Fresh Challenges

Possibly one of the greatest challenges remodelers face today is the client who bases his or her hiring decision on price. A survey of 600 remodeling firm executives conducted by Qualified Remodeler earlier this year reveals that competing on price is a problem for 82 percent of respondents across the country. When faced with this type of client, 86 percent of remodelers say they will fight for the business.

Competing on price is one element of the reality remodelers face, and they face this issue more often today than a few years ago, that’s for sure. Combating this mind-set is a matter of getting clients to think about anything and everything but price. Strategies include focusing discussions with your clients about the long-term benefits of using a quality contractor; ways to tweak the design to fit the budget; prioritizing must-haves and would-likes, then adjusting allowances; splitting the project into phases that are more easily digestable; showing the value of your business through awards you’ve won and your firm’s commitment to your community; and third-party testimonials from past clients and trade partners.

Another option is to simply walk away from the work. Some remodelers (11 percent) tell us this is their way of dealing with price shoppers.

Finally, there’s the approach of not competing on price in the first place. This can be accomplished by targeting households in geographic areas less prone to price shopping, such as high-end neighborhoods. Or engage in work only with homeowners referred to you by past clients.

Getting clients off the topic of price can be accomplished by discussing your qualifications, including any completed continuing-education courses; designations earned, such as those from trade associations; and legally required ertifications, like the one needed to comply with the lead-paint law. Most homeowners aren’t aware of the RRP requirements, and pointing them out could position your firm as being on the ball and more enlightened than your competition. Of course, this also could position you in their eyes as a hassle they’d rather avoid, in which case you probably don’t want them as your client anyway. Still, it’s important to demonstrate your knowledge, experience and qualifications so you stand out from the crowd of competitors.

Marketing could be the engine that drives a wedge between your firm and your competition. But how, exactly, do you promote your business to clients who think price is the only game in town? Qualified Remodeler answers this question and others in the article beginning on page 34 of this issue, which includes results of our latest reader survey. It reveals only 10 percent of remodelers plan on reducing their marketing investment in 2011; the rest plan on doing whatever it takes to keep the stream of projects flowing.

Advisory Board Update

Qualified Remodeler is proud to announce the addition of Jeffrey Holloway, CKD, CBD, to its editorial advisory board. Holloway, president of Holloway Home Improvement Center LLC, Marmora, N.J., has been designing kitchens and bathrooms for more than 20 years and is a regular contributor to the magazine’s Kitchen/Bath Education Series, which appears in each issue.
Learn more about the advisory board by visiting qualifiedremodeler.com/advisoryboard.

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