You can't beat easy, good, and cheap. It's retail's Holy Grail, and is increasingly a reality in today's connected, transparent, and efficient world.
But what is it like "behind the curtain"? What is it like for the manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers that have chosen this path? Walmart is committed to easy and cheap (sometimes good). Vlasic Pickles spent years building a "differentiated" brand only to be bullied by Walmart into offering a gallon of pickles (yes, a full year’s supply) for $2.97. Walmart offered the Holy Grail to its customers—easy, good, and cheap—while Vlasic had to file for bankruptcy.
Our industry is ripe for easy, good, and cheap. It's a huge industry that is segmented and complicated. Homeowners are starving for more consistently positive experiences when they remodel— horror stories are all too common. Welcome Amazon. Welcome Porch. Welcome Angie's List. All are trying to be the go-to provider for easy, good, and cheap home improvements.
They are powerful, well- funded organizations that have tremendous track records of success. They will get press. They will get demand. But if they treat remodeling as a commodity—as a product—they ultimately will fail.
Remodeling is a service business. It's about teams, clients, and quality. It's about the ability to adapt to unique conditions. We are only as good as our team.
You can't buy services that are easy and cheap and expect them to be good. Do you go to the cheapest surgeon? Do you go to the cheapest lawyer? You get what you pay for: easy and good, yes. Cheap and good? No.
Given the size of our industry and how personal it is to our clients (we differ slightly from a gallon of pickles), it is just a matter of who is going to bring a more consistently positive renovation experience to homeowners. Amazon, Porch, Angie's List, and others bring a lot to the table. We should be watching how they treat and select remodelers closely; take note if it's about the "low bidder" and a power play. That will lead to poor homeowner experiences, and it will lead to their demise in the remodeling space.
The organization(s) that figure this out will be those that bring easy, good, and "fairly priced" remodeling to the masses. It's going to take several smart, experienced, committed partners to pull it off. When those types of organizations work as partners, look out.