An Outsider’s Approach

It’s interesting to hear how remodelers get their start in the industry. Many times, it’s a family business or others may explain how the job market was down and they knew someone who needed some help building a house. More often now, business people looking to get their hands in a hot market are getting involved in remodeling. Geoff Horen, CAPS, NAHB’s Remodeler of the Month for July, has an extensive background in corporate America, but got his start based on a bad remodeling experience his father had with his own home.

Horen, chief executive officer, spent six years with Bank One. He served as a market manager of multiple banking centers for Bank One in the Indianapolis market before becoming a national operations manager of all accounts payable processing for Bank One.

Horen used his vast business experience to open the doors of The Lifestyle Group, a full-service remodeling company, in 1999. Joining the team were Horen’s father, Rich, a high-level executive for Bank One Corporation and sister, Kiersten, an accountant with Ernst & Young. Having no construction background, the team immediately hired peole who did — and hired the best they could find.

“We hired good people, offered outstanding customer service and the business grew quickly,” explains Horen. “Later, our brother, Ryan, graduated from college and came to work for the company.”

Since then, Horen has dedicated himself and his company to improving the industry’s reputation and quickly got involved in every aspect of the business. His industry involvement includes being an active participant on a national level in the Remodelers 20 program. Horen has been president of his group, Club #4 Rhinos, for more than five years and Lifestyle has been part of the Rhinossince since the dub was formed in 1999.

Since 2000, Horen has sat on the Indianapolis Remodelors Council Board of Directors and served as president from 2002 to 2005 and is still an active member of the board.

With his growing knowledge of the industry, Horen knew he needed to set his company apart from the rest and did so by implementing unique business practices, superior customer service and high-end technology.

“Innovation is the foundation of our company in comparison to how a typical remodeling company might be perceived,” says Horen. “We have taken our large corporation experience and added the element of customer service to treat you like you deserve to be treated.”

As a whole, the company has used technology to a great extent. The company adopted a program called Basecamp, a Web-based communication system that clients can access by password 24 hours a day. Project managers also utilize a marketing e-mail tool that electronically connects with clients, suppliers, potential leads and personal contacts. “We are not afraid to experiment, having attempted a two-year relationship with Home Depot doing all of their kitchen installations as a means of exploring a separate line of business,” adds Horen.

The Lifestyle Group is the only remodeling company in central Indiana that can offer clients a “One Stop Shop” experience for any remodeling project through the use of their Remodeling Design Center on the southeast side of Indianapolis. In a couple hours, clients can make all of their project selections and be physically looking at their kitchen cabinet selection next to their chosen countertop with the flooring selection and paint colors ... all in one place with maximum convenience.