Stay strong, remodelers

The remodeling market can be sliced and diced in many ways. It can be broken down by project type, business focus, revenue level, years in business, remodelers with showrooms and those without, remodelers with black hair, white hair or no hair. There are seemingly countless ways to examine the market. One way to slice it would be into three sections: remodelers moving full steam ahead; those being cautious about their growth; and those who have been burned so badly by the recession that they’re keeping their businesses small and taking no risks.

There’s room in the remodeling market for all three of these types of remodelers, and I’m not in a position to declare which of these mentalities is right or wrong. No one can make that declaration about another remodeler. You can, however, make this decision about your own business, and whether your course of action is taking your business in the right direction or not. Have you thought about this? I'm in a position, however, to admire all of you. You’re entrepreneurs, and that takes a lot of guts, drive and determination.

The article, “Forward, beyond fear” on page 32 explores the mentality of each of these remodeler types, thanks to the insights from four successful remodelers we interviewed, who share their plans for their businesses, and how they believe the remodeling market will be affected by each type of remodeler. Specifically, the three types of mentalities include:

Full steam ahead. These remodelers are opening showrooms, hiring staff, increasing marketing efforts, taking market share and revenue from their competition. Many of these remodelers are those who state, “We chose not to participate in the recession.” And they didn’t.

Cautious growth. These remodelers are bullish on the future, but their plans are to control growth at reasonable levels such as 10 percent. They maintain strict adherence to formulas that determine when it’s time to hire more staff depending on how much work there is and how much revenue has grown.

No risk. These remodelers have been scarred by the recession, and they’re saying “no” to work that’s beyond their staff levels. They’d rather pass on the work than hiring someone to handle it. Many of these remodelers have invested their retirement money, or large portions of it, to keep the business going. Now they are faced with rebuilding their wealth while minimizing risks.

Regardless of which mentality represents you most accurately, I hold you in high esteem. You are entrepreneurs, which takes guts and desire. I, too, have guts and desire, but not when it comes to financial risks. Have I taken other kinds of risks in my life? Of course. But not like you. I’ve had ideas for business models I think would work, and that I’d enjoy running, but mentioning these ideas at dinner with friends or colleagues is about as far as I’ve taken it.  

Embrace your make-it-on-your-own spirit and do what makes sense for you. I wish you the best, as always.