4. Yes. I never thought we would have business in over 10 states, have a staff close to 150 employees, have hundreds of approved vendors on our team, and be managing thousands of properties simultaneously. We started as a custom home builder and made the full commitment to this new economy which allows us to reap the rewards of being a first mover in the space. Many of our peers come to us for advice and we generally tell them that the only way to succeed is to adapt to the expectations of the clients and maintain high integrity and ethics on a daily basis during the interaction with them.
5. Since we have achieved scale, we are now seeing additional new types of business presented to us each month. They are tangential types of work that is not very different from what we do. We can assign new tactical team members to these new ventures and pursuits and analyze if they would be a good fit for our enterprise.
6. We have morphed the business to handle volume and scale yet still find the interpersonal relationships with our homeowners who trust our firm with their homes. The big difference is hiring several talented Vice President or Director level employees to manage the relationships, instead of having a single sole-proprietor (owner) manage all the operations of the business. It is refreshing to see how dedicated and amazing my team is each day in how they do their business, and the collective brain power of this team is far superior to one owner’s capabilities.
The remodeling business is constantly changing but economic conditions have certainly taken it’s toll as it has across many industries. There are those businesses that sit and wait for the phone to ring and there are those that actively market their services and generate leads. Homefix is one of the latters. We are always looking for new ways to bring business in and really haven’t found anything Earth shattering. We are still old school- canvassing and telemarketing are our primary sources. We struggle to grow our marketing efforts while keeping our cost per pitch in line with our business model. Our biggest change has been the product breakdown of sales. We used to be a window and siding company and now we’re a roofing company. We push hard for the window and siding leads but siding sales have been down for several years and roofing has grown exponentially. We feel that roofing is a tougher sale and therefore our closing rates are down as is our slugging percentage (net sales divided by leads run). We offer our marketers higher incentives for window leads to help offset the increase in roof leads. This is the main difference with Homefix between 5 years ago and today. We also consolidated multiple locations down to just a couple and are still generating roughly the same revenues from the remaining branches as we were with 7 locations. Opening up the roofing department has allowed us to gain confidence that in the future we can offer even more products to increase sales volume. One other challenge we faced is the damaging effects of the internet. Nowadays there are several bogus websites that allow anyone to post bad blogs (or any type of blogs) that any individual wants. This can become very damaging when others read them. We’ve found so many ex-employees or enemies of our employees that would make negative posts and we lost leads as well as sales as a result. We now employ a fulltime web developer to manage our web presence. This change has been a real winner as she has made a large impact on our web presence.
Mike Lumary & Greg Friend
Everlast Home Energy Solutions
1. It has changed a bit in the past few years. Through internet media & sophistication of the home owners you need to be savvy, sharp, & on your game to stay updated on the changes is the manner in which we market. Production levels have gone down and expenses have gone up. Were constantly hiring & training to keep up to date to keep ourselves as sharp as possible. At the same time, we feel that the economy is heating up again and that credit is loosening up (a little), both of which bode well for the future of our industry.
2. Everlast opened for business on Jan 2, 2009 - in the midst of the recession. Many of our vendors advised against it as they had contractors going out of business. Our mantra for the first year was that "we refuse to participate in the Recession". Not only did we have a successful 2009, but we have enjoyed tremendous growth every year since. We believe that companies like us who aggressively engaged in finding business and not waiting for the phone to ring are the companies left standing. There’s definitely been a thinning of the herd.