Tim White, who started doing installation work at 15, was already planning how to build his own company at 19. Starting as a subcontractor installing for suburban NYC home improvement companies, White’s career trajectory took off—and quickly. The lifelong remodeling devotee made the jump to general contractor and, in 1998, opened his own home improvement showroom that featured roofing, siding, windows, and decking.
Since then, White’s company has evolved to the point where half of its work is kitchens and baths. White visits his jobs daily—there are 15 to 20 running at any particular time—wearing the same Tim White Home Improvement shirt his crews wear. “No one would know if I was a worker, or the owner,” White says. Which is how he likes it.
All transactions are processed in the showroom, after an initial visit to the home.
- White's company steadily through the recession, because so much of its business is repeat and referral. Job signs and the company’s 17 well-signed trucks also funnel leads into the office.
- The business has zero project cancellations, which stacks up against about a 10% to 15% average cancellation rate for home improvement companies. That has to do, White says, with the company’s low-pressure sales methods. All transactions are processed in the showroom, after an initial visit to the home.
- White has made providing excellent customer service a key part of his company’s offering and its culture. “My people treat every customer alike, whether they’re spending $500 or $300,000," he says. "I tell them: 'You don’t know how long it took that person to save the $10,000 for their bathroom project.'”
- The company has built a significant portion of its business from what White calls “dormers,” which could be anything from rebuilding dormers on a roof to taking that roof off and adding a second story addition, a frequent project on Long Island, where older houses are smaller Cape Cods or ranches, and space is at a premium.
- White says that in “this day and age of text and email,” if customers call with a question, project managers are required to get back to them by the end of the day, “whether they have an answer or not.”
- Tim White Home Improvement offers a five-year warranty on workmanship. “People will hire us just for that reason.” To fellow contractors who express skepticism, White says, “If you do the right job and provide the right service, it wouldn’t matter if it was ten.