Can You Make a Living at Aging in Place?
Aging in place is a growing trend. But is the market for this kind of specialized remodeling deep enough to build an entire business model upon it?
David Dickinson, CAPS, of In Your Home of Portland, Ore., believes so.
He and his partner founded In Your Home two years ago so they could work solely with aging adults who want to remodel their homes so they could age in place, and also to work in situations in which aging adults move into the homes of family members who then remodel their homes accordingly.
“We started specifically to address aging-in-place needs and do more than just straight-forward remodeling,” said Dickinson.
They provide bathroom and kitchen aging-in-place modifications as well as larger remodeling projects. But In Your Home also offers minor repair and maintenance work.
“In our experience, when the health of one spouse declines — especially the man — ongoing household upkeep becomes a problem,” Dickinson explained. “When seniors sell their homes, they get less than their money’s worth because they couldn’t maintain the house and small problems like roof issues became large ones.”
Explore Non-Traditional Marketing
While many older adults want to age in place, only a small percentage proactively seek out home modifications while they are healthy. Marketing is a challenge.
“Beyond traditional advertising, we speak at fraternal organizations and offer talks on aging,” said Dickinson. “Another thing we do is buy homes in 55-plus communities and redo them with a current view on aging in place requirements.”
In Your Home recently completed a home that now has two accessible entrances, upgraded lighting, a rehabbed bathroom with a low-threshold shower and other improvements.
“We made it like a new house,” Dickinson said. “People like the idea that the home is already done and ready for them to move in.”
Ready-remodeled homes also help potential customers better visualize some of the changes they are considering for their own homes. Dickinson said these homes, “clearly convey that it’s ok to think about these things and that it’s wise to think about these things.” Customers can clearly see that “planning for the future doesn’t mean turning your home into a nursing home.”
Network With Other Aging-In-Place Services
Davidson also works with other aging-in-place services including insurance agents, estate planners and home health providers. He gets valuable information that helps him with his customers. It also lets the other service providers know that he is available to offer aging in place solutions to some of their clients.
Davidson strongly recommends networking with other, complementary providers.
Focus on Education and Sensitivity
Davidson believes that educating the client is the key to growing this segment of your business. “We often get ‘Oh I don’t need that,’ when really, it’s something they should have,” he said.
Sensitivity and client relations are especially important. “If you’re the kind of person who’s easily frustrated by demanding clients or you are not that good at customer care, aging in place is probably not the right niche,” said Dickinson. “There’s an above average amount of handholding. Sometimes you need to make decisions for them.”
So while Davidson does not recommend aging-in-place work for every remodeler, there is a growing need for aging-in-place solutions that can become a healthy part of your business — if not your whole business.
The NAHB University of Housing Offers Designation Programs for Remodelers
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
Who Will Be the Next Remodelor™ of the Month?
The Remodelor™ of the Month (this link is accessible to Remodelors™ Council members only) award program is underway. Don't miss your opportunity to be named the Remodelor™ of the Month.
The program groups local councils from different states into designated months. There will be two “wild card” months that will allow the council’s members-at-large to participate in the program. A winner will be chosen each month and that winner will then be automatically included in the nominations for the Remodelor™ of the Year award.
This is a great opportunity for local councils and members to get involved and submit their “best of the best” members to compete with other councils. The national Remodelors™ Council will send out press releases and highlight each winner in ReNews, the Remodelors™ Council e-newsletter.
'How to Find a Professional Remodeler' Available at BuilderBooks.com
"How to Find a Professional Remodeler,"
available at BuilderBooks.com
, promotes the professionalism of your remodeling business by offering valuable advice to your customers on the process of selecting a remodeler. The brochure guides consumers from the dream to the reality of having their homes remodeled by skilled and trained professionals. Sections include what to look for in a professional remodeler, what questions to ask and signs of a professional remodeler. To view or puchase this publication online, click here
, or call 800-223-2665 to order.