4. We actually did two things: YouTube and a business coach. If you had told me 10 years or 5 years ago that we would have our own YouTube channel, I would have laughed. However it has been a great success for us in many ways. We also hired a business coach to help us maximize all facets of the business - he has truly been a great help keeping us focused and growing.
5. Our biggest challenge was we could not continue to do business the way we had been. The phone was no longer ringing and work was drying up We learned what a great asset our past clients were to our future. We now provide a maintenance service for past clients -- we have become the place to call for referrals of trade contractors, product information and general maintenance they might need. We now continue the client relationship passed job completion.
6. It is almost a completely different company. We are more organized and structured and we know our numbers and data to use forward into the coming years. We are always testing and measuring what works and what doesn't. We actually have a marketing program instead of just winging it. One of the biggest wake up calls was that our "business" needed to be run like a business.
Rob Levin, President
DFW Airport, Texas
1. The difference in this cycle and the previous four I have been part of is the lack of availability of lending sources and much tighter credit requirements. After three years of this cycle, we see more customers who are paying cash or using credit programs that are no interest for a period of time, and just purchasing products they could write a check for if they needed too. This has created a smaller ticket on items like windows and sunrooms where they can do the full job in stages.
2. Our company returned to our 2007 Revenues last year in 2011, mostly due to diversification of our product lines. I believe that is the model for most of the successful companies in the specialty remodeling area.
3. We see more cash customers today than previously, which I feel is a good thing for the economy, since they are not taking on more debt. The biggest change in our business is adding more field supervisory personnel to manage the number of jobs we install due to the diversification of our product line.
5. The biggest opportunity for us has been to open new markets with the support of the strategic partners we have developed over the last 18 years.
6. Until 2007, we only had three products, windows, siding and sunrooms that we were selling. Since then we have added bathroom and kitchen remodeling, walk in tubs and energy products, and these products now represent over 40% of our volume.
2. The difference is that some remodelers made the changes in more than one aspect of their business. These changes include marketing and advertising, product offerings, and reducing overheads. Just because we are in difficult times, means that you stop advertising. Allocated dollars for advertising must be used, just used more wisely and different from before. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars of television and radio, invest in past clients and prospects. Set up an account with Constant Contact or a similar company for mass email marketing. This is only $30.00 a month and emailing is free. You can also set up social media as a way to promote and advertise for free. Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Pinterest, Blogs, and Houzz are just a few that are out there. Setting up these accounts and maintaining them only requires a few hours a week. Offer discounts, promotions, and giveaways and watch your followers grow leap and bounds and turn prospects into customers. One can also, send out post cards in neighborhoods where your current project is underway. Introduce yourself, let people know you are working on one of the neighbors, and then give them a reason a to call with a special offer!
The second change is offering new products. A down economy is a perfect opportunity to negotiate with a new manufacturer or distributor and help get costs down. You can either pass these discounted prices to your customer to help close the deal or keep them for yourself and increase your profit margins. Also, find products that are different and separate you from your competition. Something you know they cannot find and have to have it. This will make your customers not able to shop that product and eliminate your competition.