emodeling contractors are facing tough times, and manufacturers have taken note. To help remodelers weather the economic storm, manufacturers have devised new services, offerings and incentives designed to strengthen their customers’ businesses.
A coalition of manufacturers support a program through Minneapolis-based BI Coalition Marketing Group called Contractor Rewards, which incentivizes remodelers for their purchases. Launched last year, contractors gain points by buying products from participating manufacturers. Points can be applied toward 140,000 reward items, such as contractor-grade tools, office equipment for the business, or tickets to concerts and ball games. The process is simple: Remodelers take a 12-digit code from a yellow label on an eligible purchased product and enter it online at ContractorRewards.com to start earning points. Because remodelers can combine points from many manufacturers, points add up quickly.
“Many contractor participants are small businesses and sole proprietors who use the rewards as employee appreciation gifts, door prizes at Christmas parties, part of lead-generation programs or thank-you gifts to customers,” says Tony Thomas, director of contractor rewards at BI Coalition Marketing Group. “With family budgets so tight and business owners working so hard, accrued points can also offer a guilt-free personal reward just for doing business with our sponsors.”
The program also addresses a communication void; Thomas says smaller remodeling companies had been feeling ignored by large manufacturers. The program gives manufacturers a way to reconnect with remodelers and give them the incentives to retain their loyalty.
Foot in the Door
Exterior remodelers can operate successfully until bad weather hits. Liners Direct, Roselle, Ill., is helping exterior remodelers combat the elements with an entrée into interior work. Dave Wilson, Liners Direct’s director of marketing, says many exterior remodelers don’t know how to approach homeowners about working in the home, but beautiful bath exhibits with attention-getting colors and walk-in showers can help them open up the conversation.
“The bathroom renovation market captures homeowners’ imaginations in a way that new gutters don’t,” Wilson explains. “Accessibility is critical in today’s market, and our dealers can usually redo a bathroom with one truck and one installer in one day. The ability to showcase these services as part of your repertoire opens the door with homeowners for added work.”
A free application for the iPad allows customers to build their own bathroom on the spot. Remodelers can help customers pick bath or shower color and pattern combinations that look good with their existing flooring and wall paint. The technology gives smaller remodeling companies a way to engage customers and provides them with access to an expensive design tool that only larger contractors typically can afford.
Maumee, Ohio’s Therma-Tru Doors also developed a suite of software tools to help remodelers get their customers’ attention. As part of its cloud-technology-based Sales Accelerator program, Picture Perfect allows remodelers to take a photo of a customer’s door and import it into the software while in the home. The system maps out which entry door system will fit the space and lets the homeowner select a door, showing them what it will look like once installed.
“Consumers have trouble visualizing what will look good on their house without assistance, and this software program can really spur excitement,” says Bill Wagner, manager of Go-to-Market Technology for Therma-Tru Doors. “Once they have the specific size requirements and select an overall product, the remodeler guides the customer to all of the options available in their market.”