EP 35 | Design Trends: Garage Solutions with Aaron Cash of Garage Living

Jun 2, 2023

In this episode:

If you’re looking for creative and stylish storage solutions for your home, then you need to watch this episode! Joining Curtis for this Your Project Shepherd Podcast is Aaron Cash (Co-Founder & President of Garage Living) and he is here to open your eyes to the possibilities of your garage space.

Garage Living is a company that specializes in garage finish out work, including car lifts, epoxy floors, wall storage systems, garage cabinets, lighting, and more. We discuss the importance of functionality in garage design and how Garage Living can help improve your garage space and even reduce stress!

Your Project Shepherd always focuses on the importance of proper planning and building the right team from the start of your project, and when considering revamping your garage space, or building that custom home of your dreams, getting a professional company on board from the start is key to achieving your goals with a cohesive design, while also ensuring that you stay within your overall budget. Whatever your needs are, Aaron and Curtis have got you covered with all the insights to help you make informed decisions!

Tune in to learn more!

About our Guest: Aaron Cash is the co-founder and President of Garage Living, a franchise organization that began as a single unit operation 18 years ago. With 45 locations across the United States and Canada, Garage Living taps into the potential of the garage space in the home improvement industry. Aaron and his team saw the opportunity to pioneer the niche market of garage services and products, capitalizing on the growing interest in renovation and remodeling. Through 10 years of refining their business model and understanding customer needs, they have expanded to serve customers in over 45 markets across the U.S. Today, Aaron Cash leads the franchise organization, driving growth and delivering exceptional services to homeowners maximizing their garage spaces.

Guest: Aaron Cash
Business Title: 
Co-Founder & Franchise President
Garage Living
Website: https://www.garageliving.com

Bonus: Accompanying every episode are show notes with links to guest speakers and other helpful sites mentioned in the podcast.

How to get in touch: Please let us know what questions you have and we will get back to you as soon as possible.  You may email us at info@yourprojectshepherd.com.

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Full Transcript


CURTIS:  Welcome everyone to the Your Project Shepherd podcast. If you’re a loyal listener, you’ve heard me say this before, but every successful construction project must have these four key components demonstrated by this simple line drawing of a house. The foundation is proper planning. The left wall is your team. The right wall is communication and the roof protecting it all is proper execution. Have all those components in place and your project is going to succeed. If you’ve listened to us the last couple of seasons, you know that we’ve stuck with one continuous theme for all the episodes in a season. Our first season followed Brian and Heather, our fictional couple, all the way through their custom home build, and we learned about the right and definitely the wrong way to go about building a house. The second season’s theme was, what does it cost? And there we talked about all the things that affect the price of building or remodeling your home. But moving forward, we’re going to change our format just a little bit. Instead of having one continuous theme and individual seasons, we’re going to have a mix of topics. And to make it easier for you to follow a topic that you’re interested in, we’re going to change our written title format. So when you go look at the show titles now, there’s going to be a theme first and then an episode name. So for example, today’s episode will have design trends, garage solutions. And we’re working on a bunch of episodes right now with our friend Toner Kersting about building performance failures. So for those, you’re going to see something like building performance failures, foundation, or framing, or whatever that is. And I think this is going to give you a good variety of topics. And honestly, it just makes scheduling guests a lot easier for us. So all right, on to today’s topic. This episode is an interview that I recently had with Aaron Cash from Garage Living. Garage Living has locations across the U.S. and Canada, and they do some really killer garage finish out work. Stuff like car lifts, epoxy floors, wall storage systems, garage cabinets, lighting, and I’m sure way more that I’m leaving out. And as always, we’re going to link their information in the show notes and in the video description so that you can find them if you’re interested in talking with somebody from their team. So without further delay, here’s the interview with Aaron Cash.


CURTIS: So Aaron Cash, thank you so much for joining me today on the Your Project Shepherd podcast.

