Willet Construction, Remodeling Specialists

by Emily Blackburn

Lincoln, NE
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96%
GQ 2020 Recommend Rate: 94%
Number of Jobs in 2020: 86
Type of Firm: Design/Build, Full-service Remodeler
CEO: Rick Willet

1. Demand for services is stronger than ever. Supply delays are widespread. Building product prices are rising. Please name the concrete steps you take to keep customers satisfied as timelines and prices are fluctuating?

Fortunately with a consistent backlog of 3 – 5 months, we make sure we complete product selections soon after signing a construction contract so that we can order products months in advance of needing them. We have a warehouse to store products until they are needed on the jobsite. Also we have multiple vendors for most products such as 4 lines of cabinets. That way if a customer has a specific timeline to meet, we can match up what supplier is able to accommodate getting the product on time.

As for price increases of products; as of today we have been able to absorb the increases without passing them onto the customer. We give up a certain percentage in gross profit, but with the high demand of projects, we plan to make up the lost GP by producing more volume this year than was budgeted. The customers are well aware of product price increases through news media and if we can absorb the price increases for them, we feel we build a strong trust with our clients and fulfill our mission statement: “Deliver top-quality service and craftsmanship for an exceptional experience that results in customers for life.”

Each year, about 60% of our projects are with repeat clients. We are in this for the long term, and building trust and loyalty with clients will carry us through tough times and price increases.

2. A good remodeling or home improvement firm knows the limits of its capabilities to take on additional work. What do/would you communicate to clients when you cannot handle their job and must decline their inquiry?

I would say that unfortunately, we cannot accommodate their wishes at this time. If they are a good client fit, I would explain to them the benefits of delaying their project until we could work it into the schedule, especially if they want to work with a quality company to provide them with a great experience and bring their dream to reality. If they cannot wait, I will give them a referral of another company that may be able to fulfill their needs. I will also tell them that I would appreciate them giving us an opportunity on their next project and to contact us approximately 5 – 6 months ahead of when they want to start a project so we have time to work them into our schedule.

3. During busy times like these, operational adjustments are needed in order to take on more work, often with the same level of staffing. What steps have you taken to ensure a quality experience despite the added workloads for your team?

Our sales manager (myself) meets with each sales member individually on a bi-weekly basis to review the open leads they are working on and help them manage their schedules to prevent them from getting overwhelmed. At times when they are overly busy, we might delay meeting with new prospects for up to a month for a first visit so to avoid being over-loaded. Many excellent potential clients know that it is worth the wait to work with a quality service oriented company like ourselves. We also work hard to inform clients when they can expect our next communication with them so they are not left wondering if we forgot them.

We also focus on a “”TEAM”” atmosphere where everyone is available to help where needed if someone on our team is getting overwhelmed. Someone is always offering help to others to keep each other excited about how much we care for each other. We do not want anybody working too many hours. We actually teach, preach, and show by example that we should not have to work more the 50 hours per week and our focus is mostly at 40 – 45 hours per week. All of our sales people are taught how to avoid going on appointments in the evening or weekend. We want them home with their own families, which I think is much appreciated by each employee and keeps morale at a high level.

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