Porch Conversion’s niche is somewhat predictable; it’s in the name of the company. But what’s more unusual is how Paul Maki has built a full business around converting porches into rooms that are usable all year. “A lot of builders build these screen porches that, because of our climate, it’s either too hot or cold, too muggy or too buggy,” Maki told Remodeling. “It opens up the market to people to want these porches to be used year round.”
Maki has tapped into a market with a growing demand. Last year, Porch Conversion completed 494 jobs, and this year are on pace to overtake that number. Transforming a porch to a more functional room varies from job to job. “We go into the home and ask how they see themselves using the room,” Maki says. That ranges from homeowners who want a fully-furnished sunroom to those who simply want to keep out dirt and other evidence of the elements.
Now, Maki’s challenge is how to grow appropriately. To maintain that mom and pop feel, he’s looking to retain employees and delegate more. “Our claim to fame is that though we’ve grown, we’re still mom and pop. You want to clone your hires into the culture. I haven’t had turnover in five years.”
- To make sure clients are comfortable with the team that’s going to be working in their home, Maki sends over a headshot and a bio of the team leader before the project starts, and maintains constant contact throughout the job.
- Converting an outdoor space into an indoor space means that the type of furniture appropriate for the space changes. Maki’s picked up on that and has started a separate venture selling furniture so the client has a one stop shop once the room is finished.
- Maki employs a full-time IT employee to manage his website and maintain his internet presence. He combines that strong web promotion with word of mouth and referrals to maintain high quality leads.