AARON:  Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

CURTIS:  I was super excited when your team reached out to me about you being a guest because ever since we’ve been doing this podcast, I’ve wanted to have an episode about garage design, design trends, and organizational systems. But I had not found the right person to bring on. So I was super excited when they reached out. And while you and I haven’t worked together before, I’ve seen your company. You guys have a location here in Houston, and I know that you guys do some killer work. So I’m really excited to have you.

AARON: Great. Thank you very much.

CURTIS:  So why don’t we start off by you just telling us a little bit about Garage Living, your company, what your role is, and how you guys got started. Why don’t you just give us a little history on your company?

AARON:  So my name is Aaron Cash. You introduced me already. I’m a co-founder of the business that we started 18 years ago, and I currently serve as our president of our franchise organization. So we started our business, like I said, 18 years ago as a single unit operation. Our head office is in Toronto, Canada. And essentially, we continued to and started running our business as a single unit location, doing fairly similar work to what we do now across our 45 franchise locations in the U.S. and Canada. And so really, it was just a project that took on a bit of a life of its own. It was at a time when home improvement, HGTV fueled excitement about renovation and remodeling was really something that had taken on a lot of momentum. And so, yeah, the garage was in its infancy. It was a really untapped space and a niche market. And we saw an opportunity to become pioneers and focus on the garage space and homeowners need for services and products that we offer to really make the most of that space. And we spent about 10 years refining our model, really learning both what our consumers needed, our customers needed, what our operations needed to be like before we started to expand geographically and since that time, over the last eight to 10 years, we’ve grown nicely and been able not only to service customers in our local market, but in over 45 markets across the U.S. and Canada.

CURTIS:  Awesome. I think for a lot of people, the garage tends to be almost an afterthought when they’re building, remodeling their house. But for most people, it’s a space that we use every day. If it’s an attached garage, we probably park in there and enter our home through that door multiple times a day. Right. And even though it’s one of our most used spaces, it traditionally hasn’t gotten a lot of love during the design process. So talk to me about why the garage should be more than just a parking spot for your car.

AARON:  Yeah, absolutely and I think you hit the nail on the head. This is a large space, oftentimes in the average home, it’s one of the largest undivided spaces of the home, so you have a fair amount of space there that’s unfinished. If there aren’t any basements in the specific house or the market that we’re working in, there really is very little storage space. So the value there is significant, but for a long time, as you mentioned, really, it’s been overlooked and underdeveloped. What we’ve found through our work over the last 18 years is really that because it is the primary entrance and exit of the home, it’s what people arrive to when they come home and what they leave and the last thing they see from their home as they depart, and really, that sort of sets the tone for how they feel and what their lifestyle is like. The more cluttered, the more disorganized, the dirtier the space is, the more stress one feels when they see it. So not only is it how you live and what you feel about your house and the comfort of coming home to a clean space, but it is very functional. And so one of the things that we work on here every day is really both brand awareness in terms of us being known as a company that focuses on this, but then also category awareness and when I say that I mean really that we’re educating the consumer about the opportunity and the potential of the space. So, yes, while you can park there and that might be a primary desire for you to use the space, there’s so much more that it can be, and it can be simply a clean space that you come home to every day and don’t feel overwhelmed by just another dumping ground of old boxes and garbage and things like that. So it really is something that can take on much more value to the average homeowner, but we’re trying to open everybody’s eyes so that they can see the possibilities.

CURTIS:  Yeah, garages just tend to turn into kind of a drop zone for a lot of people. I know mine does, and it doesn’t take long for your garage to start looking like a bad episode of ‘Hoarders’. You know, and people pull in their garage or in my case, we walk into their garage because I can’t fit my car in there. I’m a prime candidate for your company to come to a garage, by the way, and so we go into our garage and sometimes we just feel overwhelmed and stressed as soon as we walk in because of all the crap that’s in there. So what kind of systems and solutions do you guys offer to help with decluttering and organization?

