NAHB Remodeler of the month: From Practice to Business

When Ben Morey started his career in the construction field 30 years ago, work was a practice not a business. There was very little administration. Company owners were their own lone employee. They worked in the field themselves and worked to make ends meet. As times have changed, Morey believes the industry is now a business. His company, Morey Construction, designs, builds and remodels. He has numerous employees in three departments, and has worked to help up-and-coming remodelers run their companies like a business, using information he wishes he had when he was starting out.

Morey started his career out of high school, as the primary carpenter for a general contractor who built large custom homes. He then began work in the San Joaquin Valley doing insurance restoration where he discovered that he was intrigued by the problem-solving aspect of remodeling. Since then, his business has grown into two companies, one designing, building and remodeling projects over $100,000 and another company focusing on kitchen and bath projects.

Morey Construction is admired for its approach to customer service. “Customer service is ongoing,” says Morey. “Once a client, you are a client for life. We stay in touch with past clients with a monthly newsletter, and we have an annual ‘Key Client’ dinner for all past clients, going back 10 years, who actively refer us to others and open their homes for prospective clients.”

Morey Construction also stands out in the area of marketing by using the business best practice of target marketing to clients that match their profile of a “best client.” This practice begins by identifying common traits of best clients. For example, some qualities include people who have lived in their home for more than two years. Most are business owners with an income of $200,000 or better. These best clients are also looking for a long-term relationship with a remodeler.

Morey Construction then locates target areas where they can most likely find people that match the best client profile. This is done by looking at populations in a specific zip code and average home-sale prices over the previous 30 days. Lastly, they saturate these areas with postcards on a monthly basis. Once they do work in the area, they also rely on these “best clients” to tell others about the work that they do.

“I believe it is important to create a business model based on people telling others about your business and how you do business. This is when we use our key client dinner,” Morey says.

Over the past two years, Ben Morey has been the driving force in the revision of the dues structure within his local NAHB Remodelers chapter. He helped ensure the changes made were in their best interests. Additionally, Morey pushed the council to offer more educational opportunities and bring quality programs to their members.

Morey’s contribution to the council all fit into his goal of making remodeling a business more than just a practice. “California has been a wasteland for organizations that involve remodeling. There has not been a presence of a NAHB Remodelers council. I know there is a need because I wish there had been something like this when I started. There is a need for interaction between companies sharing best practices. If I get a referral for a project in an area where I don’t do work, I can get someone else a job; that’s good business.”

This past February, Morey completed the Instructor Certification process through NAHB allowing him to teach Business Management for the Building Professional and Design Build. Morey then offered to be the NAHB Remodelers In-House Instructor at no cost.

In addition to business values, Morey values his family time and advises others that as a grandparent, he recognizes the importance of family time. “If you don’t have a business that is truly a business, you can’t spend important time with family members, and that is certainly more important as time progresses for me.”