We were looking forward to giving an A+ review for Invision. We believe with a shift in perspective they can get there consistently, but they will need to humbly reflect and act differently to achieve this. Mistakes happen. How you deal with them leaves a lasting impression.
To the reader, you will need to decide for yourself what your own expectations are for a floor replacement project. What we describe below were ours. It could have been much different and we sincerely wish it was. In time, we know we will appreciate our new floors, but the process to get them in could have been managed very differently leading to a materially different final impression.
The key theme for our review is: Doing it right is NOT the same as making it right.
Doing it right in this context means treating the property like it was your own: minimizing damage to the homeowners property regardless of the disclaimers they sign, ordering enough wood to do the job properly, not installing cracked, crushed from a drop or otherwise flawed boards (or cut those pieces off before installing), installing the right size registers in the right places and doing your own sweep for quality installation, squeak reduction and general appearance, not waiting to have the customer raise matters with you. Keep a high bar. And of course, if you do screw up like we all do, apologize and overcompensate in the recovery acknowledging the inconvenience your errors have caused leaving on a high note. Quality control is a proactive practice, not a reactive practice; that is remediation. Remediation of course is table stakes. Professionalism is doing it all without being asked.
This fundamental perspective is where we differed from Dov and Roy at Invision and it left a very poor impression despite the fact that we have new floors.
Lets begin with the sales process. This is where expectations were calibrated.
Our prime reason for replacement was squeaking floorboards. We did not have a lot of time to run around town meeting different providers and we had a couple prior quotes to understand baseline. We looked at Homestars, looked at the list and my eye caught Invision. I looked at the map and set up an appointment. Dov was welcoming and hospitable. Made time for us and had lots of patience and knowledge that he shared gratuitously. He has been at this for 20 years and his experience was appealing. We were happy to pay a premium for premium service and less headache. (This was our thinking anyway) He was very flexible in letting us take multiple samples home for us to try in our environment. He ballparked price, it fit my budget and we made our decision after the winter break to proceed. The quote came after a site visit by Dov where he looked at the peculiarities of our project, his measurements and advice. He cautioned that while we are trying to solve the squeaking problem, they would do their best but could not guarantee a squeak-free experience. Noted. Disappointing that it couldnt be completely solved we appreciated that they were up-front about that to calibrate our expectations. Again, at the time we felt like we were in good hands.
We have a modest home that is 100 years old and their experience with these kinds of properties was certainly appealing. We felt we were in the hands of someone who cares and we agreed to their quote. During COVID, we understood supply chains are a mess and he aptly managed our expectations about the ordering process, delivery times and scheduling of the removal and install. We settled on a mutually acceptable date with some wiggle room for time to complete. Dov ordered the wood after we signed and paid our deposit and then it was delivered by Dovs partner Roy a day before install was to begin. At this point, they were knocking it out of the park. I was so relieved to be dealing with what appeared to be professionals.
I think the trouble we had can all be traced back to two main causes: 1) not enough wood was ordered, and 2) inconsistent attention to detail
The crew showed up each day on time and were always polite. Matt and team were friendly and efficient. Roy made an appearance each day to collect payment, but also to oversee progress. This was good to see and we assumed this meant that the care promised on the front end would be delivered on the back end.
Sadly, this was not what we experienced.
It is fair to say that when we pay for professionals we expect professionalism. Seems like a reasonable thing to expect. Part of professionalism is using your experience to do what was contracted to the standard agreed to along with some reasonable expectations that often go unsaid. These might include: we will treat your property with care, we will monitor quality and consistency of installation and replace boards or other materials provided that do not meet their own standards, when we make mistakes we will proactively own them, apologize and make it right without the need for you to find and negotiate these, etc.
Back to the wood supply. There was the in-home measurement and the calculation that Dov made for overage. I assume they have done this hundreds of times if not thousands over 20 years.
