Anthony Slabaugh and Mike Crossman run Ohio remodeling companies that are about 25 miles apart. They met just over a year ago during a home show. “After talking to him a few times, it was clear that we were on the same page as far as the industry. We’re working hard to raise the bar,” says Slabaugh, the owner of AMS Construction, in Stow.
“I was impressed with his business model. We both use the same estimating software. We thought we should get together and talk about how we can help each other,” says Crossman, who owns New View Construction, in Brunswick.
Though their territories overlap a little, both view the relationship as an alliance rather than competition. When Crossman speaks to a client who is located closer to AMS, he tells them, “‘We have a partner in the business that is more local to you and would better serve you.’ Clients are happy to take a great referral like that,” he says.
Slabaugh was not looking for lead reciprocation. He was targeting a specific city and, for leads outside that area, says he was “looking for reputable contractors I can refer work to — we needed people we trust.” Both remodelers also understand the specific issues of their market — something that peer review groups and online forum participants might not grasp. “Having someone right in your neck of the woods is really valuable,” Slabaugh points out.
The two remodelers use the same construction management and design software, so they also share tips for these programs. And they talk about product sources and vendors. For example, when Crossman was in need of a new plumber, Slabaugh provided a referral.
The two plan to meet for breakfast once every six weeks or once a quarter and may include some trade contractors in these informal meetings.
The most valuable part of the relationship, for Slabaugh, is the trust that the two remodelers have built, while Crossman points out that a relationship like this requires business owners who are open to helping each other: “We have to adapt and change. For small to medium businesses, it’s a great way to help keep pumping through this time.”
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.