Who is Paul Gallop of Men At Work?
It’s getting hard to remember life before I went into the renovation business. In 1989, I founded Men At Work with my wife, it seemed like a natural evolution from an earlier ten year career as a rock-n-roll musician, and singer-songwriter. The creativity, social interaction, and problem-solving aspects of this business were attractive, and the dress-code really worked for me. Though I was a bit sad at the time to have to hang up my spandex pants and adjust to wearing steel-toed shoes!
What is Men At Work?
Initially we specialized in bathrooms and other smaller projects. We found a niche in the Bloor West Village/High Park area of Toronto helping homeowners with additions and basement lowering/finishing renovations. In the mid to late ’90s we entered into a partnership with Enbridge/Consumers Gas as their authorized contractor for basement, kitchen and bathroom renovations for a large territory in Toronto and Mississauga. This was an exciting period of major growth and development for us, but ultimately Enbridge abandoned the program, and we adapted our business model to the smaller, boutique format that we’ve been serving our customers under for the last decade.
We’ve built a really solid team of veteran carpenters, renovators and specialty trades-people, as well as experienced designers, architects and engineers to allow us to deliver full design-build services for homeowners wanting to undertake any kind of substantial home addition or renovation project in older homes in the core and west end areas of Toronto. As the company owner, I still deal directly with each customer throughout their project. That personal contact seems to make a big difference to customer satisfaction, and it keeps me well connected with the rest of our team, and the various challenges that may arise on each job.
We have been an active member of the local and national Home Builders Associations for more than 17 years, and we were one of the first members to become an accredited RenoMark Renovator. Our work has appeared in Style At Home, House and Home, The Globe and Mail, and we’ve also been featured on more than 50 different episodes of HGTV home renovation programs as industry experts.
What does Men At Work specialize in?
We are very proud of our communication skills. If you’ve been through any kind of renovation experience before as a customer, you know that many of the difficulties arise as a result of communication problems. We actually developed a system to improve communication between us and our customers, and it has been in place for over a year now. Our customers are able to log in to a secure portion of our website that is devoted to their project. At the site we have an updated project schedule, photos of the project as it develops, project files and documents such as the drawings, drawing revisions, the contract, permit documents, quotes from suppliers, and any other relevant materials. We’re able to communicate with the customers and other participants on the project easily through the site, and record a log of all the decisions and discussions for future reference. The most valuable part of the site is the Selection Sheet, where we list all the decisions and actions that will be required of the client before and during the course of the project. It’s like a big to-do list for the customer, with all the necessary instructions, notes, web links, attachments and other information that they will need to make their choices and complete the tasks that we need them to do in order for us to complete our work for them on time, and on budget.
Our customer feedback about the site has been incredible, and it has really helped to substantially reduce mistakes, misunderstandings, and delays on our projects.
What does Men At Work love about their work?
We really love the problem-solving aspect of home renovations. There are a lot of variables to juggle. Timing, budget, aesthetic and technical design, building code and municipal zoning/permit considerations, individual customer concerns and preferences, property values, building technologies, environmental concerns, health and safety issues for our customers and our workers, while maintaining and building a stable, successful and profitable company. But with more than two decades of experience confronting all these issues we’re proud of the reputation and the unique qualifications we’ve developed to become one of Toronto’s top renovation contractors.
It’s a long way from rock-n-roll, but I like it!
We used fun, fashionable product choices for a powder room. Note the precise fit-and-finish.
A Bloor West Village front addition, blending original bricks with stucco and cedar shingles to integrate it into the neighbourhood.
Maximizing a small space with an extraordinary kitchen. Beautiful cabinetry, beautiful view.
AFTER – A stunning open concept family room and kitchen.
Have you worked with Men At Work? Tell us about your experience here!