As a producer, cameramen, assistants and a sound guy mill around the Plymouth set of an upcoming Bath Crashers episode, star Matt Muenster is looking out for his Plymouth contractor.
“Can somebody get that big chunk of sheetrock dust out of Ryan’s hair?” Muenster asks.
Pardon Ryan Prosser if he isn’t polished. Before the dust is promptly brushed aside, the man behind Prosser Construction was briskly finishing a bathroom expansion and remodel in the matter of a few frantic days for the weekly DIY Network show.
“Quiet on the set,” the producer shouts.
Prosser takes his place next to Muenster as they gave “Babs*” the first glimpse of her decadent new bathroom digs on Terraceview Lane in Plymouth.
“Oh, my, it’s beautiful!” Babs says.
“It’s frilly, it’s fancy, it’s elegant,” Muenster says as he shows her the show-record two layers of crown molding, the glistening chandelier, the spacious makeup station and other elegant elements.
“It’s more than I wanted,” Babs says.
She was soon scoping out the shower when Muenster whipped the curtain shut.
“Who is gonna luffa my back?” Babs asks.
“Ryan?” Muenster shouts.
It’s a joke, but Prosser has shown a serious ability to do it all. When a fellow contractor couldn’t do a Bath Crashers episode in November 2010, Prosser filled in.
“I was tickled pink to do it, and after one, they said, ‘Welcome to the team,’” Prosser said as the bathroom unveiling gave way to beers and champagne toasts at a post-show party.
Prosser has done more than 10 episodes of Bath Crashers—from Burnsville to St. Paul and from Eden Prairie to Coon Rapids—in the past 15 months. The episodes mean that he has to work long days and schedule subcontracts for his other projects. (During this December taping in Plymouth, Prosser had other job sites in Plymouth, Edina and Maple Grove.) But managing this workload allows for routine TV appearances—and the resulting marketing benefits.
“It adds credibility to say we work with Bath Crashers,” says Prosser, who has been in business for himself for three years and has worked in the field for 15.
To receive this marketing opportunity, though, Prosser and others—such as plumbers and electricians—often work through the night.
On the day before a bathroom unveiling last season, the tub didn’t fit. The paperwork said it was correct, but you can’t show homeowners their new bathroom with exposed plumbing where the tub should be.
To get it right, Prosser drove overnight to a Chicago showroom to buy the last right-size tub available. He turned around at 8 a.m. and headed straight back to Minnesota to install it a few hours before the homeowner was set to see it at 5 p.m.
“It’s insanity, but he does it with a smile,” says Ryan’s wife, Joanna Prosser.
Muenster, whose show has done more than 55 bathroom remodels, says Prosser possesses a rare combination of speed and quality.
“Ryan is fast,” Muenster says. “We are usually ahead of schedule, which is rare, but he has an attention to detail—a mix not often seen.”
Prosser says he enjoys the test and that “anybody can do it in two months.”
“It’s more the challenge of such a short timeframe, and we aren’t putting in a standard 5-foot tub and shower head,” he says. “There is a lot of custom work.”
The most difficult task they attempt to complete in a few days is relocating plumbing, Prosser says. At the recent Plymouth house, for example, they knocked out a wall to the office in order to triple the size of the bathroom.
“It’s not a facelift,” Prosser says. “It’s a whole new feel.”
The feeling of being on television provoked the Prossers to set up a viewing party at Medina Ballroom for the airing of his first show in January 2011. More than 30 friends and family—including the Prossers’ three children, Elise, 10, Siri, 8, and Baron, 3—came out to see him on the tube.
When Prosser started his own business in 2009, not many customers knew of him. To change that, his wife and kids would drive around Plymouth neighborhoods stuffing newspaper boxes with promotional post cards. Starting a business amidst a prolonged economic slump had Joanna second-guessing.
“What are you doing starting now?” she recalls asking.
“If not now, when?” Prosser recalls replying. To get the business off the ground, he would retreat to the basement office to produce late-night bids.
“It couldn’t have been a scarier time,” Joanna says.
But now, Prosser Construction has Ryan leading, Joanna doing some designing and sub-contractors assisting. Already for 2012 the team has 20–30 projected, seven or eight of those for Bath Crashers.
“This brings us closer when a lot of couples couldn’t work together,” Joanna says.
Melody Sweeney of Plymouth had Prosser Construction remodel her family’s mudroom. Ryan knocked out the closet and removed the sink. He installed hooks for coats and bags.
Sweeney was impressed with the progress, saying that it was fine, but Prosser wasn’t satisfied.
“He’s a perfectionist,” Sweeney says. “He would say, ‘No. It needs to be done right.”
3230 Shady View Ln. N.
Some do-it-yourself tips from DIY Network regular, Plymouth’s own Ryan Prosser:
- It’s important to have the right tools for the job. Save up, and buy good tools instead of cheap ones.
- Study what construction processes should go first.
- Take your time.
- Strive for professionalism.
- Watch the DIY Network, and see Matt Muenster’s tips (also available right now at diynetwork.com.