NAHB Remodeler of the Month: Selling Experience
authors Kyle Clapham | September 16, 2020
When and how did you choose a career in remodeling?
I have been involved in some aspect of home building and property maintenance since I was a teen. I was also involved in the ski industry, which is heavy on service. I found it hard to understand why tradesmen and business owners physically work so hard and, at the same time, do not pay attention to the client experience. In 2009 when the economy was in poor shape, I decided to start my own company with a focus on customer service in addition to solid craftsmanship.
What does NAHB Remodelers mean to you?
The remodelers’ community is so important to the development of a profession. I feel it is a necessity to belong to a group dedicated to solid business practices, professional development and collaboration. It has been a pleasure working with colleagues and business owner across the country sharing best practices, new developments and a sense of cooperation rather than competition. As business owners we are faced with challenges and obstacles around every corner. Remodeling is a difficult business.
How has remodeling changed since you’ve been involved?
I feel the biggest change is that remodelers are running better companies and gaining traction as a legitimate profession. The clientele we serve expect more, are more knowledgeable, and have a better grasp on selections, quality and, in some cases, the process as well. Our clients are getting more involved at the planning stage and, in turn, help control their budgets and final project outcome. Holding clients accountable for their selections and behaviors is a big change we have seen.
Where are the greatest opportunities in the market?
I believe the biggest opportunity is offering a service rather than a product. If we continue to sell experience along with consistent, reliable results, I think that will stand out and be a better indicator of overall success in any location.
What is the biggest challenge right now for your business?
I see the shortage of skilled labor—or even interested labor—as our greatest challenge. That combined with the recent surge in project demand is also stressing our supply chain and vendors. We are constantly seeking young talent and new business owners and helping them run better businesses. We offer coaching and best practices to our trade partners as well. If they have a stronger business, we have a stronger partner.
What is your focus as a remodeler/for your business?
Our biggest focus in the last couple years is on our process and systems. By developing our process and developing the system, we have more consistent and reliable results. This helps employees, trade partners and our clients by setting expectations, deadlines and communication standards. By managing the process and communicating along the way, we are essentially managing expectations. When the expectations are outlined and communicated, only then can they be met or exceeded.
How do you find the right people for your company?
We have hired and are looking to develop the office, project management and design side of our business. We focus on working with specialty trade partners to help them grow and solidify their business. We make more employee connections and referrals to our trade partners than hiring ourselves.
What is your No. 1 source of leads right now?
Our website is our biggest lead source. We direct our social media, YouTube and all other marketing to the website. We have been working on the website platform for a couple years to make sure the details are designed to drive quality leads. We have partnered with myonlinetoolbox.com to achieve this goal. With their direction we have been able to develop content for our projects; they in turn set the developers up for success by arranging the content. This has been a winning combination for us.
What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?
The remodeling business is a lot like physical fitness: You need to put in work, have the discipline to follow a structure, and need to make improvements every day. In the short term, progress is hard to see but, over the long term, the results will be unbelievable.
What motivates you every day?
The challenge of delivering an experience that is unique and exceptional in a circumstance where the odds are not always in your favor. I enjoy the conversations that follow at the end of a successful project. QR