1. We think it’s a cycle. The remodeling business will come back strong, just like the stock market eventually does after a crash or downturn.
2. I think what we’ve seen is survival of the fittest, not survival of the low cost leaders. In our geographic area, the companies that survived were the well-run, more mature businesses that were already good at marketing and sales and were solid financially.
Scott Lemons, Vice President of Operations
1. I don't think the business has changed, we are all still offering the same services, but I think our customer has changed. They have become more informed about the products that they are purchasing and they are doing their homework before selecting their contractors. The contractors who is not willing to adapt the way they do business has probably suffered the worse.
2. The difference is the mindset of the business owner. There is no doubt that sales have been tougher, leads may have dropped off, but it boils down to the mindset of the business owner. If the business owner doesn't buy into the mindset of "down economy" then the problem does exist with his team. As contractors we have to focus more on the customers’ needs and what is the right job for their project / situation, not on how to come up with a cheaper price. Our business has grown in volume over the last few years, but the key to that is the fact that our unit of sale has increased almost 30%. It is easy to throw more money into marketing to generate more leads, but it doesn't do any good if you can't close the sale. While most of our competition is trying to lower their price we are offering bigger, better projects, and our sales are increasing, not only in size but in the amount of new contracts.
6. The big change in our business is to focus on each customer and their specific needs. We try to operate on their agenda and not ours, our goal is capitalizing on every lead. We focus more on non-sold projects, to make sure that they don't fall off the grid... Follow-up, Follow-up, and more Follow-up. Each new customer is a new referral source once their project is complete. They also become a target for marketing our other services to.
Scott R. Young
Advanced Home Technologies Inc.
1. I believe people think differently about spending money than they did when money was given out more readily. The downturn hasn’t really affected us that much, we have been in business for over 45 years and have been through several other downturns and survived. I believe the future will be better if the media would quit spreading doom and gloom.
2. I think the difference is in how well you treat and take care of your customers. We have relied on our customers for referrals and add-on business more than ever.
3. We have been watching the numbers more closely to make sure every dollar of advertising counts.
4. It has been pretty much business as usual.
5. We did try to add a new product in anticipation of losing revenue from our existing line. That only proved to hurt our core business. We have since deleted it…..in hindsight we wouldn’t have needed it to start with.
6. It really hasn’t changed that much……we are looking for an exciting future…….it seems like financing is just starting to loosen a bit. I hope it keeps up.
Rock & Tait Exteriors LLC
Eau Claire, Wis.
1. As home values accelerated, a phase of new construction took place until the conclusion of 2008 values flattened and then dropped. Because of this, many families who had built to live in the home for a couple years, sell, and do it again couldn’t sell. We have been seeing more and more remodeling especially on higher end homes which have been affected the most by falling home values. Home shows in the spring of 2012 showed a lot of interest in new builds so it will be interesting to see the next steps. Of course as more and more homes and buildings go up each year it only increases the need for maintenance and remodeling, so the work will always be there but it’s critical that the families in these homes can stay working and feel confident to remodel. Only God knows what the future has in store, but if we were to guess, the work will be there as nothing lasts forever.