They ran out of wood on our job. This, we believe led to them cutting corners and using boards that should have been rejected, replaced or otherwise altered to remove damage or cracks from dropping or from the source manufacturing. Of course, we would expect an occasional board to have a flaw that could be altered or omitted. But when they didnt have enough to work with these flawed boards were installed. This should have been a preventable situation given their experience measuring and ordering, validation of their vendor quality control and needing overage.
Now, you might be thinking what's the big deal? Well, trust is one of those things that one can grant up front, but once you see one thing it makes you a little more sensitive to others, then there is an accumulating effect if the quantity and range becomes significant. A mistake here and there no big deal - as long as they make it right. But a range accumulates and eventually destroys goodwill.
While the potential for nicks in doors, frames, baseboards and walls were all noted upfront in the quote they are still jarring to see. But we noted them and moved on.
Then there were other points in care for property that occurred like cigarette ash on our porch left on ground and their supplies and a fresh paint tray/roller left on our living room carpet without a drop cloth. So careless, we thought. Use an ashtray and lay a drop cloth. Do we need to note this to professionals?
So, we then were attuned to a standard of care that was not being met, which compelled us to pay closer attention to the installation. And with this, we found more that we did not want to see.
I was pleasantly surprised that they covered one of our smoke detectors at the top of the stairs with plastic during the removal. I thought nice touch only to notice that they didnt do the same to the one at the bottom of the stairs. So I had to shake it out and vacuum that one. No biggie.
Some of the details and craftsmanship are very nice like the transition they built to the bathroom tiles, the colour matching of the custom stair treads and the custom register installs for two of the rooms. They definitely have the skills.
Then the inspection once the installation was done. We noticed a day into the install a board that was marked with what was speculated to be a wax pen for cutting lines. The board was in an obvious place at the top of the stairs thus visible and I was assured by Roy that this is what it was and it would be handled. What I didnt expect was a different colour of wax crayon was used to cover it up. It looked like a kindergarten drawing. It was embarrassing that I had to point something like this out to them. Oh, ok was the response.
Then I pointed out a few lifted edges of boards in high-visibility and traffic areas. They had to be pounded down or replaced. But again, I had to find them and request they be dealt with.
Then there was a board that was dropped (one assumes) and the corner was crushed. Right in front of our closet. Yet it was installed anyway. Why wouldnt they saw off the end and use the board with a clean cut? Your guess is as good as mine, but I think it stems back to the inadequate supply of wood. You can see a theme developing. I could too. Now I had to wonder what else did they miss?
This one is more significant. So they leave after the installation and invite us to look around. I would have wanted them to do this quality control sweep, but I guess this is not part of their process. So my wife gets home and I hear the furnace turn on and I hear a high pitched sound coming from the register in the master bedroom. It think maybe they accidentally left the stuffing in the pipes? Perhaps the furnace was in need of a tune up? Nope. I lifted the register cover off and it stopped. I looked closer to try to understand what was making the sound and something looked off but I couldnt place it. It seemed smaller. I get on my knees to look at the register and noticed that they installed the wrong sized register. We had custom flush registers made by them and two were 4X10 and one was 3x10 to install in my sons small bedroom with a smaller vent. They installed the 3x10 in a 4x10 hole in the master bedroom. This is where the credibility of this mistake set me back. How could they make such an error? The smallest, well-marked register in the biggest room having to cut boards to compensate for the cavity mismatch. This cannot be someone not having enough coffee that day. So I took some pictures showing the cavity and error and sent to Roy and Dov.
Roy comes back to look at all the areas we noted so they can address and he comes to the register. He then proceeds to speculate all the possible reasons why they made that decision. I stopped him incredulously and said, Roy, it is clearly a mistake. Pause. Then he replied with we could replace that for you if you want and I could not believe it. Listen, you make a mistake, call it and proactively fix it. Dont wait for the client to grimace and say do you want us to make it up to you? Was that ever a question? This is where he lost me and his credibility plummeted. Mistakes happen. Own them without the client saying you should own them. There is a big difference. The remaining goodwill was lost here.
