With an education and background in engineering, Spencer Shaw worked on large, complex vertical construction projects in the West. All the travel took a toll on him, however, and he began to look around for opportunities that would keep him closer to his young family in Boise, Idaho. Someone online introduced him to franchising, and after a year or two of consideration, he chose Re-Bath.
“It was the return on the investment,” says Shaw, whose background in construction did not come into play when making the decision. “When we see downturns in the economy, bathrooms seem to be pretty resilient. For a lot of people, it’s a need and not a want. So, I really appreciate that about it.
“But I think more valuable than anything was the network of existing Re-Bath owners and their experience and systems and processes that they had developed—and their openness to share among [themselves],” he notes. The organization also provides new owners with all the resources available to get their business up and running quickly, especially on the sales and marketing side.
“I didn’t come from a marketing or sales background, so it was a real eye opener for me in terms of what it takes to drive a business like this, which really doesn’t live off referral business,” Shaw says. “What changed the game for us dramatically in those early years when we started growing significantly was figuring out the marketing and sales piece—and becoming really good at that.”
He quickly learned no “silver bullet” exists and that the sales and marketing landscape constantly changes. The company still relies heavily on TV advertising and traditional online marketing, but much like print advertising years ago, those avenues have started to cool off as well, Shaw notes. Therefore, the business continues to explore and test different options to stay ahead of the curve.
“It’s all about how quickly you get to that consumer before competitors do; speed-to-lead is very important,” he says. “We’ve gotten a lot better at that in response time, and we’ve continued to refine our call campaigns to make sure that they’re effective as possible in terms of how often we’re reaching out to customers and utilizing text messaging, email and voicemail drops.
“A lot of those things, we didn’t used to do in the past,” he adds. “I think it’s contributed to that conversion efficiency from lead to appointment set. In the home, we’ve tried to adapt our sales presentation to today’s consumer. We’ve had to change our swing in terms of how we streamline and consolidate the information that we’re presenting to customers but still make it impactful.”
Re-Bath Northwest began operating in 2006 and expanded to Spokane, Washington, in 2009. The company ran those two locations for years but realized that attaining exponential growth would only become more difficult. Shaw and his business partner Evan Wyke considered taking on adjacent work—i.e., kitchens—before extending geographically.
“We put ourselves on a 10-year plan in 2018 to become the go-to bathroom remodeler in the Northwest and shoot for north of $50 million in revenue by the end of 2028,” he explains. “The first step of that was in 2019, we opened up the Portland location; and in 2020, we started in the Seattle market.”
Last year, the business generated more than $28 million in revenue, and Shaw established a goal of $37.5 million for 2023. So far, the company is tracking closer to $38 million. Back when he first started out, Re-Bath addressed only the tub and shower area, but now the organization offers full bathroom and remodeling services, which adds some complexity to the management of the business.
“It’s taken some time to calibrate the business to be able to make it as efficient as it was when we were doing just tub-shower areas,” Shaw says. “But what it’s done is allowed us to position ourselves as a complete solution for the customer in the bathroom versus all the companies out there today that are focused on just the tub-shower area. When you have the opportunity to work with a company that actually understands the entire bathroom, then there is less risk to the consumer.
“We’ve actually widened our demographic,” he says. “We’re doing more business with younger customers than we ever have just because it’s not all about tub-to-shower conversions and walk-in tubs. It’s about customers who are also wanting to basically redo the look of their entire bathroom.” QR