Reposition Your Company to Work Through the Downturn
Big remodeling projects are no longer high priorities for most home owners during these difficult economic times so, to get through the downturn, remodelers must reposition their companies to meet home owners’ changing needs.
Mark Richardson, CR, president of Case Handyman and Remodeling based in Bethesda, Md., has been down this road before.
During the last several decades, Richardson, a 2008 inductee into the NAHB Remodelers National Remodeling Hall of Fame, has changed his business to adapt to economic times — both good and bad — and he’s done so successfully.
While Richardson says his sales were down last year, his profits were up 5%.
He knows this year will be even more challenging, but he is making more business adjustments based on lessons learned last year and expects 2009 to be a growth year for his company.
“We look at our business like an investment portfolio with diversified business assets,” he says. “The proper blend of the portfolio helps to get you through bumpy markets. A lot of remodelers don’t have this balance, which puts them at high risk.”
During the last 30 years, Case adjusted and diversified its business assets to address several different market segments. In the 1980s, Case focused on design and build work. The company launched its handyman services in the 1990s, as well as a specialized bath division late in the decade. The company also began a national franchise operation.
The company recently launched a training division, the Case Institute of Remodeling, and created such licensed products as Case Handyman in a Box, a module for instructing remodelers on how to add handyman services to their business.
Marketing Handyman Services on the Internet
Repositioning a company to a changing market requires focusing business resources on your potential customers’ needs, Richardson says. Case has stepped up marketing and positioning its handyman division because more home owners are interested in smaller, fix-it jobs than larger remodeling projects.
The company has also begun using the Internet to reach more potential customers.
Almost all the company’s printed marketing materials now drive potential clients to the Case Web site — a more powerful marketing tool that has information about all the company’s services, plus sample projects, information that won’t fit in any single, printed marketing piece, Richardson says.
To drive potential customers to the Web site, Case print materials now direct consumers to the Web site for design ideas, suggestions about remodeling projects, scheduling appointments and more. To help them navigate all the information, the Web site also features several videos and interactive tools.
Team Selling — An Approach to Maximize Job Leads
Another sales strategy Case is using in this time of scarce leads is team selling. Using this approach, two people visit a house, examine it and propose solutions to improve it. A team approach, Richardson says, enables Case to leverage its expertise and match employees' skills to the anticipated needs of the home visited so they can present appropriate solutions.
With team selling, Case is able to show the depth of its expertise during a sales call, while customers have a better chance of getting the services they want.
Not only has team selling enabled Case to set itself apart from its competition, it has helped the company improve its close rate. To view a Case video about team selling, click here.
Richardson says that remodelers do have to work harder to find and keep clients, but even in tough economic times, “remodeling does go on.”
“Home owners still need professional services and help in maintaining their home,” he says.