When Mark Curry sold his previous company, which manufactured and sold windows, siding, and sunrooms, the fine print in the sales agreement strictly forbid him from competing in the same market.
“I couldn’t sell a window or a sunroom,” he says. “I thought ‘There’s no way I can have a business without those products.’”
Instead, he launched a company that sold garage organization systems. A year later, he added closet organizing systems. Meanwhile, the economy had tanked. “It’s a scary position to be in,” he says, “To have the ground crumble beneath you. But survival instincts kick in. You get open-minded. You realize that you don’t have it all figured out.”
A year after that, Curry took on kitchen cabinet refacing and cut a deal with The Home Depot to station marketers in its stores, starting with 12 stores and eventually leading to 28. They also conquered energy savings, complete with a 12-point energy inspection and Building Performance Institute membership.
“We were a young company,” says Curry, an engineer before he entered the home improvement business. “Not set in our ways.”
Never mind the recession. Having a company that started from scratch, Curry says, provided him with the opportunity to shape it in any way he saw fit. “We want to be the Facebook of the industry,” he says. And he took the opportunity to make changes that set Your Remodeling Guys apart from the conventional home improvement companies he competes with.
“We keep it simple,” he says. While other companies sell what they have, Your Remodeling Guys finds out what consumers want in the form of affordability, comfort, and energy savings, and provides options. Lots of options.
- Most home improvement salespeople “come into the house and act like a manufacturers’ representative,” Curry says. To today’s homeowner that sounds like white noise, he adds. So instead of “shoving down their throats what it is we want to sell them,” Curry’s salespeople set out to discover the needs of the house. “We want you to be the spokesperson for the house,” he says, “since the house can’t speak. What are the pains and ailments? Now let’s talk to the occupants.”
- Last year, when the non-competes expired, YRG got back in the window business. It was a year that produced better revenue but flattened profits. “I look at it as a colossal failure,” Curry says. “Not to have that sustained growth on the bottom line.”