We sat down with the owner of MODE, Ryan Keene, to learn more about the company and what sets it apart in the competitive SoCal home remodeling market.
Why and/or how did you decide to go into business for yourself in a very competitive market?
I’ve always been a very competitive person. I learned through experience at my last company that things could be improved a lot—especially offering a better overall customer experience.
I know for a fact that we do a better install. But what differentiates us is our overall focus on the customer and their satisfaction with not only the remodel job, but the job planning, the high level of communication throughout the project and how we will treat their home like we do our own.
When you work for someone else, you sometimes see where they fall short. I started realizing I was seeing the same things and knew we could do it better as MODE. We are always asking how can we improve our processes. How can we take what we know and build off of it—improving the actual remodel and the way the customer experiences the process. It’s funny, I worked for a construction company before and I was scared to refer my friends and family to that company in fear of the way they would be treated. That will not happen here at MODE. Trust is a key word for me.
We know if customers are willing to trust us with improving their home, that is a significant responsibility which we do not take lightly. Our goal is to build this company’s foundation on referrals—then continue that same mindset as we grow.
What remodeling services does MODE offer and what is your specific experience in offering those services?
MODE offers all contracted services. Right now, we’re general contractors–fully licensed, bonded, and insured in the state of California. We specialize in home remodel (focusing on bathrooms), but we also provide commercial contracting work as well.
Out of high school I tried the college thing for a year, but ended up working for a plumbing company digging ditches. I’ve dug a lot of ditches. Being on the operating end of a jack-hammer and shovel all day gives a person perspective. I worked my way up from 2-1/2 years at that job to become an apprentice plumber. This was for a company that was building multi-million dollar custom homes here in Southern California.
From that job, I went to another company where I was on the management side of construction. I was there for about five years and got to see how everything on a job site works from the ground up. I’ve worked in many facets of construction, including purchasing, HR, management, installation and project management.
I’ve jumped around a little bit here and there in my career, but I’ve always ended right back with construction—it’s where my passion exists.
As mentioned earlier, we specialize mainly in bathrooms. Once you transform those spaces in a home they bring a sense of joy to people because they are used so frequently. When you have a brand-new bathroom to go into every morning—to take a shower to get ready for your day–you’re excited, you love it.
Clients don’t typically get too excited about the digging holes portion of a project, but when we give them a brand-new kitchen or brand-new bathroom, they tell their friends and family about that. They’re excited to show it off. It really makes a positive difference.
You’ve mentioned that MODE is licensed, bonded and insured. What is your license in?
As a general contractor, we’re licensed to do everything regarding a remodel or from a construction basis. That said, if there’s a need to bring in a specific specialist on a job, we will sub-contract that work out. Even then, those sub-contractors have to meet our high standards—not only for the work they perform, but the way in which they go about their work and how they treat our client’s property.
What differentiates MODE as a company with regards to your attitude and deliverables? How will customers witness this?
I would say our attitude is that of a bulldozer. It is encapsulated in our company culture of “Own It”. By that I mean we will not allow anything to stand in our way in getting projects done and delighting our clients.
One of our recent clients told me the reason why she went with our company is because of our attitude. She said she had all kinds of questions and concerns, and we made her feel very comfortable that we have her back and that we’re going to make sure the work gets done and done right. She also told me she appreciates that with MODE she doesn’t have to worry about anything. That’s what we want all our clients to experience—when you work with MODE, you don’t need to worry about your home improvement project. You bring us in for a reason. Trust us–we’re going take care of you and will make sure it gets done and done right.
Especially when it comes to something that can be a source of stress for some homeowners, many people have shared with us that our taking that stress away from them allows them to enjoy the process. Construction can be a stressful experience, especially when you witness your house getting torn apart. This might create a bit of stress. So, having a company like MODE on your side give you that Peace of Mind, which is very valuable.
Here at MODE, we strive to provide that level of service I was talking about–where clients are going to feel comfortable bringing us in. I’ve seen and heard about numerous instances where a homeowner chooses a contractor and has to sign an extremely long contract that includes hidden charges and provisions that only benefit the contractor. These kinds of companies are just trying to work the customer over. That’s not how we work at MODE. Transparency is important to us and that’s why our contracts are very easy to read.
We want every client to be super-involved in the entire process. We’re with them every step of the way to help them turn their visualization and dreams of what they want into reality. We want our clients asking questions as to what is happening in their homes to ensure great communication. We will also be very transparent and communicative throughout the entire process to ensure a smooth and pleasant experience. We want our clients to not be stressed any more than necessary about a portion of their home that gets torn up and rebuilt. While we cannot erase all stress involved in such a project, it’s our job to make sure our clients know they hired the right people to do the job right and on-time.