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Sunday, Mar 3, 2024

Fast “Pain Free” Remodeling

Matt Plaskoff had been working as a general contractor for 20 years, running a successful construction company featured in half a dozen magazines including Architectural Digest and In Style, and working with ABC’s hit reality show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, when he decided to launch One Week Bath. The goal was simple: to make bathroom remodeling fast and hassle free and, as the name implies, fix bathrooms in five days. “I thought, ‘What if I can take just one piece of the remodeling business and systematize it’?” he said. “Everyone has at least one bathroom in their homes, it’s a complicated project with a finite number of floor plans, and so I thought, ‘Okay I’m going to try this'”. Five years and 900 bathroom remodels later, his company’s formula for simplifying a process that all too often is disruptive, frustrating and cumbersome, continues to prove successful despite the recession’s toll on the construction industry. With typical project costs between $18,000- $22,000 per bathroom, One Week Bath is keeping busy, receiving 120 calls for service a month, according to Plaskoff. And the company is preparing to roll out nationally. The first One Week Bath unit outside California will start operating in Kansas City in the coming days, and Plaskoff hopes to have units in Chicago; Phoenix; Columbus, Ohio; Las Vegas and Oregon in the future. “Some people would say, expanding to new cities in a recession? Are you crazy? Maybe I am. We’ll see. My goal is to have ten units going across the country in the next couple of years and to be known nationally as the bathroom experts.” The start It was that same “go for it” attitude that landed Plaskoff with his own construction company at the age of 26. With a degree in marine biology from UC Santa Barbara, he had been teaching scuba diving and managing an upscale restaurant in Malibu, when he decided to learn everything he could about building houses. Four years later, one afternoon in 1988, he was working with the contractor building a house in Westchester when an older couple approached him with an offer. “They said, ‘We want you to build our house’. It was my opportunity. So I finished the project I was working on, I went to my boss and said ‘I’m leaving’.” The couples’ 6,000 square foot home in Westchester was the first house he ever built with Plaskoff Construction, which he started from his home with little more than $2,000 in the bank and no formal business training. In 2004 he used Plaskoff Construction as a springboard to launch One Week Bath, also propelled by the “anything is possible” and “push all limits” mentality applied at ABC’s Extreme Makeover, where he worked as a contractor and then as the lead consultant, for over 2 years. Business model Plaskoff’s business model for efficient, fast and consistent bathroom remodeling relies heavily on training. The company uses no subcontractors, and instead has an extensive training program for its full-time staff. “We train our people our way,” he said, adding that the company created systems and processes that serve as strict guidelines for all construction work and offers detailed manuals on how to do everything from properly installing a waterproof shower pan, to the fastest way of putting a sink together. This model eliminates all finger pointing, he said. “There’s no contractor going, ‘Well, your designer blew it’; a designer going, ‘Your contractor blew it’; or the tile guy going ‘Your plumber blew it’. There’s none of that because it’s all under one umbrella.” The company also uses an ‘all inclusive’ model, where customers work directly with a One Week Bath designer to create a bathroom that fits their budget. “After we design the bathroom with you, we go get the permit, we order all the product, everything comes into our warehouse, we check everything, make sure it’s not broken, make sure it’s all the right stuff, and we basically create a kit that goes into a trailer that shows up at your house,” Plaskoff said. While other contractors might tear up a bathroom only to open the boxes of tile and find they’re the wrong color, and that they will have to wait another four weeks for the correct tile to be delivered, One Week Bath will not start construction until all materials are ready. “We won’t start anything until we have every screw, every nut, every bolt, everything, even paint,” he said. “There’s no way you can get these things done in a reasonable amount of time if you’re running out to Home Depot every five minutes.” Fast remodeling One Week Bath’s promise of remodeling a bathroom in a short amount of time, usually within one week, has been luring clients weary of construction projects that drag on for months. Keith Bacon was one of them. Two months ago One Week Bath remodeled two bathrooms in his Monterey Park home in one week and a day, he said. “This was 180 degrees different from other remodeling experiences we’ve had, where you’re usually dealing with delays and price upgrades,” Bacon said. “This was such a painless experience it was really surprising. I was really impressed with his business model.” From a diversification standpoint in the current economic climate, focusing on only bathrooms has been key to One Week Bath’s success for two reasons, Plaskoff said. Big construction jobs might have disappeared but the first thing people do when trying to sell their homes is fix the bathrooms and kitchens. If a family can’t sell their home and move to a larger or better one, they will also be inclined to remodel their bathroom as a way to improve their quality of life while they wait a few years for the housing markets to recover. “I think they’re doing so well because they do nothing but bathrooms,” said Louise McGregor, who hired One Week Bath to completely remodel the single bathroom in her West Los Angeles home in May. “They know things about bathrooms that no one else would know.” McGregor said she was “delighted” with the company’s work in completely redoing her bathroom (that had not been worked on since 1944). She said she was attracted to One Week Bath by their name, since a past kitchen remodeling job had taken 9 months to complete, and the experience had been very difficult and unpleasant. Workers often would not show up to work, and in one instance a worker fixing her kitchen cabinets left for lunch and only returned three months later asking for his tools. “I didn’t want to go through that again,” she said. One Week Bath met her expectations even though it took two weeks to finish the job. “They told me it would take two weeks from the beginning and that’s what it took,” she said. Although the company usually delivers most bathrooms within a week, Plaskoff said that sometimes larger bathrooms or ones that require special work might take longer, and customers understand. “Customers don’t really mind if it’s not exactly a week, they just don’t want eight -12 Week Bath,” he said. “We’re called One Week Bath but we should be called One Week Bath and Beyond.” SPOTLIGHT – One Week Bath Year Founded: 2004 Employees: 27 Total Bathroms Remodeled: 900 Price Per Bathroom: $18,000-$22,000

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