The idea to launch an exteriors division in 2006 stemmed from design/build remodeler Gettum Associates’ desire, president Phil Gettum says, to create a niche not quite as demanding as the design/build model that has the ability to expand or contract more easily as the market dictates. But the expansion scheme lasted only briefly before closing due to the recession and the departure of Adrian Toms, the employee who ran the division.

Recently, however, the Greenwood, Ind., company decided to reopen the division, and Toms returned to run it. The motivation for pursuing exterior work remains unchanged since the company’s original foray into the market, but the approach has been different.

New Tack

The first time around, the division was called White River Home Improvement. The decision not to use the Gettum name and have the two names differ significantly was deliberate. The concern had been that the exteriors division might “degrade” the Gettum design/build brand if it shared a name too similar.

But with the division’s recent launch, the company realized the advantage of leveraging the Gettum name and its good standing in the community.

The exteriors division offers roofing, gutters, siding, and windows using trade contractors from its design/build work to do the installation. Toms, the division sales manager, handles sales, scheduling, and processing insurance claims (see sidebar, opposite) and is fully commissioned. “When you’re starting out, [commission] makes the most sense from a risk standpoint,” says vice president Jason Gettum, and it also gives Toms ownership of the division.

Gettum Home Exteriors now accounts for 40% of the company’s gross sales, and the goal is to double that revenue next year. —Nina Patel

Leveraging the Brand

The Gettum Home Exteriors logo intentionally looks the same as the Gettum Associates design/build logo. The company created a separate website for Exteriors and has an “Exteriors” tab on the home page of its main site. Emails were sent to Gettum’s client database announcing the new division, and not long after, a storm came through the area. In the first six months of operation, 80% of the work has been damage claims, 50% of it from past clients. The remaining leads come from ads in community magazines and newspapers and directly from the website, but Gettum is researching other lead sources to help it grow.