the plans will have to be revised showing the column you have decided on.
Another thing that will happen is that you will have less room to change your mind about certain things as the build process progresses. The minimum standards in a lot of areas in the new code are close to the maximum standards in the old code. So in 2011 you were able to pick and choose where you wanted to spend your money, in the new code you will basically only have the choice of spending more money or sticking with the minimum code of 2012. This will probably end up costing you about 20 to 30% more across the board for insulation and heating equipment.
If you want to avoid all of these hassles, you should submit your building plans now before the New Year rolls around. Your plans don’t have to be approved this year; they just have to be submitted so that they are in the system as 2011 submissions. The design costs you save alone will be worth it.
Another major concern is that because the code is changing, the building departments have to relearn all the things that they are looking for in building plans. This means that you will have delays in getting your building plans approved in a timely manner. With a large number of people trying to beat the January 1st deadline with their plans, the building departments will be overloaded. So if you want to start your build in the winter months and you don’t submit your plans until after the New Year you will be waiting a lot longer for approvals. The building department will have to clear the 2011 permit applications before they even start looking at the 2012 applications. Since the 2012 applications are all under the new rules there is bound to be a lot of confusion with what exactly the rules are going to be and how they should be instituted. You could be looking at least a month delay just to get your plans approved by your local township. This doesn’t take into consideration if you have to deal with a conservation authority or a commission who will be even less knowledgeable about the new code changes.
So do yourself a favour and submit your building plans now before the January 1st 2012 deadline. It will save you money from the design end all the way to the finished building.
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Be advised there are changes to the Ontario building code as of January 1, 2012

Ontario Building code is changing as of January 1st 2012
To most people this is probably comes as a surprise, but to builders it is not. We have known that this was coming for about a year. What has caught everyone off guard is that as early as 6 months ago we were told that the government wasn’t ready to implement the new changes. So to everyone’s surprise the government announced that the new rules take effect on January 1st 2012. Like usual the Ontario government is so disorganized that they can’t even give there building inspectors literature on the new changes to the building code yet. As I write this it is the week of December 12th to the 23rd the inspectors just started receiving there literature. I talked to a local building inspector who said that they had just taken a course on it, but the government was so ill prepared that they couldn’t even give them any literature to take home with them.
The changes are all upgrades involving energy efficiency. The bottom line to people that want to build a new home or renovate one in Ontario is that it will cost you more across the board.
I am all for energy efficiency in new homes and I have long been a proponent in raising the new home standards, but to do it in such an unorganized way is ridicules. I personally attended a meeting put on by the local homebuilders association where a government employee presented some of the new code requirements. But she warned us that none of this was set in stone yet and could change. That was in May of this year.
At the moment we are pricing 3 different new home projects for the spring. We just got a look at some of the changes to the building code and have had to call these clients and warn them that we will have to re-estimate there projects because of the changes.
As a custom homebuilder we already do a lot of the new changes in the code as habit. But there are a lot of things that we don’t do because the client has not instructed us because of cost. Because of this we could end up having to raise our prices in some areas of the building as much as 20 percent.
I will give an example,
·       New building codes state that a new house with an attic space must have a minimum of R50, the current standard is R40. That is a 20% increase in cost.
·       New wall insulation is R24, the current code is R22. This means that you might have to install foam on the outside of the building to meet code.
·       Basement insulation has gone up and now you will have to frame 2x6 walls, the old code was 2x4 walls, that’s a 30 percent increase in framing material and insulation.
These are just the tip of the iceberg with the new code changes. We are sitting around wondering how we are suppose to continue estimating if we don’t even know the rules that we are using.
So if you are thinking of building this spring be warned that your costs will be higher!
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to build a hot tub room

How to build a proper exterior hot tub room
Hot tubs have never been more popular than they are right now. The price of hot tubs has come down from even 5 years ago. If you want to get the maximum enjoyment out of your hot tub then you should build a hot tub room for the tub to be placed in.
A hot tub room doesn’t have to be fancy and it doesn’t have to be built into your existing house.
Place your hot tub far enough away from your house that when you build the building over it, it will not conflict with the existing architecture of the house. The hot tub room does not have to look anything like your house, in a lot of situations we build them so that they are completely opposite to the house. Building them out of all cedar, or pine and the house is brick, can give people the feel that the hot tub building is an oasis from the world. You want the hot tub far enough away but not too far. If you have to shovel snow, or walk through a biting wind you don’t want a 5 minute excursion. If you can manage to plan the room along with a deck or patio that will help give everything a linked feel, it will seem like it was always suppose to be there.