AARON:  Yeah, absolutely. So most projects start with a discussion and this is typically had with an in-home consultation with the client or clients about what they plan on keeping. Because, like you said, it becomes a dumping ground often to get things outside of the house and sort of stage it where, oh, I don’t know if I’m going to need that, or it’s just overflow or whatever the case may be. The first question that needs to be asked is what are you keeping and what do you plan on either donating or throwing away? Then we can work on a system that can better organize, better store those belongings. But oftentimes, like I said, the first part is really determining what stays and what goes and more often than not, more goes than stays and then we can come up with something fairly simple. But designing a system, organizational system, cabinetry, overhead storage to hold things that are more or less just garbage that you should be getting rid of is not all that practical. So we really want to determine with the client what they need to keep and what their intended use of the spaces is and then we can design a system or a solution around what they need.

CURTIS:  If you can come up with a solution for all the extra Amazon boxes that collect in the house, that would go a long way in my house, because every day it’s like five Amazon packages showing up on the porch and then the boxes go straight in the garage until eventually I haul them off for recycling. So some kind of a clutter organization or some kind of a cardboard recycling organization, right?

AARON:  We can make that happen.

CURTIS:  So talking about cabinetry and built-in storage, at least in our market, a lot of customers just have their builder make some basic wood cabinets like you would do in the kitchen. Sometimes they don’t even paint them. They just kind of make some basic wood cabinets using interior grade plywood. And then after a few years down the road, sometimes those don’t look really great. A lot of those aren’t designed to be in a garage where it’s maybe more humid, more temperature fluctuations, and they’re not really built to withstand kind of throwing stuff on them and chemicals and all that kind of stuff that happened in the garage. So I’m assuming like the cabinet systems and the storage solutions that you guys have are thought through in that manner.

Like they’re probably rated for those environments, right?

AARON:  Absolutely. So Garage Living offers our customers a number of lines of welded steel cabinetry. We even have a line of cabinetry called our Technica line that’s made out of a galvanized product. So it really is weather resistant and can withstand high humidity, even in cases of moisture in the garage, whether it’s from a flood or from storms, things like that, which often happen in some of the markets that we serve. The biggest issue or number of issues with any wood-based product is that it will absorb water and it has limited weight capacity and like you said, over time, it will look tired. But powder coated steel cabinetry, welded products, they’re really designed to be durable enough to not only hold a significant amount of weight on shelves, but also be in the environment that will have those elements and most of the time, the garages that we do aren’t temperature controlled at all. Sometimes we have either heated spaces or even air-conditioned spaces, depending on what the homeowners plan on using the space for or what they may have pre-existing. But most of the time, they’re not climate controlled and as a result, anything that is made out of a wood material, composite material, an MDF will absorb moisture and eventually start to break down. So yeah, there are products there that we offer that are far superior in their overall construction and the materials we use and yeah, they’ll last a lifetime.

CURTIS:  Speaking about things that are made for the environment, you know, one thing that people I see often do is for the garage flooring, they will go to the big-box store and buy the paint kit that’s sold there for the garage floor. It comes with a little package of flakes that you roll on your floor, you throw the flakes on, and it looks good for a little while, maybe a few months or a year. But eventually that starts to just fall apart because those products aren’t made to last. They’re also kind of a consumer application grade product.  But so talk about what the difference is in a professional epoxy finish like you guys do versus that big box store kit that the homeowner might buy.

