Editorial: Recovery Needs Attention, Focus to Create Results

authors Patrick O'Toole | June 3, 2020

Remodelers and home improvement companies, like all small businesses, face unprecedented challenges this spring. That, of course, is an understatement. By now, you are well past the shock-and-awe phase. Hopefully you have your bearings, and you are moving forward.

Moving forward is a phrase with critical importance. What does moving forward mean to you? If it means facing a new fight every morning, from my conversations with many of you recently, that sounds about right. If it means trying to “get back to where we were a few months ago,” or working the old playbook now that the country is re-opened, that is probably a mistake. Yes, the fundamentals of remodeling and home improvement—the products, the scheduling, the installations—those remain the same. But your clients have changed. Demand has shifted. Marketing and lead-gen have changed. Sales has changed.

Owners and managers who astutely face these new challenges are literally writing new playbooks as they go. And, from some of the many success stories we are hearing, there are some emerging opportunities.

Larry Chavez Sr.

Larry Chavez Sr., owner of Dreamstyle Remodeling, which is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, recently walked through the steps he and his marketing leader, Dawn Dewey, have taken to provide leads to the sales team that supports their very diversified home improvement business in five states. Let’s start with the headline: Dreamstyle is having the best month in the history of their company. For a point of reference, in 2018 the company billed $107 million in revenue on 8,000-plus jobs in New Mexico, Southern California, Arizona, West Texas, Colorado and Idaho. They offer full-scale remodels in New Mexico, Arizona and West Texas, and they offer windows and shower conversions everywhere.

Chavez and Dewey both described their initial shock at losing leads from home shows and events. And in the early days of the pandemic, they tried to cut back on media, but most monthly ads could not be cancelled. It turns out, they say, that it was very positive that those ads ran. Seeing the interest and success of those ads, they pivoted and invested heavily in TV and direct mail. Lead flow began returning to past levels by early April, and they blew past prior benchmarks in the weeks that followed. “Every day I am focused on supporting our sales team with leads they will need to sell jobs tomorrow,” Dewey says.

Chavez kept his sights on the messaging about keeping clients and employees safe. Accessing the best medical and safety protocols, he developed a set of standards and consistently pushed that message out to team members and clients. The company created an 11-point prescriptive safety pledge that had to be signed by each subcontractor before they were permitted to interact with clients. For Chavez, it goes back to keeping the promise of the Dreamstyle brand of professionalism and high-quality work he had developed over decades in the business. Chavez’s words on the topic are worth remembering as we move forward in new ways.

“If you have invested in building a brand, and if you deliver a quality product that is known and expected, consumers will carefully consider how they spend their money and choose you.” QR

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