When Pennsylvania remodeler Craig Postlewait launched a full-service and a handyman company in 2010, he created two separate entities — each with its own brand. The industry veteran’s idea with Pendulum Solutions Design/Build and Post Haste Handyman is to reach different segments of the market.
“People who want a big addition won’t call a handyman, and people who want a handyman won’t call a design/build company,” Postlewait says. However, when he meets with clients, he presents both companies.
In most cases, Postlewait says, it’s the handyman side that gives him an opportunity to promote the design/build division. Handyman jobs provide the opportunity to meet personally with a homeowner, and then a crew visits the house to complete the service. This way, “people get to know who we are,” Postlewait says. Though he doesn’t try to upsell handyman clients, making them aware of the design/build division has lead to larger projects.
Even if he uses a promotional special for the handyman market and doesn’t make money on the first handyman service for clients, it’s an effective marketing tool. That’s why Postlewait personally meets with each handyman client and gives them both of his company cards.
Recently, he almost sent one of his crew on a sales call instead of going himself, but the office manager reminded Postlewait about his vow to do all handyman sales calls. It paid off: After completing the handyman job, Pendulum built the client a $45,000 deck. “We wouldn’t have had the opportunity if I hadn’t gone,” the owner says. “My guys would have done a good job, but the client wouldn’t have considered us for the deck.”
Postlewait spends 20 to 30 minutes with handyman clients, versus one to two hours for design/build consultations. For efficient scheduling, he groups together handyman appointments in a specific area, usually completing four calls in a half-day, and he recently started using Salesforce software to better manage leads and appointments.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.
Some other REMODELING articles about diversifying your business:
Season’s Leadings — Keeping busy during the off-season
Watt’s Up, Doc? A home-performance division “in the box”
Beyond the Comfort Zone — Reinventing a business to grow and prosper