Separating from the Pack
Title: Shane McLendon, Manager and Founder
Home Remedies LLC, Jackson, Miss., homeremediesllc.com
Year Founded: September 2007
Number of Employees: 3
When and how did you choose this career?
I decided to open my own business while on deployment to Afghanistan in 2003. I had remodeled my own house but knew I needed to learn a lot more before I tried doing it professionally, so I went to work for other construction companies for about three years. My wife was in school at the time and we financially could not afford to start up Home Remedies, until she was hired as a teacher.
What did you do before becoming a remodeler?
I was going to a community college to get an associates degree in Electronics. After I got back from my deployment I did not want to spend any more time in a classroom. I worked at Sherwin Williams for five years while I was going to night classes at a local community college. Then went to work for a subcontractor where I learned how to think through projects. Then I went to work for Heritage Homes and Remodeling where I primarily installed windows and doors. I left that job to start Home Remedies, which started off as a handy man/ home repair service. Over the years, jobs became larger and larger.
How has the remodeling profession changed since you’ve been involved?
The cost of doing business and the cost of materials have changed drastically. I have noticed people want to invest more money into their homes now instead of moving or building. Some of that is the fact that I am moving into a different market than what I started.
Right now, what is your focus as a remodeler — more growth or steady revenue at greater profitability? Please explain.
Definitely steady revenue at greater profitability. Remodeling is unique in the fact that I work in peoples’ homes as they live there along with all of their belongings. I have to trust the employees, and subcontractors that I put in peoples’ homes. The more homes I am in the more that can go wrong. Once I found out how difficult it is to manage jobs, employees, subs, and customers I gave up on franchising. Another way of looking at it is that I have worked really hard to learn more and execute better. Trying to separate myself from other remodelers, I don’t want a lot of jobs. I like unique projects that challenge my creativity. I love being able to meet design challenges.
Many remodelers are reporting increases in their average job size in 2016, are you seeing this as well?
I have noticed people are spending more on average.
Where do you go to look for solutions and ideas for your business?
To complete jobs I rely heavily on suppliers, and designers to educate me on products, and design concepts. The business side I get advice from the usual CPA, and attorneys. I also look to other builders and remodelers. I love that I have a great relationship with other remodelers that have been in business longer than I have. I can go to them for their advice or opinion, and it’s a reciprocal relationship.
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?
Dave Ramsey. Listening to his radio show back when I was in college is what created a desire to start my own business. He is big into being debt free and living on less than you make.
Finding qualified labor is a challenge — are you hiring this year and how are you going about finding the right people for your company?
I don’t know if it is a guy thing or what, but no one wants to admit they can’t do something. I can find labor that has great confidence and no ability. I have been actively recruiting more this year to find good subs that I don’t have to babysit. One thing that has helped is new construction. I am building a house in a neighborhood with about 10 other builders so I can go talk to subs and look at their work as well. Also I have been asking some suppliers for recommendations on subs.
What is your No. 1 source of leads right now and why is it working?
Word of mouth. I have a lot of satisfied customers that tell everybody about a good experience. Couple that with a good website that showcases my work and you have a phone that will not stop ringing.
What is the most unusual project your company has completed?
Everything is customized around the customer so I can’t really think of anything that would be note worthy. I put a toilet seat in that converted a toilet into a bidet.
What is your favorite item in your office?
Amanda. She is the most amazing office manager.
What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?
I was really looking for something more profound but it has been very true. Do a good job and treat people fairly.
What does being part of NAHB mean to you?
It means that I am in an organization of like-minded business professionals that want to improve the building industry. Whether it be safety, regulatory, building codes, or financially. It is a place where I have found mentors, encouragement, and education that have helped me become a better person as well as business man.
What have you done to grow your business during the current economy?
I helped start A/C Remedies, expanding into the HVAC market.
What motivates you every day?
Family of course, but one of the reasons I started my business was my wife and I could not afford to fund missions or local church programs. Owning my own business has helped us get our income to where we can afford to give more. Another reason is I like helping people. I was created to serve others and that is what I love to do.
Anything else you’d like to mention about career accomplishments?
When I started my business, I started it with a 1987 Nissan Sentra, a 6-ft. ladder, paint brush, roller, and a couple of drop cloths, and no business experience. Most lessons have been learned the hard way, but I remained focused, kept my head down, and worked through it, and I appreciate all the people that have been there for me, whether it was for advice, encouragement, or believing in me.