As a kid, Chad Hatfield liked to take apart doorknobs. He started work at a multi-billion dollar commercial construction company and then jumped into new-home building. His first remodel was a kitchen for someone in Dallas who was notoriously difficult. Word that this person was pleased spread, and soon Hatfield Builders did more remodeling than custom homes.
“Remodeling is a place where someone like me has a competitive advantage,” he says. “There are people who absolutely want the most qualified person and they’re willing to pay for it.” He believes mastering the remodeling process is about relationships with clients. The work itself is almost secondary.
Three years ago, he joined Remodelers Advantage “to have a better quality of life.” It did that as well as boost sales and profits.
- Developing what Hatfield calls the “intestinal fortitude” to raise margins, and charge for design. He discovered that clients were not only willing, but that he was soon doing business with a more serious, and upscale, homeowner.
- Doubled remodeling volume in one year as a result of a 2013 marketing campaign and a more careful client qualification process.
- Learned to take control of the sales process so that a typical call is no longer about being interviewed by the client for the job but rather has the remodeler interviewing the client, and explaining one of four possible outcomes to the appointment. “I don’t even look at the project until I go through the first half of the interview,” Hatfield says.
- Believes that “communication is king,” and “our problems are all about how we communicate and how we improve that.” The company now shares project information with clients via CoConstruct. Some love it, some are indifferent, a few decline to participate. Everything’s posted there because “we want clients to be accountable for their own decisions. I never want them to tell me: ‘Oh, I told you we were going to do that.’”
Listen: Chad Hatfield on the remodeling industry's biggest issue, from our podcast Big50 Bites.