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Building relationships, reputation

NORTH LIBERTY – The Home Repair Team remodelers build more than just great kitchens and home additions; for the past ten years, they have also been building a great reputation.
The business was named 2007 Remodeler of the Year at the Greater Iowa City Home Area Builders Association’s annual awards banquet in November.
Located on Highway 965 just north of North Liberty, the family-owned and operated company was incorporated in 1998 by Rob and Julie Hajek. It started because the couple saw a need for handyman services.
“We decided it would be a part-time job,” Julie explained, but it quickly turned into more. In 1999, Julie’s father, Dale Steffen, decided to join the company full-time. Soon after, Rob also gave up his previous job to invest his time in the company, and his father, Dick Hajek, followed in 2001.
“It snowballed very quickly,” Julie said.
Now the Home Repair Team is made up of 13 full-time employees, including Julie and Rob. Their duties have changed over the decade as well. The business specializes in remodeling and repair work for residential and commercial clients.
Though the Home Repair Team assures clients that no job is too small– handyman services are still a part of what they do– the business has expanded to include complete home remodeling jobs and home additions.
“Our business has always been customer-driven,” said Julie, and keeping the customers first is what sets them apart.
“Our company’s focus has always been on education,” Rob stated. “We always want to educate customers on their choices, and on-going training is a must for our staff.” Finding and keeping excellent carpenters is a priority, and the Home Repair Team employees must complete both background checks and drug testing, as well as participate in regular staff meetings.
“We do a monthly training session about standard operating procedures to make sure we are communicating our expectations; for example, we might train them on specific installation techniques or talk about safety issues,” Julie said. “It’s one way we invest back into our company and into our staff.”
The company extends the same generosity to the community of North Liberty. The Home Repair Team has donated many man-hours, materials and funds to such causes as the Family Resource Center, the Iowa Children’s Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. They donated labor to help construct the city’s Penn Meadows Park gazebo, and spent time recently working at the Iowa City Shelter House homeless shelter.
“Being involved in the community is extremely important,” Julie said. “We want to give back to the community that gives us so much.”
In 2008, more growth and changes will mark the Home Repair Team’s 10th anniversary. The Hajeks and their team are planning a new showroom and will add a new cabinet line. Rob is excited to offer Universal Design concepts and products– based on the idea of designing spaces to be useable in current and future living conditions, such as potential physical changes as a homeowner ages– and he is educating himself on ways to incorporate “green building” into projects with more environmentally-friendly designs and materials.
The Remodelers of the Year award, a plaque that was passed on to the Hajeks two months ago, was affirmation of the Home Repair Team’s sound practices.
“It means your peers have recognized you,” Julie said. “When people that know the business recognize your hard work, that’s pretty nice.”
But even nicer are the rewards that come every day, through new and regular customers.
“I love having satisfied customers,” said Julie. “When they say, ‘Thank you, it’s just what I wanted,’ I think, ‘Yes! We did it!’ and I’m happy about that.”
Rob has most enjoyed getting to know his customers.
“I enjoy seeing clients over and over,” he said. “Some clients will have a project for us to do every year. I like building those long-term relationships, getting to know them and watching their families grow over time.”