AARON:  Absolutely. So Garage Living offers a polyaspartic coating system called FloorTex. It’s proprietary to us and it’s somewhat different than epoxy. But I’ll talk about your question first in terms of the big box store kits. The big box retailers offer a lot of different products that homeowners can install themselves, some of them are great and, you know, people that have the skills can take on those projects and others are not that great and probably ones that are best left to a professional to do. I would argue strongly that this is one of those cases in which, yes, they sell a kit there and they have instructions on how to apply it but it simply isn’t as good as what a professional organization can do, both in the quality of the product and also the application. So the quality of the product is just, we’re talking about night and day. They’re not on the same level and as a result, you know, the cost would dictate that this is a less expensive, quick solution. Whereas professionally installed product costs much more, but it is going to last that much longer and has a warranty and, you know, is installed by professionals. So the first thing that makes the biggest difference, even if you had the highest quality product available to you as a homeowner, is the preparation and it’s no different than preparing a surface before you’re going to paint it, whether that be sheetrock or stucco or anything else. Homeowners don’t have access to industrial type diamond grinding equipment that will prepare the floor so that they properly bond to whatever coating is put down. And so, you know, whether it’s, you know, suggested acid wash or a sanding of sorts, it really isn’t sufficient in order to create a proper bond. And as a result, those systems do fail after a very short period of time, which can be incredibly frustrating to the homeowner. So, you know, I would say to someone, a family or friend, if they asked me, well, you know, I can’t afford to, you know, do this right now in terms of a professional flooring product for my garage. Should I go about doing that? My suggestion would be no, I would suggest you wait until you can either afford to do it properly or not do it at all and simply because it’s one of those things that you’re going to be doing time and time again, that’s going to become more of a headache than it is a benefit. When it’s done properly and when it’s applied by professionals like Garage Living using our floor text product, it is guaranteed to last. and not only is the quality of the product that much superior, the appearance of the product, you know, you mentioned that little bag of flakes that sort of gets sprinkled around very sparsely over the entire floor. All of our floors use what we call 100 percent broadcast application, which means every square inch of the floor is covered by that decorative flake material, and so you don’t have this sort of very inconsistent coverage type pattern and it really is consistent. Like I said, is a professionally installed product and looks that way. So that would be, I think, you know, my pitch to any homeowner thinking of doing something themselves, whether it’s this particular application or anything else, is that, you know, does a professional service really make that much of a difference? And in this particular case, I would argue it really does.

CURTIS:  Yeah, absolutely. You know, you might spend a couple hundred bucks buying the kit from the big box store and doing it yourself versus you’re probably going to spend in the thousands to have this professionally done. But if you do it, if you have to do it every couple of years to refresh it, you know, obviously it’s going to catch up. And just the frustration and, you know, every two or three years, if you have to move all the stuff out of your garage to redo it, that’s such a hassle. So, you know, do it right the first time, use the right products, let a professional do it. Like you mentioned, the thing that I see that’s kind of not done properly is the preparation. You know, people just go in, they roll that stuff on, you know, they don’t do the acid etching or the diamond grinding or whatever. And usually it’s just, ah, that’s not important. We’ll just get this done. We’ll just roll it on. It’ll look good, but it really does make a difference.

AARON:  Yeah, absolutely. And there are tons of videos online that just show someone buying the kit, applying it, and that’s where it ends. Oh, it looks that much better. And they don’t show you a week or two or a month down the line where there’s issues with it.

CURTIS:  Yeah. We, we go into houses a lot and see where it’s all bubbled up. Or, it’s just, just peel it away completely. So it makes a big difference. What, let’s talk about, you know, what people use their garage for other than just parking their cars, right? Because a garage has kind of evolved into a space that’s more than just storage. People use them for home gym workout spaces. People hang out in their garage. You saw like a lot of man cave setups in the garage. People have car collections and different affinities that they like to keep in their garage and show off.  So let’s talk about what options there are for, for those types of scenarios.

AARON:  Yeah, and I think you hit the nail on the head again, in terms of the garage being a multi-purpose space. Like I said before, it’s a large open space typically, so it can serve many purposes and that’s really up to the homeowner in terms of what they want to do, whether it’s home gyms, you know, a hangout space with the TV to watch the game, you know, putting in a ping pong table for, for, you know, teenage kids to have someplace where they can hang out. You know, a place where even in, you know, in recent years where people were hanging out much more outdoors than they were inside the home through the pandemic, it was a great place to sort of have an open-air party and things like that. I think it’s important to say, you know, we really don’t build solutions that allow people to do those things, particularly what we do is we create the environment for which they can then choose how to use it. So whether or not you want to park your car in there or bring a pool table in or a couch and a TV or fitness equipment, you have the space complete to allow you to do that. That typically will include the floor, as we just discussed, wall organizers so that items you do need in the garage, regardless of what you’re going to use the space for, whether that’s sports equipment, gardening tools, things that you typically would have outside there still have their place, but they don’t interfere with the overall open space that you may want to use for other purposes and then the cabinetry as well. If you do like working on projects or you just need enclosed storage, everything does get put behind closed doors. So it’s clean and you can then use the space for however you want without having everything all over. So that’s really the key is that we don’t determine for the clients what they’re going to use the space for. Obviously, they tell us sort of what their vision is, and we sort of say, OK, that can be accomplished, or you can use that now. And maybe down the road, you want to change what your purpose of the space is, and you’ll still have the exact same shell that’s completed in order to do that. So, like I said, it has a lot of versatility to it. It’s multipurpose, and all we’re doing as a company that provides products to finish the space is creating an environment for you to use it, however you think is best for your family.

