“I had the gumption to get my CGR, and my dad supported me on that,” Kisamore says.
“It was her idea, I was really surprised,” adds Siegfried. “But I said, ‘Great. Let’s do it.’ ”
As for the NAHB CGR program itself, well, it can do a little bragging, too. With both Kisamore and Siegfried now having earned CGR designations, the program can claim having graduated the first known father-daughter combination in its 16-year history.
A Natural Progression
Kisamore joined her dad in the business eight years ago in order to relieve her mom of the bookkeeping. Through the years, Kisamore’s responsibilities grew as the company grew. Now she handles the financials, tax preparation, contracts and all of the marketing, advertising and public relations. It was a natural progression.
“My dad encouraged me to help my mom with the bookkeeping and she encouraged me to step in,” Kisamore says. “When I first started working, I was a stay-at-home mom. Now I’m a working mom.”
Siegfried Construction does business primarily in the Grove City area, a small, 200-year-old Pennsylvania college town. Throw in surrounding Mercer County and the company serves a population of a little more than 35,000 people.
If all this sounds like a classic mom and pop operation in a mom and pop setting, well it is — and it isn’t.
Siegfried Construction is a family business with plenty of family members involved. Kisamore’s husband, Vince, is a lead carpenter and her brother, Aaron, is a carpenter who does estimating as well. The company has a total of 10 employees, more employees than any of the competition.
Educating a Growing Market
And even though the company serves a rural area, it’s a growing area. In addition to the private Grove City College, Grove City has a hospital and the county has a fairly good-sized school district, so the market for remodeling includes teachers, doctors and college professors.
And the market is ripe. The median income in Grove City is a little more than $35,000, with a majority of stick-built homes about 80-120 years old. Kisamore says the company does about 100 jobs a year ranging anywhere from small replacement work to $350,000 whole-house remodels.
“This is a rural area we’re in, but I think having a CGR makes a difference,” says Siegfried. “CGR means a lot to me. And it will mean something to my customers once we educate them,” he adds.
For now, most of Siegfried’s customers probably don’t really know what that something is, but they are reaping its benefits. His remodeling company is the only one of its size in the area and the only one with an office staffed full time to provide a higher level of service. “When someone calls, they get a person, not an answering machine,” Siegfried explains. “The CGR makes us just a little more professional than the next guy.”
Kisamore handles the role of educating potential customers. She picked up several ideas about marketing and improving contracts from her CGR courses. She has tweaked the company’s contracts accordingly, and she continually tries to find ways to improve the company even more. “It’s in my blood,” Kisamore says. “I leave work and I go home and think about things. That’s the only way I can describe it. It’s in my blood.”
She has begun publicizing the fact that Siegfried Construction is the only remodeler in the area with two CGRs, and what that means for customers.
“I couldn’t have been prouder for her when she went on stage to get her designation,” Siegfried said. “My kids all make me proud, but that was just a special moment for me. I don’t wear a suit too often, but I thought that was the right occasion for one.”
The NAHB University of Housing Offers Designation Programs and Other Courses
The NAHB University of Housing offers CAPS, CGR, CGB and a variety of other professional designation programs and business management courses that set builders and remodelers apart from the competition. To learn more about NAHB’s designation programs, visit www.nahb.org/designations. For a complete list of all current education offerings, click here.
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