Relationship-based Remodeling

We all know the construction industry has changed dramatically. Therefore, some remodeling contractors are finding new ways to grow their businesses by offering services that homeowners need and want. If homeowners plan to stay in their homes for the next five to 10 years, what improvements make financial sense? Can you help them with that assessment?

The Home Asset Management Plan is a proactive business concept in which remodelers work with homeowners to develop a three- to five-year plan for their homes, starting with a whole-house inventory. By noting existing repairs, maintenance and caretaking items, remodelers can offer a continuum of services. By initiating calls with past customers, they move their clients from a reactive business relationship (they call, we come) into a proactive plan (we call, we come) that identifies work as far out as five years.

For example, Turko Semmes of Semmes & Co. Builders Inc., Atascadero, Calif., recently called a past client offering a home inventory to help the homeowner identify outstanding service issues with his home. As a result of that inventory, Semmes put together a list of projects and helped the homeowner prioritize them. Semmes identified the following:

  • Pour small footing around the home (rodent problem): $8,211
  • Seal shower wall to eliminate wet block in master bath: $693
  • Install slab at pool equipment: $2,184
  • Seal exterior block above roof to address water issues: $2,712
  • Install roof diverters: $436
  • Detail and resurface cabinets: $1,224
  • Total project costs: $15,460

Semmes knew he should keep in touch with past clients, but he never had a systematic program to follow. The Home Asset Management Plan has helped him create the systems to actively contact past clients to assist them with managing their biggest asset. He compares the home inventory to a doctor’s physical.

Shawn Van Dyke of Red Bud Construction Services, Knoxville, Tenn., had a similar experience with the program. As a general contractor specializing in design/build residential renovations, he found he was constantly performing repairs and addressing additional maintenance issues during the course of clients’ projects. He has adopted the Home Asset Management Plan approach and has found the proactive business concept serves his business in three primary areas: sales, marketing and project performance.

When he meets with an owner to review a potential project, Van Dyke asks him or her about other work that needs to be performed. Many homeowners share a “laundry list” of items that need attention outside of the scope of work on which Van Dyke is bidding. In some cases, although he didn’t get the project he was bidding, Van Dyke was the only contractor willing to address the items on the laundry list, ensuring him work months into the future. For example, he often addresses the following: painting, gutter and fascia repair and replacement, water-intrusion issues, leaking and inoperable fixtures, maintenance and service of major HVAC and electrical systems, plumbing and moisture control. By offering this expanded service, he is able to sell more services to a single client, offer potential clients a go-to person for the smallest projects, and increase his productivity while on the job because of his ability to plan and schedule work in advance. The Home Asset Management Plan has become a valuable tool for Van Dyke’s small construction company to maintain relationships with owners and subcontractors and to keep work coming in the door. Not only is the program a useful service to his clients, but it also is one of his best “products” to generate word-of-mouth exposure, which is the cornerstone of his business.

Every contractor has a small number of “just come do it” clients. This relationship is so strong that “just come do it” clients don’t worry about pricing. The Home Asset Management Plan can create and extend that “just come do it” mentality to a much larger portion of your client base. This is the business model for the new economy. Stop looking for your next project. Proactively manage your client relationships, and the business will follow.

Learn more about the Home Asset Management Plan

David Lupberger will speak about the Home Asset Management Plan in an upcoming Business Growth Series Webinar. The Webinar, which is hosted by Qualified Remodeler and MarketSharp, takes place April 27 at 2 p.m. EST. To sign up, visit ExteriorContractor.com/webinars2011.

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