It’s been 18 years since Ken Nies co-founded Two Poor Teachers, LLC, but the kitchen and bath remodelling company isn’t resting on its laurels. “We always want to earn an ‘A+’ from our customers,” said Nies. “That hasn’t changed since Day One.”
Nies started the company in 1999 with then-partner Tom Pennell. Both were Fairfax County physical education teachers at the time, and their collaboration was originally meant to be a sideline to their “day jobs, but before too long, Nies retired from teaching in order to focus fully on the rapidly growing company in Chantilly.
He may have left teaching behind, but his background and devotion to education still comes through when Nies speaks about the importance of educating homeowners on the ins and out of remodelling work, and the “dangers of dealing with unlicensed contractors.” He has produced numerous “whiteboards” and videos available on YouTube that explain the local and state laws governing the business and the importance of compliance for the homeowner. Two Poor Teachers is fully licensed, employs master plumbers, electricians and HVAC experts, is LEED certified and the highest liability insurance license offered in the state.
According to Nies, Two Poor Teachers handles between 200-300 bathroom projects and 25 kitchen remodels per year in their Northern Virginia service area, with much of their business coming from repeat customers and referrals from satisfied clients, but Nies insists that the key to their continued success really isn’t a secret.
“Education. Making sure homeowners have all the facts they need to make good decisions,” is the foundation for success in Nies’ opinion. “Guaranteed start and completion times are really attractive to potential clients,” he added. Anyone who has ever undertaken one of these home remodelling projects, only to see the finish deadline move further and further away from the original date promised during the bid proposal, will no doubt agree.
Another attraction for the homeowner when choosing a contractor is the fact that Two Poor Teachers only requires 10 percent down to start the work, and generally “don’t ask for another penny until the job is completed.” Many contractors require the down payment, and then ask for ongoing “draw” funds periodically throughout the length of the project.
Nies also says that the company gives their customers all the discounts they receive at the speciality stores where they have established strong vendor relationships.
It was because of just those kinds of relationships that Nies was able to recruit Jeremiah Klein to take over the reins as Two Poor Teachers’ next general manager, when he felt it was time to become “just a little less hands-on.” Klein had been associated with the contractor for some five years, when he worked as an agent for a wholesale plumbing supplier and kitchen and bath showroom, after years working in the field.
“I feel great about handing the reputation of our company to Jeremiah,” said Nies.
Klein feels just as good about his decision to join Nies and company. Saying he had a choice of outfits when considering his next career move, Klein calls the Two Poor Teachers gang “a different bracket of contractor. It’s great working with all of our own employees, professionals who have been with the company no less than 10 years, and some even longer.”
Since the arrival of Klein, Two Poor Teachers has expanded the options it can offer customers, including more flexibility on where to procure the project materials. See www.twopoorteachers.com or call Klein at 703-999-2928.