Though Bernie Smith has a group of high-end clients who are athletes, entertainers, and CEOs, his favorite clients are middle-class homeowners who want to upgrade an older home with a new bathroom or kitchen. The company works with clients from concept to completion on design/build projects.
Smith’s marketing efforts start with networking with a broad community base. He is a member of his local chamber of commerce, on the board of directors with his local National Association of the Remodeling Industry chapter, and supports charity events. He also uses direct mail, coupon mailers, magazine advertisements, a monthly radio show, and television commercials to reach consumers. “The [TV commercials] are professionally produced, and some have me in them and some do not,” Smith says. “I try to get the quality and value across.”
Smith has continued spending money on marketing — even during the recession. He says that customers have shifted from a luxury mindset to more practical projects. “They now want to know what value it brings them and [they] pull back if they can’t find that value,” he says.
- With the dip in residential projects, Smith is trying to diversify by moving into light commercial and government work. The company has taken on military projects, drug stores, and grocery stores. He is also working with banks to renovate foreclosed properties.
- Smith is negotiating with vendors for better pricing or is purchasing products directly from manufacturers. MasterWorks provides employee reviews every three months.
- The company’s field crew has laptops with wireless cards so they can access the most up-to-date information and files on the company’s server.
- Smith says that the industry has permanently changed and he is working on a new business venture that will allow him to change with it.
- Nina Patel