Remodelers often ask, Where's the opportunity for growth? What are potential markets? Where should I invest marketing dollars? Derek Reijnen of the $5 million-a-year The Reijnen Co. in Bainbridge Island, Wash., tackled those questions at his design/build firm. He contracted a Seattle consultant for $7,000 to analyze his market using building permits and census data, and by canvassing architectural and real estate firms. Researchers also studied real estate sales and quizzed agents about which neighborhoods were seeing changes in home values.
Here's what he learned:
* Reijnen Co. has a 20% share of its immediate market, based on all dollars spent on commercial, residential, and spec building.
* The company does 50% of the high-end residential/ light commercial work on the island.
* In nearby communities, the company has a much smaller piece of the construction pie.
* Reijnen Co. should expand to specific Seattle neighborhoods it already occasionally works in. The 25-minute ferry rides pose logistical problems, but they are not insurmountable.
What he'll do:
* Reijnen will double marketing spending to $100,000.
* Expand from his core high-end remodeling and new construction niche to enter insurance restoration and high-end multi-family/office construction, all of which the company has done.
* Market more heavily to his "Circle of Friends" -- architects, real estate agents, bankers, mortgage brokers, and consultants.
* Add mailing lists from the newly targeted neighborhoods. Using e-mail, Reijnen will attach project photos and ask for get-togethers with architects active in those areas. "Our marketing efforts are always precise and personal," he says. "We don't broadcast advertise. It's like fishing in the ocean for minnows."
* Invest more time and money in his Web site ( www.reijnenco.com).
* Consider hiring a part-timer to help market, and adjust staff schedules to allow them to develop more relationships with prospects.
* Convert a project book to CD for real estate agents and architects and make presentations to those contacts in Seattle markets.
"Since we're secure in our core business, we'd rather expand in a recession," Reijnen says. "This way we know whatever we succeed in doing is recession-resistant."