Shawn McCadden
Sharpe + Harrell Photography Shawn McCadden

When I was a young carpenter working for my dad’s remodeling business, a tool salesman showed up to talk to my dad about buying pneumatic nail guns.

The salesman said the guns would speed up production and quickly pay for themselves in labor savings. My dad, an old-school contractor stuck in his ways, didn’t buy into these claims. He said he was happy with his company’s work pace, and with six young sons pounding nails at low pay rates, why would he spend money on nail guns?

Like many of the remodelers I meet at trade events, my dad had settled into a comfort zone and wasn’t motivated to adopt new methods, particularly when he had no exposure to the new offering.

A similar scenario is playing out today with websites. Many remodelers are rejecting the idea of creating a website to market their business. Perhaps, like my dad, they are successful and happy with the way things are. Why fix what isn’t broken? However, similar to the way nail guns changed the jobsite, websites are changing how the industry markets its services — especially the cost of generating quality leads. More importantly, consumers are using the Internet to qualify almost everything they buy, so they assume they can qualify and purchase remodeling the same way.

The Commitment

After he had used them and realized that they dramatically reduced ?production costs, my dad bought ?the nails guns. This happened because, at no cost to my father, the salesperson left a compressor and several guns to try out. My dad was an early adopter because of the salesperson’s efforts.

If you are a remodeler without a website, perhaps you can try one ?out. Seeing the results might make you a believer. Just having a website won’t help. You must commit to proactively using and maintaining it. Just as tools need to be maintained, a website needs fresh content and regular updates.

Here’s my prediction for remodelers who don’t have a website: If you don’t have and use a website for your business, you will eventually be working for a business that does.

Staying Competitive

Look back at nail guns. The tools lowered the cost of doing the work and therefore lowered the cost that consumers paid for remodeling. ?As early adopters began using nail guns, late adopters eventually ?had to bring them onboard just to remain competitive. The same will be true of remodelers who put off website marketing.

The choice is not yours. Consumers are driving how you need to serve them. If they can’t find your company’s website in an Internet search, they won’t contact you. Like the tool salesman, I am introducing you to the future. You need to decide if you and your business want to be part of it.

—Shawn McCadden founded, operated, and sold a successful design/build company. A co-founder of the Residential Design/Build Institute, Shawn speaks at industry events and consults with remodeling companies.