Yankee Renovation / Frank Judge
Contact: Frank Judge
7 Willow St
Dedham MA 02026
Look them up on Angie’s List
It’s no surprise that the evil floods destroyed our basement. Well, the new basement is completely done and BEAUTIFUL! I thought I’d put in my two cents on the company we went with: Yankee Renovations (owned and operated by a good man named Frank Judge).
This is a copy of my very thorough review at Angie’s List:
Yankee Renovation, Frank Judge
Completed: January 17, 2011
Approximate Cost: $40,000.00
Original quote: $36,000.00
Summary of the work done:
Rebuild gutted basement: put up walls, new floors, remove walls, replace furnace, move furnace orientation, insulate outside facing walls, lay down carpet in the study.
Frank Judge, owner and general contractor at Yankee Renovations, made a great impression from the start: not only was he the only contractor we interviewed (out of 5) who was able to bring forward a quote within a week, but he was the ONLY general contractor who brought in his HVAC and electrical contractors in to see the work within that week, only to make sure his quote would be as accurate as possible. By the end of quote week, he had been to our house 3 times (compared to the other contractors who just came in once for a look). Although we did receive other quotes that were considerably lower than Frank’s, we felt strongly that Frank’s was the only quote we could trust. When Frank gives you a price, he will try to stick to it throughout. In our case, the original quote was for $36,000. However, due to (inevitable) adjustments and a few structural surprises, the final price ended at $40,000. Any job should budget for these “surprises,” and we knew that going in. But that was better than accepting a quote for $27,000 and watch it balloon up to $40,000. The expectations must be set realistically, and Frank was the only one that gave us a realistic price.
As opposed to other contractors, Frank never nudged us against getting permits. He was always 100% ready to go to the town hall and get his papers and inspections in order. This was a KEY selling point for us. In fact, the day I called him to give him the job, I had a surprise for him: we had just found out that we needed a permit by the NEXT DAY in order to apply for a certain loan at a specific interest rate. He immediately flew down to Norwood city hall and worked his magic even though he had not previously had a relationship with any of the inspectors in this town. Miraculously, he was able to get the permit that same day (they normally take anywhere from a week to a month).
The basement was completely gutted. We had already taken care of removing asbestos tiling and old studs off the walls. Frank’s job was to take our architect’s design, and make it work. This included installing a brand new furnace (in a different orientation as the last one, making the job more difficult), create a big closet space, tear down a couple of walls, lay down tile floor, put up walls and insulation around the house, and paint/insulate and lay down carpet in a room in the basement. It was not a small project.
Frank’s crew started work on the last week of October, and gave us a quote for 90 days. He finished the work completely by January 17th, marking 84 days of work. He is likely to quote a high date range, and strive for finishing weeks early. In our case, we were out of town for part of December, and for the last few weeks of those 84 days we were waiting for the right time to complete the inspections. However, the actual work was done within 60-70 days from the start, which pleased us very much.
Frank’s team was clean and efficient. They kept a neat work site, and always worked during the day, such that we were never bothered in the evenings.
Frank was always in touch. He picked up his phone 90% of the time, and the rest of the time he replied to voicemails on the same day or the day after. He made sure we always knew what was going on with the basement. We felt communicated to every step of the way.
Frank also was willing to work with us on paying for certain things with a credit card, such that we wouldn’t have to wait around for a building loan to come through to come up with the cash for the job. For instance, we paid for the floor tile and the furnace by credit card on our own.
Not only was he willing to work with us on a realistic payment schedule (which was based purely on building milestones), but he also looked for the best deal for us. For instance, the floor tile was the same kind he used in a previous job, and he found out that the company was discontinuing that particular color. So he got a 50% discount on the tile, which saved us an important amount of money. He also helped us pick a carpet that was to our liking, and he alerted us that there was a particular color that was on sale. He tried to help us save money wherever he could.
He was also very open to suggestion. I am not an easy customer. When I set my mind to one way, it is very hard to change my mind. With Frank, it was never him against me. It was always “how are WE going to make that happen in a realistic fashion?” He had great points and showed an immense amount of patience with me. He talked me out of having hard wood floor in the basement, and he was right. We could not be happier with the results.
We have had no issues with the end result of the work, and we feel very lucky to have found Frank to guide us through it and to help us accomplish it in just 2 whole months of actual labor. We were never disturbed, and we were communicated to every step of the way. I always said I would pay a premium for hiring someone who could give me the same peace of mind as Mike Holmes gives to his clients on his famous HGTV show. I would dare to put Frank Judge on the same level.
Now, Frank isn’t perfect! His flaw? The man talks! You’ll know what I mean if you do choose to call him up 🙂 We were able to live with it. It’s a small price to pay for such incredible work quality and ethic.
We are still in touch with Frank, and we do hope he will help us build a master suite addition in a few years. He has built his business on relationships, and we are comfortable entrusting him with any job that may pop up in our home.
We would recommend Frank Judge for any remodeling job.
Sump pump casing
Sump pump is at the floor level inside the casing
View of the laundry room from the living room
Brand new furnace: new orientation