2. Longevity and a smart business plan has been our key. Our company has been family owned since 1963 and the officers have invested wisely back into the company over the years. We had to make some tough choices including laying off installation crews and warehouse personnel, using temp labor in busy times, using temp labor for our main receptionist position, cutting hourly employees to 32 hours per week, and reducing managers salaries. We had to adapt our sales approach to the changing market, and adapt our company polices and procedures to the changing market conditions. We are seeing drastic improvement in 2012. Our company as a whole is having the best sales year since 2008. Our beach resort location has increased it's sales every year since 08 and is having it's best year since it's inception approximately 12 years ago.
3. I'd say the most significant change in the market has been how our retail remodeling buyers shop. Where the rule of thumb used to be that an educated consumer would get three bids on a project, we have seen that number increase drastically. It seems as if our remodeling prospects are shopping more and harder than ever before, thus creating a more competetive market place. We have been forced as a company to accept retail jobs for lower profit margins than we would have in 08 or before due to market conditions. We have continued to sell our service and benefits to our clients being very conscious of our competition and our advantages over our competition. We have seen the same change in the commercial remodeling portion of our business. It is not uncommon to now have 20 bidders on the same project.
5. While it is sad to say, the negative down-turn in the industry has caused many competitors to go out of business. Our company strength and ability to weather the storm has allowed us to benefit from the loss of competition. Where other companies have eliminated or decreased their marketing efforts, we have ramped them up and found new ways to market our business including billboards, radio info-mercials and interviews, live radio broadcasts from our showroom, movie theatre slide shows, and increased print. We also revamped our entire web site and invested in a monthly SEO campaign, which has been very succesful, and purchased, remodeled and opened our 3rd showroom in Delaware.
6. The biggest difference is that there are fewer leads. The biggest challenge is that the sales are much harder to come by. The good news is that we are seeing drastic improvement in 2012.
Mark J. Olson
Legacy Design Build
From my perspective in Scottsdale, AZ, I believe that the remodeling business has evolved somewhat – rather than being characterized by just another downturn….and I’m sure that our experiences aren’t dramatically different from most remodeling companies in other geographic locations. Our average job size dropped by 80% from 2008 to 2012, which undoubtedly reflects changing consumer attitudes, as well as diminished real estate values. Today’s clients no longer presume that they will receive a return on investment for their remodeling projects or that their homes will increase in value significantly in the near future; so, the projects are more modest. People are more focused on necessity.
Further, as competition has increased from out-of-work tradesmen and idle custom home builders, consumers have sensed greater opportunities to save money by soliciting a greater number of bids from a wider range of candidates. And they seem willing to accept a greater degree of risk by hiring unlicensed contractors.
On the positive side, all of these factors have caused people to research alternatives more carefully and utilize the internet to an even greater extent. Consequently, this has provided us with a wider audience than we would have otherwise had - as we upgraded our website and concentrated on effective SEO strategies. For the first time in the company’s history, in 2011 we generated a greater percentage of business from the internet than any other source. (Referrals were second.)
Gary Volpe, President
Volpe Enterprises, Inc
2. We are one of the remodelers who have done well in this economy and I am asked this question all the time. The short answer is we have expanded our services. We use to do only exterior renovations (roofing, siding, windows, and doors). In 2008 we started offering construction services including additions, kitchens, bathrooms and basements. It isn’t just that easy. A roofer isn’t going to install someone’s kitchen properly so some adjustments were required. First, we had to change or add more construction oriented employees to our production staff. Second, we approached our previous customers and advertised heavily about our expansion. Third, we hired and trained knowledgeable sales staff to establish our creditability within the total remodel industry.