CURTIS:  I see when you guys are doing your in-home consultation and when people are coming to your showroom, though, that you’re talking through with them how they see themselves using it, what kinds of things they need to plan for, what types of things they need to store. So you’re having those conversations to kind of get in their head and understand what they need, right?

AARON:  Absolutely. It’s all about what the client needs but we also give them some perspective on what they may need down the line, because we’ve seen clients’ needs change. So oftentimes we’ll meet homeowners who have younger children. And so at that point in their lives, they have a lot of those bigger, bulky plastic kind of toys or things that they may use for riding down the street or the sidewalk. But that only lasts a few years, and then bikes may have more of or scooters and things like that. And then their needs start to change until maybe they have teenagers and then they have more cars than they have space to park them. So it’s definitely an evolution. And I think that we simply have these natural conversations with our clients about what they’re looking for, what their current needs are, and then create a solution that allows them to adjust the environment for their needs. So whether that’s our wall organization system that has many different types of accessories to hang up different things and adjust things and move baskets that may be lower down now while their children are young, up higher later on when they don’t need to have them so far down low and they need more space in order for clearance for bikes. So our goal is always to understand what the client’s needs are, their desires, obviously their vision, their budget. Those are all considerations that we take into our overall understanding of what they’re looking for as we create a plan. But we also do our best to try and create something that has a lot of flexibility so that they can see value from the finished space for years to come.

CURTIS:  I love that because I’m in that stage of life right now where my kids are teenagers now and so we have a whole set of bikes that are in our garage that haven’t been touched in a couple of years now, and now we have cars. You know, and so one thing I wanted to mention on your website is that I saw lots of cool pictures of cars and car lifts and things like that. I mentioned that some people have a car collection or they’re into classic cars or like us. I don’t have a Ferrari collection like on some of your pictures on your website, but my wife’s got an old Toyota Land Cruiser that we like to drive sometimes that just takes up space in the garage and so having a car lift would allow us to get that up there and put the other car below it.  So talk a little bit about what those are, how the installation process on that goes and what’s the process of getting one of those installed.

