Before Everett and Patty Gray bought a DreamMaker franchise in 2002, they “were a truck-and-ladder contractor, working out of [their] home,” Patty says. Buying the franchise solved a lot of the problems that come from trying to expand as an independent business. The Grays no longer had to develop techniques while growing, but could use the kitchen and bath franchisor’s systems to manage their business.
That business steadily grew to almost $3 million in sales, until the 2008 recession hit Southern California especially hard. Sales fell by 65%. “We were all just surviving,” Patty says.
But the hard times proved to be instructive: The Grays found ways to manage, but operating with a smaller top line provided them with a chance to rethink the way they do business.
Above all, Patty wants a workplace with minimal stress. “I don’t want to get back to $3 million,” she says. “I’d rather be at smaller revenue and a bigger net profit … with fewer employees.” What DreamMaker of Bakersfield sets out to deliver to clients is that same minimum-stress experience.
- DreamMaker of Bakersfield is proactive on warranties: After a job closes out, the company calls at three-, six-, and nine-month intervals to ask homeowners whether anything DreamMaker did needs adjusting. “We do that because a little problem—like a leak—could become a big one,” Patty Gray says.
- Always a savvy marketer, in 2013 DreamMaker of Bakersfield began offering two-hour seminars every other month on kitchen remodeling at Urner’s Appliances, a locally well-known store where working kitchens are set up for demonstrations. DreamMaker of Bakersfield provides dinner, wine, and dessert, which Patty makes herself. “I’ve had four people and I’ve had 30,” at these events she says. “We educate them on what they should be looking for in a remodeler, in the reality of timelines and budgets.”