NAHB Remodeler of the Month: Communication Improves Business
Ron Jedwab, CAPS, president
Lincorp/Borchert, Washington, Mich., borchertbuilding.com
Year Founded: 1989
Number of Employees: Currently have 7 direct employees
Who started your company?
I started the company.
When and how did you choose this career?
As a second generation contractor, I grew up in this industry. I decided to stay in it because I enjoyed watching my projects come to fruition and felt a sense of accomplishment when I pass my jobsites years later and still see my work standing.
What did you do before becoming a remodeler?
I worked in various sales roles and was able to bring that experience with me to the remodeling industry.
How has the remodeling profession changed since you’ve been involved?
Since starting this business in the late 80’s clients have become more knowledgeable about products and how they are installed. This can be both a pro and a con. With Internet and home remodeling TV shows, a homeowner has the ability to search out new sources, products and techniques for installing what they see. This opens the opportunity to be challenged as a remodeler and push the envelope with designs. We are always looking to stay ahead of the curve, because our clients are coming to us and asking for specifics, as opposed to the past where we were just making the decisions for them. On the flip side of this, the door is open for a homeowner to question you as the expert in your industry, because they will search on Google or other sites to find an answer that will fit their position.
Right now, what is your focus as a remodeler — more growth or steady revenue at greater profitability? Please explain.
Because our overhead is set up to do high numbers, we are focused on more growth in both sales and volume. Recently, I’ve established higher sales goals for 2016 that we are focused on hitting to cover those expenses.
Many remodelers are reporting increases in their average job size in 2016, are you seeing this as well?
Towards the end of 2015 and throughout 2016 we have seen a definite increase in both the size of and scope of projects that homeowners are considering doing and the budgets that they are willing to spend to get those projects done.
Where do you go to look for solutions and ideas for your business?
I’ve established several sources for solutions and ideas that can help improve my business. One of the first places I might turn to is my own internal staff. Often when a challenge comes up, we will openly discuss the issue and listen to the various staff members’ input and perspective. Another valuable resource is a networking group I belong to, which is made up of fellow remodelers of various sizes and walks of life. This is a great resource for sharing ideas and swapping experiences. Another means of inspiration is my local HBA Chapter. The HBA will often hold seminars, get-togethers and chapter meetings, where topics of interest come up and are discussed.
If you could have a 30-minute conversation with any business leader in the country — to pick their brain for business ideas, who would it be?
I would love the opportunity to discuss business ideas with Dan Gilbert. His innovative ideas and out of the box thinking has helped grow his business interests in many ways. And some of those interests include the revitalization of the City of Detroit. His work has caused many to take a second look at investing in Detroit and making improvements.
Finding qualified labor is a challenge — are you hiring this year and how are you going about finding the right people for your company?
Although we are not hiring at this very moment, it is important to keep qualified candidates in the pipeline should we experience a change in personnel or a growth increase in business. Some of the ways we do this is by sourcing candidates through networking, referrals, the HBA and sites such as Indeed.com. This allows us to be proactive as opposed to hiring out of a panic effect.
What is your No. 1 source of leads right now and why is it working?
I have found that a high percentage of our best leads are being sourced from Houzz.com. The website gives us the ability to put forth our best work in conjunction with reviews and a targeted audience. The payoff has been very positive as we have seen consistently seen.
What is the most unusual project your company has completed?
One of the most unusual projects I worked on as a professional was a new construction home that was designed to be completely ADA compliant. There were absolutely no steps in the construction of the home on the exterior of the house and the interior, with the exception to the basement steps. Completing the home was a great accomplishment for me, not just because I was able to overcome the technical challenges of such construction, but also the personal satisfaction that I received in creating an environment the homeowner could viably function in.
What is your favorite item in your office?
The Big 50 Remodeler Plaque that we received to commemorate being chosen as one of the big 50 for 2016 by Remodeler magazine. It represents a culmination of years of hard work and is quite an honor!
What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?
The best advice I received was actually being shown a new approach to the design-build concept. A fellow colleague of mine opened my eyes to the idea that it wasn’t necessary to drive around to every potential lead and give out “free estimates.” This new approach gave me a whole new perspective on how I met with clients and allowed me to give value to my time and services. It also set me apart from everyone else.
What does being part of NAHB Remodelers mean to you?
I’m proud to be part of the NAHB. I know that being a member in this organization puts me in a group of like-minded and ethical remodelers who use a set guideline to do business.
What have you done to grow your business during the current economy?
We actively look for new ways to reach out to our markets and increase business. One of these includes teaching seminars to the general public that allow us to get in front of potential clients and stand out. We have also invested in updating our website and hiring an SEO company to handle optimization of the site. Another important aspect of our growth was increasing our marketing budget to include “featured” opportunities on Houzz, Angie’s List and advertorials with local newspapers.
What motivates you every day?
I enjoy the field that I am in. I’m motivated to do this, knowing that I’m creating a product that my clients, my staff and I can be proud of.
Anything else you’d like to mention about career accomplishments?
I’m proud to be able to finally offer my clients a brick and mortar location that services them from start to finish. I’m also proud to be able to give back to my community by volunteering in several non-profit organizations including, Builders Association, JFS, JVS and Help for Our Disabled Troops.