How to build your hot tub room;
1.       Strip off the top soil and make level the ground for a concrete pad. The pad should be 4 inches bigger than the hot tub itself. This allows you to move the hot tub when you set it in place a little. Depending on the size and weight of the hot tub your pad should be a minimum of 6 inches thick.
2.       Then install footing tubes where you think you require them. If your hot tub room is a square you probably need four of them, but if it has more corners or you’re spanning more than 14 feet you should probably add in centre posts to take the weight.
3.       Once the concrete has been poured and backed filled, it’s time to install the tub. Place the tub on the concrete pad centring it in the new building. This has to be done before you start constructing the deck or you will never get it in.
4.       Set the height of the deck. You want the height of the deck off the ground so that there can be air movement under it. This will allow the joist to air dry every time they get wet. The higher you can get the deck the better for getting in and out of the hot tub. The best result if you can build the deck 4 to 5 inches below the top edge of the hot tub. This places the deck below the plastic moulded edge. It will show a little of the tubs side material which is usually cedar. This allows the cover to be properly installed when the tub is not in use. The other thing that this allows you to do is keep the floor joist above the access to the motor and pump. If you can’t get the deck joist above the motor and pump area then your going to have to frame a spot in the deck that will allow you to work on the this area.
5.       Frame the deck around the hot tub. The actual joist should be left 2 to 3 inches away from the hot tub, the hot tub once full of water will settle and shift a little depending on the season. You want to give it this room to do that.
6.       The top decking can be whatever you want, a lot of people use cedar or a composite decking material. This will give the decking longer life as it will be getting wet from people exiting the tub. Try to leave a minimum of 1 inch around the tub with the decking so that it has the ability to move. You can always cut some of this decking out in the future if you think the tub needs more space.
7.       Frame the walls and roof beams, if you are putting a roof on this room/building then you can use spruce lumber, but if you are going to leave the top open air then you should use pressure treaded lumber. The walls only have to be framed out of 2 x4’s. Put large 6 x6 posts in the corner to transfer the roof load down to the footing tubes.
8.       Frame in some windows and a patio door, this will give you maximum light and something to look out when your relaxing in the tub.
9.       You can clad the outside of the building in whatever you want. My hot tub room was done in tongue and groove cedar inside and out, installed vertically. I put no treatment on it and allowed it to go naturally grey.
10.   When you frame the roof, try to frame the roof so that you can leave it unfinished.  Use a nicer wood then spruce. Pine or cedar is fine, if your budget allows it use a beautiful hardwood to show off the contours of the roof.
11.   Skylights are always a nice feature, one reason people own a hot tub is so that they can stare at the stars. Depending on size of your room and the size of your budget you can install as many as you want. One other option is to have a custom plastic sky light made. My hot tub room has a 5 x5 foot plastic clear dome in the middle. This requires some tricky framing, but an experienced carpenter should have no problem figuring it out. Plastic skylights are actually cheaper then glass skylights. They also do not come with a flashing kit like a glass skylight, so when you shingle the roof you will have to spend some extra time making sure that you have the plastic domes edges leak proof.
12.   Finish off the room with some electrical outlets and at least one light. When the electrician wires up your hot tub he should mount the GFI breaker panel outside of the hot tub room so that anyone coming to service the tub can easily turn it off.
13.   If you can, install windows that will open so that you can create cross ventilation. Hot tub rooms will become very warm and stuffy if there is no ventilation. If you can’t install windows that open then install louvers. These will allow you to create even more ventilation keeping the temperature relatively comfortable.
14.   Do not enclose around the bottom of the deck where it sits off the ground. You want airflow under the deck to allow the joist o dry when they get wet. Instead install lattice, this will allow airflow to the underside of the deck, keeping animals from living in there and it gives it that nice and finished look.
This will give you a hot tub room that will allow you to use your hot tub all year long. If you bug proof it with big screen then you can use it in the spring when its mosquito season.
Another benefit to a hot tub room is that it will protect your hot tub cover from the elements, wind, rain, snow and the sun age the cover quickly and being inside should extend the life of it. It is also a great way to keep animals from walking on the cover and if you have small children then a lock on the door will give you added safety.
For more tips on hot tub rooms, or if you would like a price on one from Village Builders Inc. Please email me at
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why you should buy tools from Hilti!

Why you should buy Hilti tools!
As the operations manager at Village Builders Inc. I buy all the tools for the company. The busier we are the more tools that require for the growing number of employee’s. The busier you are the more your existing tools get used and abused, thus you have to repair and replace them more frequently.