AARON: Yeah, absolutely. So car lifts can be incredibly valuable for the right use and creating an additional parking space, assuming that you have the overhead height in order to allow for that. That’s typically the first question we ask is what is the ceiling height of the garage and what vehicles are you going to store? These aren’t typically for daily use. They’re not the type of lifts where you’re going to add a parking spot and then lower that down to make use of every day – that becomes quite cumbersome. But like you said, it is for someone who may have a car that they use occasionally or something that is a prized possession that they want to put away or simply something that they just need to get out for a season, especially if we’re in a colder climate and there’s winter weather that they’re not going to use that car during those times of year. So those are all considerations. But, yeah, they’re fantastic tools to create a parking space relative to adding an additional parking space, extending the actual structure to accommodate an additional vehicle. They’re really inexpensive and so they’re very popular and they’re not all that difficult to install when you know what you’re doing. Again, this is not something that I would suggest anybody do on their own. They’re lifting thousands of pounds of weight, so you want to have them installed properly. But yes, what we sell most often are four post lifts. So there are four posts on each corner. There’s different lengths and column height that determine what the height of the vehicle that will be lifted and what the clearance below will be, and all of those factors are determined based on what the client’s going to have to store and sort of what the height restrictions are. But, yeah, basically, we help determine that we make sure they understand sort of what the space requirements are and then the units are brought out and assembled on site and most often times they’re not anchored to the floor, but they can be. There is the ability to move the lift with a caster set if you want to shift it from side to side in terms of where it sits in the garage or some other applications that you may use that. But yes, I mean, the only major consideration that oftentimes we encounter is how the garage door operates and that height clearance. So what we have to do often is install a high lift conversion, which raises the height of the radius of the track where the garage door typically opens. So most often times when a home is built, unless it’s specified to be different, the door rises until the top of the opening and then the radius goes right there, and then the door goes into the headspace at that point, which would typically cut off the overhead space for the lift to rise. So what we have to do is raise that radius to a much higher position, install a jack shaft or a wall mounted garage door opener versus the overhead door opener that is also in the headspace and then create a lot more headroom in order for that lift to fit. So that’s an extra sort of piece of the puzzle that has to be considered before we can just go ahead and install one of these lifts and make it very useful for anyone, whether they have an expensive car collection or just a vehicle that they use occasionally. They’re great products, again, I think that there’s different grades of products where they’re manufactured and where some of the parts come from and who installs them and some of the brands. Those are all things to consider. But in the end, yeah, if you have someone that is really in need of something and this is a good solution, they can be a fantastic product and like I said, relatively inexpensive compared to building out additional space.

CURTIS:  Yeah, I think especially in urban environments where the lot size dictates that you can’t take up too much space with a garage on your lot just because you’re just restricted or limited in that way. Being able to go up inside the garage can give you that extra storage. We’ve definitely encountered that here in Houston, close to downtown on a narrow 30, 40, 50-foot-wide lot. You just can’t put a three-car garage or a four-car garage on the property. And so having that option to go up is very advantageous for the consumer. One thing I wanted to ask about is the kind of return on investment.  I always hesitate to ask this because on this podcast, we’ve talked a lot about how people shouldn’t build these spaces, anticipating that they’re going to get their money back. It shouldn’t necessarily be looked at as an investment because it’s really more about your personal enjoyment and how space is going to make your life easier, how it’s going to reduce stress for you. But on some level, everybody has to think about ROI. Am I going to get any of this back when I go to sell the house? What’s your take on that as far as the garage improvements go?

AARON:  Yeah, I mean, I saw a study last week that sort of put a number to it and said, you know, a random $10,000 of appreciation by having a finished garage space. I don’t know what research was done in order to create that actual figure, but I think that there’s a number of things to consider that you mentioned. Number one, it’s really just your lifestyle. So I think if this adds a lot of value to your lifestyle simply by having a clean space, one that has proper storage, organization, all the things that we’ve discussed, I think that that adds a lot of value. I would argue that a potential homeowner would see similar value in that in that finished space, and it becomes one of those things where it’s hard to say, OK, well, this much like it’s hard to quantify. However, if you’re looking at two homes, one has a finished garage space that you may or may not go through when you go to visit the home through a showing versus one that doesn’t, and that space is dirty and filled with boxes. I think it’s going to reflect highly on the homeowner with the finished garage space and how they take care of their home and what else they put into it and how they’ve maintained it. I would really like to meet someone and really understand what they’re thinking if they think that the disorganized space is much more appealing than the one that’s clean and organized. As a homeowner and someone who has had a lot of exposure to real estate, you know, even just pulling up with curb appeal, you know, a well-maintained front yard is worth a lot more than one that isn’t. Even though you can’t say, you know, having good maintenance is going to improve the value of your house by X number of dollars. So I think what you’ve said is really true. It’s hard to quantify, but it’s valuable to you as a homeowner. And I think it would be valuable to the next homeowner, especially if they’re looking at multiple properties, and this is something that they may say, well, you know, I may not have done this for myself, but I sure love it now that it’s here.

