The next generation of remodelers is proving to have a positive effect on the industry. With their interest in education, best practices and professionalism, these company owners are advancing quickly. “Being a younger guy in this industry, I owe a lot of my success to those who have been doing it for years,” says Weir. “I’ve learned so much from talking with them at meetings and trade shows; everyone in this industry is so open and willing to share their trials and tribulations with us.”
For Matt Hullander, 33, manilla folders and stacks of paper piled on his desk was his reality not too long ago. As president and soon-to-be owner of Hullco Exteriors, Chattanooga, Tenn., Hullander has taken the reputable company his father built and is fine-tuning its business practices to meet 21st century standards.
Hullander, who has worked with his father for the last 17 years, says his biggest challenges are lead generation, internal organization, growing the company in terms of sales revenue and balancing his professional and personal lives.
Since being named president three years ago, at the age of 31, Hullander has successfully progressed in many of these areas. For starters, he tossed aside the manilla folders and incorporated MarketSharp into this company, an all-in-one lead tracking software. “For almost 30 years, we had no lead tracking system,” says Hullander. “What would typically happen is a lead would come in, the salesperson would follow up; if it wasn’t sold, he would throw the client’s file in his desk and it was forgotten about.”
Since integrating MarketSharp into their business, Hullander has hired an employee specifically to learn and utilize this program. He uses this program for many of his marketing efforts, such as direct mail, TV and advertising. Prior to his promotion, the company had no marketing budget and even two years ago, they only budgeted 2 percent to this area. This year, and because of his lead tracking system, Hullander is devoting 5 to 6 percent to marketing and has substantially increased his television advertising, spending $100,000 in his May through April fiscal year.
“This program has really stepped up our marketing efforts,” says Hullander. “We are able to put in our criteria; for example, households in Knoxville that have an income of $180,000 who had a remodeling project completed in the last five years, and the software spits back a report of qualified homeowners we can target.” Today, Hullander is working on creating a database of clients going back at least 10 years.
“When my dad first started the company, there were hardly any companyies doing the same thing as he was,” recalls Hullander. “Today, we are working in a market with 14 other competitors doing the exact same thing as we are, with lower costs or different product options.” Since competition increased rapidly, Hullander had to pay close attention to what his competitors were doing and how he can do it better. He relies on the reputation his father built over the last 30 years and continues with a high level of customer satisfaction.
Another goal of Hullander was to revise the company’s internal structure. “There were a lot of internal changes that I made since becoming president,” he says. “We rarely had any type of meeting with our staff, and now I hold weekly meetings with the salespeople. I also have one breakfast meeting a month that usually includes a manufacturer rep coming in to talk about products or our finance partner talking about how to get customers to finance through Hullco.” These meetings have helped get everyone on the same page and have also helped the sales staff in the field because not only is the sales team educated on the products they sell, but they also are being schooled in the art of selling.