Jay Cipriani

Q: What have you done recently to grow your business?

A: We launched a marketing campaign that is different from what most contractors in the area are doing. We came up with some print ads to engage our audience. They feature our project managers in kitchen and bathroom settings. For the kitchen ad, our manager was in a chef’s hat, apron and tool belt while using an electric drill to mix batter. The ad says, “Our craftsmen know kitchens. Jim not only can build a beautiful kitchen, he can cook in a beautiful kitchen, as well.”

In the second ad, one of our guys is in a bathroom with shaving cream all over his face and is using a trowel to shave. The photo caption reads, “Shave years off of your bathroom.” The ads are interesting and fun and actually feature our people. We’ve done pretty well with that type of interruptive marketing.

Q: What is your best business practice?

A: It is how we do our estimates and how we present them to our customers. Our estimates are very educational to the client. We go through a detailed needs assessment when we’re at their house. They comment that no one else had asked them the questions we do, but they see why the questions would be important to the process.

When we present our estimate, we also show the design we’ve put together in our 3-D software. We talk about the products we’ll be using, installation techniques, budgets and the people who’ll be working on the project. This approach really informs and educates clients about the entire process.

Q: What is your biggest challenge as a company?

A: Our biggest challenge is overcoming the stereotype of the unprofessional contractor.

It’s amazing how many people are truly surprised when we call them back because their expectations are so low. We work hard to demonstrate to homeowners that we care for their home. This is a great business to be in, and our gratification is in working side-by-side with our customers to complete their projects. That’s why we do this work.

Q: As you were growing up, what did you want to be?

A: I wanted to be a surgeon. As a hobby, I got my certification to be a paramedic. I had my remodeling business as a full-time career, but on Friday nights I would work for a local hospital part-time.

Q: What is your favorite item in your office?

A: Our “differentiation room.” It’s a room where we showcase unique products that make us different from other contractors. It includes no-VOC paints and adhesives, bathroom exhaust-fan timers and electrical devices that will turn lights on or off by a motion sensor or jamb switch. We take our customers into that room to educate them about these useful products and show them why we’re distinctive.

Community Involvement

Every year, Cipriani Remodeling Solutions’ employees and their families spend a Saturday building a handicap ramp for a private residence. The company also uses its holiday party as a Toys for Tots drive. In 2010, more than 70 employees, family members, subcontractors and suppliers attended, bringing in more than 150 toys.

Cipriani Remodeling Solutions also partners with Habitat for Humanity. It donates customers’ used kitchen and bathroom cabinets and kitchen appliances to be resold at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. “I think being able to give back to the community is one of my greatest achievements,” Cipriani says.