At a time when most students across the country have just been let out of school, remodelers are just getting started. In May, the first course was held at Remodelers University, a phone-based training program for smaller companies that are focused on growth.
The program was developed by David Lupberger, a long-time industry expert who recently became the director of business development at Remodelers Advantage, the Fulton, Md.–based consulting firm that runs the program. (Principals Linda Case and Victoria Downing are long-time contributors to REMODELING.)
“Many remodelers have made the same mistakes as they grew their companies,” Lupberger says. “Our goal is to embed the appropriate practices in the company while it's still small.”
Lupberger has established six training “modules,” or subject areas, that pertain to running a remodeling firm that the program will address: financial management; sales and marketing; design and estimating; production; company culture and leadership; and human resources. Each module contains between two and four sections, taught by an experienced remodeler, consultant, or other expert.
The classes are conducted via 90-minute conference calls. It's a large group (a maximum of 20 students, plus an instructor), so there's a moderator to facilitate the discussion. Participants are able to queue up questions for the speaker using their phone during the call.
A few days prior to each session, Lupberger e-mails course materials to all participants. After the call is complete, the remodelers are mailed a CD with a recording of the session.
Lupberger notes that remodelers often spend time and money going to business seminars and trade shows, only to forget or fail to implement what they learned there once back in the office. “Instead of you taking time to leave your business and go to the seminar,” he says, “we're bringing the seminar to you.”
Ten to 14 days after the main training session, a second call is conducted, following up and addressing any questions that have arisen from implementing the material.
As of press time, only the financial management module had begun, but Lupberger says the production and estimating and design modules will begin shortly. Eventually, Lupberger hopes to have all six modules up and running simultaneously. They will restart once completed.
A particularly unique benefit of Remodelers University is that, at no extra charge, company owners can bring key employees into their offices to listen to the call. “The sessions aren't so long that you can't afford to pull somebody out of the field,” Lupberger says.
Lupberger is still exploring other pricing options, but for now, enrollment in each monthly section costs $199. So over a period of 18 months and for a few thousand dollars, remodelers will, in Lupberger's words, “have a blueprint for a successful company.”
For more information or to enroll, go to www.remodelersuniversity.com.