CURTIS: Yeah. I think in a good real estate market, a hot real estate market, everything’s going to sell, right? But maybe when that market slows down a little bit, the home that has the premium features, that has that extra wow factor is going to sell much faster than something that doesn’t. I think that realtors, and I’m a real estate broker also, by the way, so I can say this about realtors. Realtors tend to kind of look at the price per square foot and kind of price things by the price per square foot when they’re listing houses. But really a lot of the non-air-conditioned square footage spaces, like a really nicely finished garage, a really nicely finished backyard space, landscaping, those are the things that really draw the people into the house and while they’re not reflected in that, that, that per square foot value, that can be what pushes people over the edge to buy that house.

AARON:  Absolutely. I think that, yes, definitely. I mean, people, there’s people that want to buy a project where they can add a lot of value themselves and fix it up and do their own thing. They may look at a house that doesn’t have a finished garage or doesn’t have the landscaping done or, you know, needs a remodel in the kitchen and bathrooms, and that might be attractive to them. Then there’s a lot of people, especially in the demographic that we target, that don’t necessarily want all those projects. They may not have the time for all those projects. They don’t want the headache of all of them. So the fact that they can look at a space that’s really turnkey, simply envision themselves pulling up to the house every day, opening the garage door and not feeling any stress because it doesn’t look like a disaster has a lot of value. So it really, it’s in the eye of the beholder. But, you know, I’ve seen a lot of our former clients or past clients even put in their marketing material when they go to sell their houses. The garage is finished, and they’ll include pictures of that because it’s something, it’s an attribute. It’s not something they think they need to exclude. But, you know, if the garage isn’t finished or it’s a disaster, you definitely won’t see a picture of it in any of the marketing material for that house.

CURTIS:  Exactly. To kind of wrap things up. So what are some common mistakes that people tend to make when they’re thinking about? So we back up if you’re building a house or you’re doing a major renovation on a house, what are some common mistakes that people make when thinking about finishing out a garage space?

AARON:  That’s an excellent question. So if they’re building a house or they’re working with a builder that on a track home that they have the opportunity to work on, I would say that they really have to look at the dimensions of the floor space. So whenever you can, if possible, try and do things oversized. What I mean by that is that, yes, people want a two-car garage, but if it’s really so tight that you can get your two cars in there, but barely open the doors in order to get out and then walk around to the back door or make use of the space, it becomes very difficult. So whenever you can, you know, if you’re looking at doing a one and a half where you plan on parking one in there, but it has that much more functionality. Or if you can do a two-car garage, but make it oversized, you know, with additional couple, two, three feet of depth, two, three feet of width, it has the greatest impact in terms of what you can do to the space with cabinetry, with wall organizers, pretty much everything that you may want to have in there. The other thing is, is really consider sort of, you know, what the future is of your use. So if you plan on being someone that has electric vehicles, make sure that you rough in for a charging station. If you plan on being someone that, you know, plans to spend a lot of time in there, then go about the work of preparing it for air conditioning or heating if you’re in a colder climate. Those are all things that are easy and inexpensive to do during construction and are more difficult and more costly to do after construction. Then the last thing that I would add is make sure that you have good lighting because oftentimes we’ll go into garages, and it’ll literally be one incandescent bulb in the ceiling, and with the fixture and, you know, we’ll go in and replace those and with LED lights and things like that because that one bulb just really creates a dark sort of dungeon-y type of space and good lighting makes the biggest difference. So those are just a few, you know, tips in terms of how to consider just some really great things to have while you’re building a space. Then, you know, think about what you want today and what you may want in five or 10 years because I think people’s lives are constantly evolving and so your needs are going to change. So try and think a little bit ahead to really understand what you might want down the line and then you’ll have those options to be flexible when that time comes.

CURTIS: Awesome. I also think that people need to, if they’re building a new home, and this doesn’t really apply to kind of track homes, production homes as much, but if you’re building a new custom home, working with a builder, you know, they need to involve you guys in the process early so they can plan for some of these kinds of things. You know, one thing that we preach here is getting the whole team at the table together early. So if they know that they want to do this kind of garage, finish out, install these features, you know, bring Garage Living on board early during design and planning so that, you know, we know that the electrical is where it needs to be, all those kinds of things that are setting you guys up for success. It is also saving the customer money because now the wiring is in place. They’re not paying you guys to run wiring after the fact. And kind of everybody knows what’s going to be in the space, when it comes time to bring you in at the end and finish it out.

