Al Felman calls his entry into the kitchen and bath business a no-brainer. There’s no weather to deal with, and when kitchen projects get slack, bathrooms pick up. He targets mid-range kitchen projects—$30,000 to $40,000 is typical—removing his company from the swarm of contractors “chasing the Mission Hills corridor,” where the priciest homes in his Kansas City suburb are located.
To speed up projects, Mission Kitchen & Bath offers an early completion bonus: If the job is estimated at 120 man hours and is brought in at, say, 100, the company pays the installer 50% of the time that was saved as a bonus (i.e., a check for 10 hours would be forthcoming). Felman also recently set up an apprenticeship program to bring in someone young in the field as a helper at $12 an hour, with the idea of advancing that employee to lead carpenter.
- Takes an active role in the “very active” Kansas City NARI chapter, where he has been co-chair of the education committee since 2010, and in which capacity he recently gave a round table talk on surviving an EPA audit. He is one of the first Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodelers (CKBR) in Kansas.
- Recently set up an apprenticeship program to bring in someone young in the field as a helper at $12 an hour, with the idea of advancing that employee to lead carpenter. It’s worked once and “we’re going to replicate it.”
- Won the Angie’s List Super Service award every year since 2005—except in 2010, when three homeowners who never hired him “gave me an F.” Just before that happened, Felman had another prospect tell him she hired his company because of its reviews, but she didn’t believe them because “frankly, nobody could have this many positive reviews. “I called her up and said, ‘Good news!’” Felman recalls. “We’re not making it up.” Then he directed her to the F reviews on Angie’s List.