3 Things to Know to Start a Remodeling Business
If you’re about to start a remodeling business, here are some things you should know
With the multibillion-dollar remodeling industry quickly recovering from the recession, it’s a great time to start a business. Remodeling spending has been increasing since the spring of 2011, and the remodeling industry overall grew at a pace of 3.1% in 2013. DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, meanwhile, saw its same-store sales increase more than 23% in 2013. How were we able to grow so much faster than the industry, and what lessons can you learn from our franchisees’ success?
1. Develop and stick to a marketing plan.
You may be the best craftsperson in your market, capable of delivering beautiful remodels that dazzle homeowners, but unless you take the right steps to market your services, your business will suffer. A lot of remodelers rely on referrals to power their business, but that puts your business at risk because you are letting your past customers and colleagues to do all your marketing. That will result in inconsistent demand, which leads to feast-and-famine cycles for your business.
To generate steady work, it’s crucial to develop a strong marketing plan for your business, then stick with it. How do you plan to stand out from other remodelers in your town? Your reputation may be great, but it won’t help you win jobs from customers who don’t know who you are. Even if you’ve been recommended, people may not remember your name. How do you make yourself memorable? To stick in the minds of potential customers, it’s important to have a memorable brand — a good name, a professional logo and strong marketing materials. Then it’s important to make sure potential customers see your brand, whether that’s through advertisements, events, guerrilla marketing tactics or sponsoring a Little League team.
DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen has spent decades determining which marketing options are most effective for remodelers. Too many remodelers fail because they don’t put in the time and money necessary to attract customers. Effective marketing feeds your project pipeline. Without it, you’re much more likely to hit a fatal dry spell.
2. Network with peers.
Another great way to find work early in your business is to network with other real estate professionals,
like real estate agents, interior designers, home inspectors, insurance agents and architects. They will know clients who are eager for remodeling services (or, in the case of insurance agents, are in urgent need of remodeling). Just as importantly, though, they will know other remodeling professionals who are reliable and do good work.
That’s important, because your marketing and networking efforts should bring more work your way and help your business grow. At a certain point, though, you will hit a brick wall unless you hire great, reliable help. Many remodelers wind up working 70-hour weeks in their businesses because they cannot or are not willing to hire people skilled and responsible enough to work without constant oversight — often because they don’t charge enough for their services to afford the highly skilled people. In order to grow, you need to hire professionals. Your peer network can recommend those people.
DreamMaker franchisees actually have plans and coaching to help them get past this hump — that inevitable period when you are maxed out in terms of what you can handle, and you need to hire in order to grow. Our remodeling business systems clearly delineate the different jobs that must be accomplished for any interior remodeling project, and they simplify the process of delegating and tracking those tasks. Great systems enable great growth — and we’ve been refining our systems for decades.
3. Build long-term customer relationships
There’s another reason why you should hire great professionals to work in your business: It will enable you to spend more time tracking progress of projects and communicating with your customers. Lack of communication is a major aggravation for remodeling customers — a lack of clarity about schedules, delays, costs and remodeling challenges can cripple your customer satisfaction rates and earn you bad word-of-mouth. You can be the best craftsperson in the world, but if you don’t take the time to communicate with your clients, they aren’t going to hire you twice, nor will they refer you.
Too many remodelers focus on the job itself, rather than focusing on their customer. Providing great service begins with listening. What do your customers want? Why are they remodeling? What styles do they love? How do they live? What would improve their lives? The answers to those questions should inform your design process. Once you understand where they’re coming from, you can start discussing options and budgets. Take the time to know your customer first, then do everything you can to make the remodel painless.
Ready to start a remodeling business?
If you want to start a remodeling business and are doing your research, take a look at our research pages, which discuss our business model and our vision for the remodeling industry. Check out our blog, too, to read stories from our franchisees. Whether or not you decide to fill out a form and get in touch with us to discuss our franchise opportunity, I’m certain you’ll find the information helpful. Of course, we do hope you’ll see the value we offer to franchisees and will download our free franchise report and start a conversation with us. The first call is usually just five or 10 minutes. We hope to hear from you soon. All the Best!