The wine flowed freely and the buzz was palpable at a recent event that typified the kind of business-building that has carved out new revenue streams for Premier Builders, of Wilmington, Del. “There were 50 people there who could have potential jobs for us in the next few years,” says Candace Roseo, vice president. “The exposure is fabulous.”

The event (shown in photo) showcased a newly remodeled office for an ophthalmology practice. Roseo's company was the remodeler and party co-sponsor, and many of the 150 guests run medical practices of their own. Other than some “soft” marketing, such as being named on the invitation and having a few promotional pieces on hand, the goal was “to be there subliminally,” Roseo says, and to spark the interest of guests whose own spaces could use a makeover.

VALUE-ADDED SERVICES Premier Builders' revenue has doubled in two years, the result of a radical and deliberate shift in focus. Two years ago, about 90% of the company's work came from residential remodeling, and 10% from commercial work. That distribution has flipped, Roseo says, with most of her clients being new and/or growing medical practices. Their long-term success is important to her company as well.

In some instances, with doctors whose practices are just becoming established, Roseo says, “we actually have them work with our PR person and graphic designer” to create a marketing strategy, logo, Web site, and the like. “We want them to put their best foot forward, so they'll still be in business when we need them as a reference or want to walk a prospect through their office — or when they want to expand or build a second office.”

Guests mingle at an April open house for a medical office remodeled by Premier  Builders. The event cost the company about $2,500 and drew 150 guests.
Premier Builders Guests mingle at an April open house for a medical office remodeled by Premier Builders. The event cost the company about $2,500 and drew 150 guests.

Like homeowners, Roseo notes, doctors and dentists are picky about details, and value strong communications. “Our skill sets transferred easily,” she says, “as did those of our subcontractors.”

Of all of Premier Builders' “value-added services,” the most fun are the office-warming parties. “We pool our marketing resources and databases with our clients,” Roseo says, sharing expenses such as invitations, food, beverages, and entertainment. Pulling strings and bartering where possible, she taps her inner circle to flesh out the details. One doctor-client owns a vineyard, for instance, and has provided wine at cost. Caterers that do “lunch-and-learns” for medical practices also have a vested interest in offering a good price. After the party, Roseo follows up with guests, sending thank-you notes and otherwise keeping them in the Premier Builders loop.

Besides open houses, Premier Builders has quieter ways to end projects well. For instance, an elaborate close-out process (for both residential and commercial clients) includes re-keying the locks, post-job walk-throughs, and providing a binder full of detailed product information and care instructions. “Our business is 90% referral,” she says.