Shawn McCadden
Sharpe + Harrell Photography Shawn McCadden

Some remodelers go after the jobs they want, others just respond to inquiries that come to them. Both of these methods worked fine during the boom economy of the past, but let’s face it, even a blind cat could find milk in a boom economy. Abraham Lincoln said, “Things may come to those who wait, but only those things that are left behind by those who hustle.” Lincoln’s wisdom is timely for remodelers who are not getting enough work or not enough of the work they prefer. There may not be work out there for everyone, but there is enough for your business if you hustle and find ways to capture it before someone else does.

Even a recession creates opportunities. But they are only opportunities if you can recognize them and take advantage of them before someone else does. Most remodelers see the obvious opportunities, but eventually those become too crowded and pricing competition takes over. To separate your business, you must offer not just a service but also unique solutions that address challenges and opportunities in the market. The key is to make sure what you offer is truly unique. Educate yourself about new products and new ways to use existing products to solve your clients’ problems. You must also be able to communicate how your company and solutions are different, and how that difference will provide value, so you can turn prospects into customers.

Ready for Growth

According to A New Decade of Growth for Remodeling, a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, our industry is slowly recovering from the worst recession in recent memory. There are two opportunities in the factors that the report suggests will drive the growth: “Homeowners who deferred maintenance and improvements during the recession may soon start to spend more freely. Lower household mobility in the wake of the housing market crash could also mean that homeowners will focus on upgrades with longer paybacks, particularly energy-efficient retrofits.”

These two opportunities are interdependent. Deferred maintenance work isn’t sexy or exciting, but every remodeler can do it. Price will be a major factor due to stiff competition. But the second opportunity may give you an advantage. What if your maintenance services, even though they might cost more, also helped to lower your customers’ future long-term operating costs of owning, maintaining, and heating or cooling their homes?

Baby boomers are concerned about financial security for their retirement as well as their ability to afford ever-increasing living expenses during retirement. If you can help them plan for their future by showing them how investing in their homes today will lead to greater comfort and affordability in their retirement years, your remodeling business will definitely stand out from the competition.

Shawn McCadden founded, operated, and sold a successful design/build company. A co-founder of the Residential Design/Build Institute, he speaks at industry events and consults with remodeling companies.

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