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At Cornerstone, the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic began setting in after our six-week shutdown in March and April 2020, and we suddenly faced a pivotal dilemma: could we continue to provide quotes for homeowners while keeping both clients and staff safe?

Prior to the pandemic, solely offering in-home estimates was the norm for us  – and for our fellow contractors the world over. Yet, entering someone’s house during the height of the pandemic seemed much more uncertain. Finding a swift and simple solution to this problem was driven by the needs of clients, who were suddenly experiencing acute needs to expand their kitchens, refresh their bathrooms, and finish their basements, and by Cornerstone staff, who wanted to continue our renovation work.

One day, a lightbulb went off over owner/designer A.J. Ballantine’s head: what if clients could use a clear renovation measurement guide and a simple online form to detail their needs (explaining their current situation and future renovation ideas through words and photos)? And, what if our team could translate client information into realistic 3D designs and estimates within a week?

This idea spawned Cornerstone’s RemoteQuote system. And today, after more than six months and more than 50 successful quotes, the system has become a cornerstone (we couldn’t pass up the reference!) in our business. The tool offers a seamless approach to reduce exposure for clients and staff; maximize time usage for clients and staff; and reduce our travel and estimate turnarounds.

To further enhance the system, we’ve refined the online form and added three new, short videos describing the RemoteQuote rundown, design process, and next steps.

Cornerstone Owner/Designer, A.J. Ballantine notes, “Providing remote quotes started as a way to help clients and staff at the start of the pandemic. But, it’s becoming a new way of doing business – a new normal in remodeling – that will last well into the future.”

Nationally, the RemoteQuote process caught attention when A.J. won the highly-esteemed Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year award for his innovation in remote estimating techniques. The Cornerstone team instituted this system in the throes of the pandemic; today, our team and clients are forging a new path for remote engagement in the remodeling industry – and beyond.

Along with remote quotes, we continue to offer in-home estimates, which are provided via safe practices (including the use of masks and social distancing). Face-to-face estimate meetings are often used for more complex projects and those with specific needs.

We can’t predict the future (and the last time we searched for our crystal ball under A.J.’s desk, it was missing). However, we believe the coming days promise an expanded use of modern, flexible, customer-focused systems like RemoteQuote.

Together, we can all harness the energy of “new normals” as we strive to adapt and thrive in a changing world. Here’s to a bright future, come what may!

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