Neil Kelly Designers/Remodelers, in Portland, Ore., has been doing home performance audits for more than two years. Since the stimulus package and tax credits were signed into law in February, the division has seen a 30% increase in leads. “Before [the stimulus package] we had a blossoming business for vertically integrated service,” says Brian McVay, general manager of Neil Kelly's home performance and home repair division. “Now we’ve received a dose of caffeine.”

McVay also has seen a 30% increase in the number of businesses jumping on the home performance and maintenance bandwagon. The business may seem like a sure thing, but it takes time and energy to do right and become a trusted name.

Neil Kelly Designers/Remodelers has made a huge effort to become an expert in the field as well as knowledgeable about the tax credits at the federal, state, and local levels. “We made sure we had a clear company message about the tax credits,” says McVay, who has been giving seminars on various green topics for many years. Now he does one on tax credits. “I start simply and make sure people can be connected with the electronic resources,” such as the Energy Star website and local utility and state tax credit departments of the various energy offices. “I’m no tax professional, but I know how to navigate the system and which forms you need,” he says.

McVay acknowledges the great opportunity for remodeling businesses, but he warns that you really need to have a “triple bottom line commitment to make money, save people money, and to create jobs and training opportunities and a standard of environmentalism in your company.  If [you don’t understand this level of commitment] you should stick to what you’re good at.”