Remodelers Advantage Peer Profile

Don Padgett

Job title: President, Padgett Building & Remodeling in Swansea, Ill.

Year company founded: 1991

Number of team members: 15

Years at company: 22

Years in remodeling: 30

Industry involvement: Remodelers Advantage, Certified Graduate Remodeler, Green Building Designation, Big 50

Community involvement:  Board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes

When and why did you join Remodelers Advantage? What are the benefits of membership? Joined RAR in 2008.  The biggest impact of being a member has been meeting with and being accountable to your peers.  Company financials are everything.  Twice a year, we open our books to companies that look like us from other parts of the country.  The demographics may look different, but the issues all seem to be the same.

What has been the most important lesson learned from your peers at Remodelers Advantage?  You have to know your financials. 

Is the remodeling market primed for growth? Why or why not?  I believe growth is inevitable.  A lot of home owners have been waiting to make improvements.  Time is starting to catch up with them. 

Where/what are the greatest opportunities in the remodeling market?  People are deciding to stay in the homes they have, rather than buying a new home. 

How has the remodeler’s job changed in the past few years, for better or worse?  The internet makes the client dangerous.  They are accessing information, at times, that is not accurate, and we need to reprogram them prior to getting off square one. 

How have clients’ expectations changed, and how have these changes affected your business?  Expectations have changed.  Clients have busy schedules and do not want to manage the project themselves.  The number of these clients has greatly increased in my 30 years of remodeling. 

What do you enjoy most about being a remodeler? Why?  I enjoy being a problem solver.  A remodeling project does not only involve the sticks and bricks, but is driven by logistics and schedules while the client continues to live in the home.  The profession is similar to a band director, coordinating all the pieces of the band to create one successful song in the end.

What is the greatest threat to the success of a remodeler and/or remodeling business?  In our area, there are no entry barriers to get into the business.  We saw this when new home builders tried to remodel during the housing crash.  Some failed miserably, and some learned remodeling is a totally different business and needs to be treated that way.

If you could change one thing about the remodeling industry, what would it be?   All the crooks out there that give remodeling a bad name.  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that a past contractor did not finish and took their money. 

Can you share a best practice or two that you’ll never abandon?  1) Call people back!   2) A personal phone conversation is much more valuable than a text or email.  3) Schedule your next appointment at your present meeting.

What’s an interesting little-known fact about you? I am an identical twin.  We have all kinds of “twin” stories.  Swapping dates and taking tests for each other in high school, but let’s not go there as that was a long time ago.  My brother and I have been in business together for 27 years.  He says he will take a bullet for me as long as it doesn’t mess up his golf game. 

What motivates you every day?  Knowing that my performance is going to influence the families of our staff, our carpenters, our subcontractors, our suppliers and our clients.

What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?  Save your bullets for the battles that really matter!

What is your most treasured possession?  My faith in Jesus Christ.  My awesome wife, family, friends and a successful career are a bi-product of living for Him.