Tell us about yourself?
In 1977, fresh out of school, I started working for a Diamond polishing firm. But very soon switched to Civil Contractor work. I learned work from my brother in law Mr Keshav Mistry (Satara). Mainly Tiling work. Once I had picked up how things work, my relative from Mumbai offered me Partnership. This was in 1978.
I moved to Mumbai in 1978 and worked here till 1985. I Mumbai, I did projects for K Raheja, Nahar Builders, Rajdeep and later for Mayfair housing. I was involved mainly in Tiling related work for all these big builders. It was going good. We had around 200 labours and it was growing day by day. Unfortunately, due to some person family reasons, I had move back to my hometown Satara in 1985.
In Satara, I struggled for 2 yrs. There was work, but no labour/skilled workers. Slowly I formed a team, started finding people to do job and things started falling in place. Even today I am based in Satara, but do lot of work in Pune and nearby cities. Almost every year, I do projects in Pune, Karad, Koregaon and lot of nearby Cities.
Since last 6 months I am completely occupied with work in Pune. There is one big project by K Raheja. I have a big team taking care of Civil work(Interior), its a big tower and there are couple more towers lined up.
I do lot of traveling across Pune – Satara. Spend 2 to 3 days every week in Pune. I have supervisors in my team for bigger projects. Also get help from Engineers. In satara, most of the projects are Home renovation.
How do you compare work in New buildings vs Home Renovation for Home owner in City like Pune or Mumbai?
Both types of projects need attention and efforts. One big difference is – in complete buildings projects, once you have completed couple of Apartments/flats, whole team knows exactly what needs to repeated for rest of the building. Things run faster as time passes.
In Home Renovation, every project is Unique. Expectations of Home owners, budget, timing, limitations due to size and shape of house. There are lto of things which need to be thought about. Also you have to make home Owner understand best possible solution in given condition. With every project you build a life long business relation. most of these customers later refer you to friends and family for their Home Renovation.
What kind of work have you done in Mahabaleshwar and Panchgini ?
I have done Construction work for many Hotels – soem of them are Rohit Hotel, Lake view, Dream land in panchgani. I did work for New Era School. Sometimes I feel, small simple Home Renovation projects are more satisfying, because Home Owners make sure to make payments on time, they show sincerity. It would sound contrary but big time companies make it much tougher to complete payments compared to individual Home Owners.
If some Home owner wants to Renovate/ Repair his house – what are some of the top things he/she should take care of?
There are lot of things. A good contractor can make lot of difference. First one or two meetings he explains things, shares ideas. Understands your requirements and expectations. I personally discuss solution as per requirement. Many ask for renovation of only Kitchen. Many owners tell us to renovation only Tiles/flooring and kitchen structure but re-use plumbing connections. So you see things are different all the time. We recommend things and then Owner decide how much he wants to spend. Once decided, we execute project accordingly. Many owners have lot of concern about spending less money, they end up re-using stuff which may not last longer. Also in future same re-used pipelines could cost you more to fix. We explains all such things to owners. We have seen everything that happens before and after a Home is Renovated.
I also take care of suggesting and planning how things should be planned. You want Aqua-Gurad, Oven and lto of other amenities inside Kitchen. I explain how that could be done.
In addition, nowadays Vastu Shastra is given lot of importance. So if asked by Home Owner, I include that aspect in to planning. There are many DOs and DONTS as per Vastu for every corner of the house. We work with Home Owner to figure out what can be done and what things we will have to let go.
Tell us about some of common challenges you face in Home Renovation projects in city like Pune etc?
I wont be able to answer completely, but there so many aspects to consider. Many people want to make RCC change like shift a wall or remove a wall completely. We have to consider lot of things to make decision – how old is the building, is there any beam conflicts, strength of the building. So whtever is there in the mind of the client that has to be cleared with the contractor or the designer first intself like color choice, Tile purchasing, furniture color etc. I cannot answer you completely, but we do this all the time, we make sure work goes smooth and there are no clashes ahead.
Any challenge you face in doing business?
There is no fun without challenges. Lot of things have to fall in place. I have given up lot of Business Enquiries from Bangalore Chennai etc thinking about language barrier. But I now I feel that is never a problem. Within Pune and other cities there are so many things that look like a big problem but slowly gets solved. I have had Builders/clients who gave me small project and then added more and more newer projects. You think you have just fetched 3 months work, but you keep getting new work which goes on for years. Sometimes there is labour problem. I have one project where I started with couple of people and eventually new Flats/work got added and at one point I had a big team of 50 people on site.
Payments are one big trouble maker. Most of the projects you have to do balancing act. You start working on a project with complete trust in front party. Most of them turn out to be sincere, very few occasions where there troubles in clearing bills.
Is there any message you want to give to new comers in Civil Contractor work or Interior?
Well…one important thing not only for construction professionals like myself, but also for Home Owners : – never get in to game of breaking market price to fetch more work. You can get new contract that way but eventually you wont be able to manage cost of labour and building material. So neither you will execute project as per requirement and nor Home owner will be happy. Labour and material has their market cost, there is no way you can escape these. Never cheat customers, because dont think of them as just one small project, think of them as life long business partners. I get work from people I have known for decades now.
Unless and until you have enough experience stay close to experienced people and focus on learning. Do not become greedy and rush in to problems.
In recent times I have seen many Contractors who would break market price and take project and then leave project in between. You have done no good to anyone. Neither yourself nor to customer.
Any message for readers of ContractorBhai.com?
Ya if you read this online, I am hoping it helps Home Owners and Contractor Community
If someone wants to Renovate/Repair Home are you available?
yes please! you can call me on my cell +91-9422401314