In the fast-paced world of remodeling, you have to plan ahead to maintain success. Who your clients are and what they want constantly changes. In his column this month, architect Dean Brenneman addresses how the backlash against McMansions is changing permitting and codes in his community. And in our People section, the American Institute of Architects' Home Design Trends survey reveals which products and design features — once innovative — are now part of what homeowners expect.
Three feature articles in this issue also provide insight on how upscale remodelers have found ways to adjust to the ever-changing market. In “Branching Out,” writer David Zuckerman explores how diversification generates additional streams of revenue to protect against the failure of any one. In some cases, remodelers diversify to meet a need in the market, or to enter a new market and gain cross-market business. Remodeler Scott Cierzan has added insurance restoration, a design center, basement finishes, and home theater installations to his original full-service business, and is now making a push into the light commercial arena. He is always looking to capitalize on any innovations by setting up his company as experts.
How remodelers use technology is changing, too. While most still view a Web site strictly as a marketing tool, in “Clients Only,” writer Loring Leifer talks with some remodelers who are using technology in a new way to keep pace with clients' needs. These companies have created password-protected areas on their Web sites where clients can access project photos, schedules, budgets, contracts, punch lists, document libraries, and invoices. The result is a more streamlined operation.
In “Agents of Beauty,” my profile of Minneapolis remodeler Dave Amundson, he says service is not static. For every complaint or issue that arises, he changes the company's processes or adds a new system and immediately communicates the changes to all his employees.
What are you doing to prepare your company for change? If you only set monthly or annual goals, you may not be keeping pace.
Nina Patel, Editor