One stop shop: 5 Questions for Tom Hess
For Tom Hess, owner of T.H. Renovations, it's been a balancing act between getting materials and scheduling work.
For 5 Questions this week, the Herald spoke to Tom Hess, owner of T.H. Renovations in Grand Forks, on Dec. 9.
Q: As people continue to stay at home during the pandemic, anecdotally at least, home improvement projects have increased. Have you been busy?
A: I've been extremely busy. When I started four years ago, I was worried about having enough work, and I could actually use a little more help. We travel quite a bit, we go from Grafton to Grand Forks to Devils Lake. It's amazing, it's hard for people to find people that do what I do. Everybody's a specialist now. These other companies, they want to do all your windows they don't want to just do a window. A lot of people, they only have the money or the will; they just want a new front door and a new front window. It's a niche market. I'm a one-stop shop for most of it.
Q: What kind of projects are popular?
A: It's a lot of remodeling stuff, like kitchens and bathrooms, sheet rock and that kind of stuff. All summer long we've done lots of doors, windows, some roofing. You do the outside stuff when it's nice and you do the inside stuff when it's cold.
Q: Have construction or remodeling supplies been scarce, and how have you managed that? How were homeowners feeling about some of these delays?
A: All of the treated work products have been really hard. A lot of the decking stuff is made in Canada, Mexico and China. A lot of it is order and wait. Some (projects) we pushed off to next year. I have two or three decks to do next spring just because I couldn't get enough treated wood to do them. Other building materials have just gone up in price, like sheet rock and regular studs. Well, nobody's happy with it, but I think everybody understands. You can't make it, you have to wait for it. It makes it tough for scheduling.
Q: Have you been able to do more outside jobs than usual with the mild weather in November and December?
A: Yes, it’s been great. This afternoon we're going to go work in one lady's basement, and we're going next door to put a storm door on, because it's going to be 43 degrees. You can put windows in pretty much year-round, but it's a whole lot nicer when the weather's nice, and you're not having to trudge through snow outside. Everything goes faster when it's warmer.
Q: I think you're involved in racing. What can you tell us about that?
A: (Hess’s son) Trey races. He races in Devil's Lake and in Grand Forks mostly. He finished second in points in Grand Forks, and he won the points Championship at Devil's Lake, in his class. I'm just a money man, I guess. You need somebody who can do the mechanical, and somebody, of course, has to pay for it. Sponsors only pay for so much.