The past decade has seen a rise in the number of remodelers and contractors getting designated as Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS) through the National Association of Home Builders and/or being certified as Universal Design Certified Professionals (UDCP) through the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. In fact, the NAHB has awarded nearly 4,500 designations since its program began in 2002. And both professional associations report increased interest in their programs.
Where and how will you market your new skills? Russell Glickman, owner of Glickman Design Build, in North Potomac, Md., has been doing projects for an aging population and for those with special needs for more than 20 years. Now nearly 60% of his projects fall into this category. “The easiest thing to do is to start by doing whatever you normally do to market your regular business,” Glickman says, but then broaden your reach to include more than just those possible residential or commercial remodeling clients.
Who You Gonna Call?
Glickman suggests getting your name in front of the following people or organizations through face-to-face networking, LinkedIn, or Facebook:
- rehabilitation facilities operators
- geriatric case-managers and doctors
- occupational and physical therapists
- orthopedic surgeons
- geriatric-law attorneys
- financial planners
- people who do reverse mortgages
- special needs schools
- Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Arthritis Foundation
- United Cerebral Palsy
- AbleData (a source for assistive technology)
“Attend events of the groups you want to connect with — associations, Chamber, Rotary, special needs organizations, etc., and go to an aging-in-place expo,” says Glickman, who also suggests sponsoring events for these organizations. Recently he paid for pony rides at a fair for a local special needs organization.
Make It Newsworthy
Once you do one CAPS project, seek publicity in local newspapers. Get the paper’s editorial calendar. Find contact information for writers and develop a relationship with them, Glickman says. Make their jobs easier; provide them with story material and photos. “Urge them to consider a particular type of remodeling project that involves universal design for their home section,” says Glickman whose goal is one article per month in a publication of some type.
Work Your E-Presence
On your website, present case studies and testimonials and use vlogs (video blogs) to get the word out and to educate consumers. “Meetup.com groups are another way to go,” Glickman says. These are groups organically created via the Web for people to meet locally.
Glickman acknowledges that all these avenues take time to pursue. He recently hired someone part-time to help him. But he knows that investing in this segment is worth it — there are 68,000 people over age 65 living in Washington, D.C., who may one day need his services. “If you’re a CAP specialist, you have the benefit of being a remodeler who can solve a problem for a growing population in the U.S.” —Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.
More REMODELING articles about universal design and certifications:
Universal Design Certifications — A comparison of the two association certification programs
Better Living Through Design: An Interview With Jeanne Anthony — AARP's Anthony discusses the challenges of universal design and how remodelers can help educate consumers and create a business niche for themselves