Making Time for Marketing

Most remodeling companies now have a spot on the World Wide Web, but in 1995, Stephen Robinson was one of the few remodelers that could make this claim. Realizing the importance of marketing and technology, Robinson grew his 16-year-old business from $85,000 to a $1.8 million company in 2006. Because of his vast marketing know-how and dedication to his company, community, environment and industry, Stephen Robinson, CGB, CGR, GMB, CAPS, owner of R.E. Construction & Maintenance Services, New Castle, Ind., was named the NAHB Remodeler of the Month for June.

Robinson acknowledges that he was a “pickup truck” remodeler when he first opened the doors, but does credit himself with having workers’ compensation and liability insurance. “At first, I started in construction because there weren’t many jobs available at that time,” he says. “After working for other builders, I picked up on my ability to do math and was mentored by many of the older remodelers — which is how I moved forward so quickly.”

After an unexpected lay-off, Robinson used those skills to open R.E. Construction & Maintenance Services, a full-service remodeling firm. Immediately, he embraced the importance of technology and equipped his entire staff with cellular phones. Today, Robinson says they have integrated their information sharing which allows all employees to generate estimates and share information from any location using PCs and laptops with Internet access from any location. He also purchased a color printer that fits in his laptop case to print out materials for customers on the spot.

Robinson has also been forward thinking in the area of marketing. Typically when the books are full and the crew is busy, marketing tends to take a backseat. However, Robinson has always kept his eye on the various marketing mediums.

“We have broadened our marketing and advertising campaigns to not only include on-site signage, brochures and business cards, but we have also used a combination of radio and television advertising.” One of the company’s target audiences consists of those looking to age-in-place. “We run advertisements for our CAPS program on a Saturday morning oldies show and ads on cable access and PBS,” explains Robinson. “We have specifically targeted the groups that we wish to continue to service and areas that we intend to expand into both demographically and geographically.”

Since remodeling with aging-in-place in mind can be a difficult topic to broach, Robinson uses his real-life experience of being in a wheelchair for two years when he was 21 years old and his current knee problem to show that everyone can benefit from wider doorways and curbless showers.

Robinson has shown extreme interest in bettering the remodeling industry. Currently serving as the state president of the Indiana Builders Association, Robinson has also participated in several rewrites of NAHB University Housing courses, has worked with the Department of Energy on code compliance and energy efficient construction, and is now working with other industry professionals to launch a green remodeling track at this year’s Remodeling Show in Las Vegas.