With 9 million unique visitors each month, Houzz.com is the go-to site for homeowners looking for remodeling and design ideas. These browsers download over 500,000 images to their “ideabooks” every day and some of those images could be of your company’s projects. With that many passersby, Houzz can be a valuable outlet for any remodeler looking to expand his customer list outside of his familiar network of clients and referrals.

REMODELING caught up with Adi Tartako, the CEO of this innovative idea site, to ask about her inspirations for Houzz, what the site can do for a remodeler, and how best to use the site to enhance and even promote your own company and projects.

REMODELING: What was your inspiration for launching Houzz and what did you hope to accomplish?

Adi Tartako: Our own house remodel was supposed to be a dream come true project, but it ended up being a nightmare. Houzz was born from this frustration — there should have been a better way to renovate. From finding the right professionals that fit our project, to being able to communicate ideas that we had using the right terminology, through finding the right products and getting support from people with knowledge.  Houzz started as a tool to solve our own problem, but we quickly realized that there are millions of people facing the same challenges.

RM: How can Houzz help a remodeler expand his or her business?

AT: Houzz helps remodelers remove boundaries and open up exciting new markets. These are new markets and clients they would never have dreamed of tapping.  By bringing homeowners together with remodelers in the same community, Houzz enables these two groups to build relationships very early in the process. Houzz also applies the latest technologies. We give homeowners and remodelers communication and collaboration tools that help deepen their relationships and build trust. These relationships are often yielding new clients, clients that have already done extensive due diligence — seeing a remodeler’s work, reading reviews, and asking questions. These activities help the remodelers build their brands, get more business, and shorten the sales cycle.

RM: What advice would you give to a remodeler regarding the photos and info they post to Houzz?

AT: Houzz is an extremely visual site — it’s the amazing number and quality of the photography and work that draws so many people in. Having photos of your projects is a must-have to get exposure, to give you credibility, and to help people understand the kind of work you do. If you can afford it, have it photographed professionally. If not, try a photography student, a real estate photographer, or take the photos yourself using a good quality digital camera. [Houzz actually has tips on its site on how to take photos and how to properly stage a completed project.]

RM: What sort of time investment would a remodeler need to make in order to have a successful presence on Houzz?

AT: I think it’s fair to say that you get out of it what you put in. Many enjoy spending hours on the site; it can get addictive. But for the essentials, it’s simple. Getting started can take up to a few hours, then most spend just an hour or two a week to respond to inquiries — the sure sign that you are getting exposure. Most important is just to come and participate; your clients will see you as savvy and appreciate the effort.

RM: What success stories have resulted from a firm posting its project photos on Houzz?

AT: Clark Harris, owner of Innovative Construction in Atlanta, Ga., was hired for a $100,000 project by a family he’d never met before and who weren’t in his network. The homeowners, both working professionals, saw a kitchen he remodeled and called him.

Mike Close, who owns Spinnaker Development, a small construction firm in Orange County, Calif., increased traffic to his website, grew his business ten-fold in under two years, and now competes with the most established companies in his area. One story he tells is about a couple from Connecticut who purchased a home in Newport Beach, but didn’t have a known network of professionals in the area. They were using Houzz actively and found Mike’s work. Now he’s doing a complete $400,000 rebuild of their 3,000-square-foot home.

Just think: If Tartako had a great experience with her own remodeler all those years ago, a lot of other remodelers would never have gotten the chance to expand their client network. With just a few clicks of your mouse a couple of uploads, you could be broadcasting your latest endeavor to almost 10 million potential customers.

About Houzz:

Houzz, a Sequoia-funded company, is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or from a mobile device. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get project advice and connect with the professionals who can turn their ideas into reality. 

For more Remodeling articles about Houzz.com and other online marketing ideas, check out:

Houzz Calls: Sparking Homeowner Interest by Posting Photos on Houzz.com

Style File: Design-Idea Websites Help Clients Define Their Style

Inciting Interest: Pinterest for Remodelers and Their Clients