If you have ever been in a big box construction store you would know that the verity of tools and tool companies has exploded in the last 15 years. Other than the price for a lot of people it’s really hard to tell what good tools are and what are cheap handy man tools. In a business that relies on their tools to bring in the money, buying the wrong tool or tool brand can cost you a lot of money.
The next time you are in one of these big box stores and see dozens of different tool brands, look closely and you will see a lot of similarities in the tools. Parts on one drill look like they’d fit on another that is a different brand, the reality is that they probably would. Those dozens of tool brands are actually owned by only a couple of companies. I will give you an example; if you buy Dewalt tools you are actually buying from Bosch. Bosch bought Dewalt in the last couple of years, Dewalt was owned by Black and Decker. Which means Bosch now also owns Black and Decker. There are other tool brands that Bosch also owns, more than you would think.
All these companies have one thing in common, volume sales. If you buy these brands they come with a warranty of about a year. If you want that warranty the tool has to be sent to facility that repairs them. The average turnaround time to get your tool warranted is about a 4 to 6 weeks. To people that just use their tools on the weekend that probably doesn’t sound like a long time. To a construction company that is an eternity. If I have to lose a tool for 4 to 6 weeks, that means I have to go out and buy a new tool to replace it for that month. Then when the tool returns I have two of them, when I might only need one. If you have ever rented a tool for a week or longer from a rental store you would have realized that for the price of the rental it’s actually cheaper to buy the tool outright.
So for construction companies like Village Builders I found the solution, it’s a company called HILTI. You probably have heard of them, they are the company that pioneered the powder activated nail gun the “HILTI GUN”. It basically uses a 22 gauge load of gun powder to shoot nails into concrete and steel, saving you the time of having to drill a hole and drive or screw a faster in. They are also famous for their large breaking hammers and drills.
Hilti sells a wide variety of tools now days. They are heavily invested in the cordless tool market. Hilti is a company that is constantly striving to perfect their tool and are never afraid to reinvent a tool or tool design. Hilti tools are known in the construction industry as an extremely well built tool. But where Hilti stands head and shoulders above the other tool companies is there customer service. I will give you an example, if you send in your cordless hammer drill on a Monday by Purolator, they will assess the tool and if it’s under warranty still fix or replace the tool and have it back in your hands for Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. If it’s under warranty even the shipping back and forth of the tool is free. I the tool is not under warranty, they will call you on the Tuesday and tell you the price to fix it. If you agree to the price of the repair then you will still have the tool back to you by Thursday morning. This allows companies like mine to have tools repaired or replaced in less than 4 days instead of months.
A lot of the tools that Hilti sells come with multiyear warranties, so there are a lot of times when the tool is a year and a half old and it is fixed or replaced for free. This comes in handy for cordless tools because the warranty applies to the batteries and the charger as well.
If you send them a tool no matter how old and the cost of the repair is too high for the age of the tool. They will offer to buy the broken tool from you if you buy a new tool to replace it. That’s right Hilti will pay you for the broken tool!  There are a couple of reasons for this;
·         Hilti wants to encourage you to buy more of their product
·         Hilti believes that happy customers will spend more money with their company, recreating customer loyalty.
·         Every Hilti tool that is bought from Hilti has a serial number that is recorded in their computers. This helps them track your warranty, it also helps stop theft. If you take a tool you bought to Hilti, they will first check to see if the tool is stolen or not! If it is they will give the tool to the police. So they don’t want you selling Hilti tools to other people that aren’t in there system.
·         The bigger Hilti tools have a record of use; this will give Hilti valuable information on how the tool performed in its life time and changes that need to be made in future models to extend life.
·         Hilti doesn’t want you selling a tool to someone else if it’s faulty because that can reflect negatively on Hilti.
To add to the customer service of Hilti, they have reps that service the area in which you run your business. Once the rep gets to know your business, he will stop in and let you know of any deals or sales that are happening. He also carries around in his red truck all the latest Hilti tools, big and small. So if you want to try out a tool for a couple days before you buy it he will lend you that tool. He will also be able to give you the Hilti catalogue. Hilti doesn’t just sell tools; they also sell a wide verity of construction materials, such as spray foam and different adhesives. They sell blades for every cutting and grinding tool that they make. The Hilti rep can also show you how to properly care for and proper operate your tools, to extend the life of the tool. I am on a first name bases with my rep, his name is Chris and I’m pretty sure he has me on speed dial these days for the amount of product and tools that I buy off him.
Hilti also allows you to buy anything you want from them on their website, allowing you to purchase anything they sell hassle free, shipped straight to your door.
So the next time you are looking to buy a tool, try looking at Hilti, you will be surprised!
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.