AARON:  Absolutely. And I love that, that concept of bringing the team together. If I were building my own home, I would definitely do that because I’d want to make sure that we’re covering all our bases. You know, one example that I mentioned that would be something to consider is, you know, it doesn’t cost any more to do that high lift conversion the first time. But if you are considering a lift and you have to now go and replace a brand-new door, brand new tracks, and operator, you know, you burn that money because you really haven’t thought through with all the parties what you want to use the space for and you mentioned electrical and plumbing. Lots of people like to have sinks in the garage or want to have a water source in a specific area. These are all things to consider prior to getting all the work done, and, you know, we love being part of that process. We love giving input to the client. You know, builders definitely have their ideas of what works and where things should be. And that’s great. We consider ourselves experts in this space and we want to provide our expertise to the client and also to the builder, because if the client’s happy, the builder’s life is a lot easier. So anything that we can offer in terms of input or consideration on how things are to be built. You know, another example is, you know, how the garage floor is finished, how the foundation is finished. Sometimes if we’re talking about slab on grade construction, it’s not an issue. There may be a riser at the back of the garage. How that’s finished, how the steps into the house, if it goes up or finished. These are all things that we can definitely add a lot of value to, at that stage of construction and at no additional cost.

It’s just simply, like you said, bringing the team to the table and having an open, honest discussion about what we see, what we’ve seen based on our experience and what we think would work for that particular homeowner.

CURTIS:  Yeah, just like we’ve talked about, you know, architects and builders are not usually pool designers and landscape designers. So you bring those specialty people in earlier in the process. Most architects and builders aren’t experts in the garage finish out. So I can definitely see conflict arising because, oh, well, we didn’t plan our ceiling heights properly. Or like you mentioned, the garage door height, you know, if the architect specs out an eight-foot-tall garage door with a normal track and opener system, you know, that they’re budgeting $2,000 for it. Well, you know, a side mount garage door opener, a jack screw with a different track system is going to be more than that. But if you plan for that upfront, you’re avoiding change-orders in the future. You’re avoiding just throwing your money down the drain. So, you know, get you guys at the table early and let’s plan this thing and set it up for success.

AARON:  So absolutely. And we love to work on that. And oftentimes I think one of the best parts of what we do is saying to a client, well, you know, this is what you currently have planned, and this is why I think you may not actually like that when it’s in place and functional. So, like I said, if you can’t open the door because there’s something, whether it’s a bulkhead or a pillar, you know, right where you’re going to park, I find oftentimes that architects and engineers on paper are not considering how that’s going to work when a client’s living in the space. And so, you know, form and function is a key component to what we do and what we can provide advice on. And then obviously the finish is, is, you know, what it’s going to all look like. But the basic functionality is, is a great thing to consider right at the beginning or right during the process. And we love to participate in those discussions.

CURTIS:  All right. Well, Aaron Cash, thank you so much for joining me today here on the podcast. I really appreciate you being here.

AARON:  Thanks so much and yeah, we’d love to work with any of your listeners and, you know, you can find us at www.garageliving.com and, yeah, engage one of our consultants in a discussion about how we can improve your garage space.

CURTIS:  Yep. And we will definitely put some links to your company information in the description on the video and the show notes and the podcast so that our listeners and viewers can find you. And, and for our listeners and viewers, thank you all for listening and being with us today. If you’d like to incorporate some of these really functional and beautiful garage features in your next project, be sure to give Aaron’s team a call. There’s a showroom locator on their website so you can see if they have a location close to you. I know there’s one here in Houston and Austin and Dallas. So our Texas people have lots of options for getting in touch with them. So thank you all for joining us today and we hope to see you again soon on the Your Project Shepherd Podcast. Thanks a lot.