One on one approach to renovation – Bernadette Janson

Bernadette Janson has been working with startup and experienced renovators for many years. Her specialty is very personal, almost one-on-one training, because she knows that everyone is different and their abilities depend on many factors.  Hear about her experiences and what she has learnt about successful renovation from doing it herself.
Kevin:  You’ve heard us mention in the show before that a man is not a retirement plan, and here we’re talking about the growing number of women who realise that they really have the ability to make their own way, and they can do it so successfully with renovation.
Kevin:  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think some women are probably better at it than men. I’m talking now to BernadetteJanson, who has a company called
Kevin:  Bernadette, thank you, and welcome to the show.
Bernadette:  Thank you, Kevin. I’m happy to be here.
Kevin:  Yeah, that opening, I seriously meant that. I think that women are very much in touch with the decoration part and really good at rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in some of the renovation, but from some of the videos I’ve watched, you say that that’s not 100% necessary.
Bernadette:  Well, to be honest with you, in some ways it can be a bit of a negative.
Kevin:  Yes.
Bernadette:  Because I’m speaking from experience here because in my early renovating years, my husband, Steven, and I did a lot of DIY, and the problem with doing it yourself is that you never actually count the cost of what you’re doing. So you’re not overly commercial about the type of property that you work on, and you can often end up, well you do end up working for nothing, basically. And so it wasn’t until we gave up the DIY and got a lot more strategic about it that we actually started to make real profit.
Kevin:  Is this, obviously, this plays a large part in what you do in The School of Renovating?
Bernadette:  It does, yes. So I really work with people to get them thinking more strategically because the thing about renovators and this doesn’t just apply to women. It’s men as well, is we’re very creative, and we love getting our hands dirty and doing things with our hands and can lose sight of what the big picture, what we’re supposed to be achieving. So what I do is actually work with them in those early stages to get them thinking very strategically about the type of property they buy and the strategy they apply to that property to achieve the outcome they want.
Bernadette:  And I find that’s a much more successful way to actually improve your financial position through renovating.
Kevin:  When you’re teaching people this, it’s a great skill, too, Bernadette. Do you see them all of a sudden realise, Wow, I’ve done renovations in the past, but I’ve never looked at it in that light?
Bernadette:  I have. I’ve actually had people in tears realising how much of their life and their family time that they have sort of frittered away because they’ve been charging down that DIY track, and it’s not got them what they wanted.
Kevin:  It’s easy to think that the DIY path is the best way because you’re saving money so therefore there’s going to be better profit at the end, but in a lot of instances, doing it yourself doesn’t always look as good as having a professional do it, either.
Bernadette:  I’d absolutely agree with you. I always think that you can never match the outcome of a tradesman that’s doing the same thing day in, day out every day. They become very skilled and fast and efficient. And so to be, to have that level of skill, it takes a very long time. And it’s fine if you do one project and you want to do as much as you can yourself, but the thing is that if you’re going to get ahead, you can’t just be a one-hit wonder. You’ve got to have, you have to move forward. And if you’re going to be doing that on every project, you’ll burn out very quickly.
Kevin:  The other point, too, I think is if you’re using qualified tradespeople, they’re in touch with the latest things in the market, the latest bits that they can bring into the property. They might be able to make some good suggestions, too. But the other thing, too, is that you’re able to work through the job a lot quicker because you might have different trades working at the same time as opposed to one person trying to do everything.
Bernadette:  Exactly. And to be honest with you, we sort of take it a level up. Like, I actually really tend to avoid using trades that are a one-man show, particularly trades like painting. You can have someone there for two weeks to do a job, but if you bring in a team, they can be in and out in about three days. So, yeah. It’s definitely an efficiency thing as well.
Kevin:  Tell me about your business, How do you operate? Is it online, or do you have face-to-face classes?
Bernadette:  So we do, we have the programme online, but I like to see, I like to know everyone that I’m working with personally. So we also have a live boot camp so everyone that we work with comes through that boot camp at some stage. Some times at the beginning, and some times at the end of 12 months, but, and the other reason we do that is so we can have a look the their plan and provide some sort of input into it because some of it, part of the reason people come to us is because they want help. And so it’s much easier to do that face to face. So, yes, we do.
Bernadette:  We also run programmes on Airbnb or short-term rental. Mainly because that’s, for renovators, it’s been a game-changer.
Kevin:  It has been a game-changer. It occurs to me, looking at your website and just picking up on that point you just made about one-on-one, that your model is not so much the seminar one size fits all, but you can actually develop a plan for the individual dependent on their time of life, I guess, their need and how much they can devote to it.
Bernadette:  Yeah. We actually, we like to work with someone and sort of actually see their results unfold. So they’ll come in completely green. They’ll get through their first project. So we’ve got people now that are on their third, fourth, fifth project and are really starting to gather up speed in terms of what they’ve been trying to achieve.
Kevin:  Well, you mentioned there about Airbnb, does the renovation to fit the Airbnb model differ a lot from, say, a normal renovation?
Bernadette:  It does a bit. You tend to not need to have so much in terms of a kitchen. It depends where the Airbnb is, but for us also, it’s a great Plan B. With every reno, if you’re planning to sell it, you need to have a Plan B, particularly in Sydney, the long-term market is not an option, mainly because it just won’t cover costs. So, yes, we can, we do renovate properties to hold on the short-term rental market for a long time, and we do tailor that renovation according to Airbnb, but we also use it for properties that we’re renovating for other purposes.
Kevin:  Great talking to you, Bernadette. Thank you very much for your time. BernadetteJanson, and the website is Thanks for your time, Bernadette.
Bernadette:  Thanks so much, Kevin.

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