So they ordered another box of wood, it came within two weeks and they came back to replace a cracked board, the marked up one atop the stairs, replaced one or two of the ones that were rising at the edges and tried to eliminate some of the squeaks that remained by injecting something in between the boards. The vent was replaced, but now looked coarse given the extraction and retrofit, not seamless like the other two. Plus, the replacement register insert had scratches on it from either installation or manufacturing so he had to fabricate a third one! This was done within a day, but their credulity and my patience had long since been strained.
Throughout this, it was Roy coming back to deal with our concerns. Dov ceased communication once the challenges started rolling in. We were disappointed as Dov sold us on the job.
The final annoyance was a cracked board under the master dresser. One does not expect cracked boards in newly laid floors. We didnt see this as they moved the dresser back after the floor was installed. I was on my hands and knees and found a crack beside an errant felt pad from one of the legs. Why was I on my hands and knees you ask? Cleaning resin or epoxy off of the floors. They left without doing this for us. Sloppy, but Ive never been afraid of a little elbow grease. I noticed the pad, worried about scratches and then put my hand under to feel close to the pad. Instead, I found what felt like a crack. I couldnt safely move the dresser myself so took a phone picture and sent it to Roy and Dov. Roy came the next day, confirmed the crack and said it is insignificant and assured us that is won't get worse therefore not worth addressing. Again, we were surprised. He brought a can of acetone and cleaned two areas that had the residue in the bedroom and hallway. Details.
It all started with the measuring and ordering of supplies, the inconsistent attention to detail and now the way the accumulation of mistakes were handled. My wife greeted Roy upon his return and asked him: Would this be standard be ok in your home? Blank face. Silence.
After a heated exchange the conclusion he reached was: We did not meet your expectations. Emphasis on your expectations like we are somehow the culprits. I cant help but think an extra box of wood upfront would not have exposed this comedy of errors. Maybe we would have given a 10 out of 10 review, but the way they handled themselves was simply disappointing.
After the weekend, we received the final invoice for the amount we owed. No apology note, no gesture of conciliation, no card in the mailbox saying sorry for all the many inconveniences have dinner on us, or something similar. Nada. So I paid the final bill immediately in full and awaited my final receipt keen to never have to deal with them again.
But wait, theres more. Roy sent another note about a week or so later saying they miscalculated and claimed we owed a few more hundred dollars due to an error on their side. I kid you not.
We care about details when we are paying for what is positioned as a premium service. So, in closing, you need to decide for yourselves whether what we describe is our unique expectations or whether these are simply standards they should impose upon themselves.
They certainly have the capacity to be ten stars, but the management of detail and quality control needs work to get there. For your sake I hope they do.
- Approximate cost of services:
- Company Response
Hi David – thank you for your thorough and detailed review.
Our goal is the same every time and with every customer – to leave them feeling that every effort was made to provide a great service while leaving behind a great product.
Your hardwood floors look beautiful as do your stairs. We hope you and your family enjoy them for many years to come.
A point of clarification however regarding the quantity of hardwood that was ordered. Based on the measurements [359']– and by no stretch a complicated measure – a hallway and three small bedrooms – we had 11% allocated for waste, so well prepared. Despite this healthy waste margin we had just enough wood to finish the job.
As we explained the “waste factor” is not a perfect science but industry standards somewhere between 5% to 10%. Sometimes these things happens despite the fact that we always try our best. Your are right about old homes often not being the perfect canvas to work on. We ended up purchasing another box, at our cost, to address a couple of boards that you were unhappy with and you kept the leftover hardwood material.
We are sorry you were unhappy with how certain aspects of the job unfolded and despite our best efforts and immediate attention we were not able to live up to your expectations.
Dov, Roy, and the Invision Team.