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Meet David Bryan of Total Basement Finishing in Salem

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Bryan.

Thanks for sharing your story with us David. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Our main company, Blackdog Builders is an award-winning company that has been remodeling homes and creating raving fans 1989. Over time we have added new home-related services to our offering.

Total Basement Finishing is our company that focuses exclusively on building beautiful, healthy and long lasting finished basements. While our construction company has done basement finishing since the beginning when we learned about the patented products and comprehensive system that was offered by Total Basement Finishing we knew it was the way we wanted to go. A Total Basement Finishing project uses a system approach that allows us to incorporate products that are uniquely suited to the basement environment and results in a finished basement that is less expensive, can be built in a shorter time frame and will not support mold or mildew growth. You get a healthy space that feels just like the first floor of your home.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Having our core business have 28 years under our belt has allowed Total Basement finishing to hit the ground running. The ramp up has been amazing. Our Total Basement Finishing business is a dealership whose corporate office, Basement Systems, is in Seymour Connecticut. They developed the products and designed the system that we use.

We received excellent training on every aspect of the business from Sales and software use to the best production methods used in finishing off a basement space.

There was certainly a learning curve and we made mistakes but, the support we got from the folks in CT made like much easier. Now that we have been at it for a while the process just keeps getting better.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Total Basement Finishing – what should we know?
Blackdog Builders has worked in the residential remodeling market almost exclusively since 1989. We design and build beautiful spaces for our clients. Over time we have developed a culture that delivers great results and great experiences to our clients. One of the things we talk about with our team is 9’s and 10’s. This is shorthand for how we create clients that are not just happy but, thrilled. We want every client to give us only 9’s and 10’s on a survey when we are done. On time and on budget with a happy client is a failure for us! We want clients who become apostles for us and recommend us with passion and enthusiasm. This is the culture for all the Blackdog companies including Total Basement Finishing.

Home improvement work and used car sales are usually neck and neck in terms of the most complaints to the better business bureau from disgruntled clients. This is mostly due to small companies that don’t focus on clients and the client experience, rather they focus on doing the work. The truth is – doing the work is the easy part. Installing the window correctly is making sure the joint in the trim is tight is not hard. The hard part is doing that work while people are living in the job site and making them feel comfortable, safe and well treated. This is where excel. We survey every client we work with and currently Blackdog has a 94% client satisfaction rating in an industry where the norm is 50%.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Integrity. We do what we say we are doing to do and when we make a mistake or drop a ball we fix it and get it right.


  • Many basements can be built for less than people think. We generally find the cost of finishing a basement to be between $60 and $75 per square foot, which is a complete cost for walls, flooring, ceiling, electrical and heating.

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