What's in Your Wallet for '06?

Remodeling activity now accounts for nearly 40 percent of U.S. residential construction activity, with more than a million American homes undergoing major renovations every year. President Bush has even been mindful of remodelers’ contribution to the American economy in a past speech he gave. No one has to tell remodelers that overall, business is good, very good.

Kermit Baker from Harvard University’s Joint Center on Housing Studies, confirmed what most professional remodelers know: “New home construction activity will be easing over the years ahead, but remodeling is going to hold its own.”

America’s housing stock, like Americans themselves, is aging with the average age of a home being about 32 years old.

Remodeling is showing more strength than new home construction and has every opportunity to get even better. This is the opinion of the researchers at NAHB.

Further, NARI has noted that we are an aging society and it doesn’t come as any surprise when selecting a remodeler, the older you are, the more apt you are to use the services of a well-seasoned, design/build professional.

What’s more, with the wrinkles come greater financial security and the ability to invest in a current home. So, what are you doing to get your fair share of this burgeoning market? What is your marketing plan and how are you planning for growth?

Now is the perfect time to brush up your credentials and invest in your professional standing in your marketplace. Make a commitment to your own professional development through education and certification, yet set personal and professional goals that are timely and realistic.

Through earning any of the many professional designations available, you will improve your skills, improve your reputation in your community and advance your worth as a professional. Additionally, your designation allows you to take advantage of valuable networking opportunities, and working with expert instructors and other professionals within their specific areas of expertise.

If you haven’t added a professional designation to your moniker, this might be the year to consider investing the time and energy in a CR, CGR, CAPS, or other professional designation, then marketing your new expertise to your community. Your stature in the local community will increase, as will your bottom line.

As an aside, in January, David Letterman went out in the audience and called upon an audience member to answer some questions. He asked a gentleman what he did for a living and where he lived. The man’s answer was that he was from Elk Grove Village, Ill. (a northwest suburb of Chicago) and that he was a remodeler/general contractor. Dave immediately went into a joke about how every time he remodeled, it was always six months late and millions of dollars over budget. When Dave asked the remodeler why this always happens, the response was that he was always on time and on budget and that Dave had hired the wrong contractor. This small, yet positive episode on national TV did more to further our profession and obfuscate the numerous trashings we receive on local news shows about unscrupulous contractors. Wouldn’t you like to find a way to get this kind of free publicity?

Let’s make 2006 a year dedicated to professionalism, profitability and positive outcomes for ourselves and our client home- owners.