“We wanted a relationship rather than a project-based business model,” says Lane Cooper, owner of Cooper Designbuilders, in Portland, Ore. He wanted to provide long-term solutions, smooth out the dips in business, and maintain cash flow.
Already servicing a high-end clientele, Cooper created a system in which he became a home adviser who would catalogue future needs.
He began this process at the same time that remodeling consultant Dave Lupberger was developing HAMP (Home Asset Management Program). The two joined forces and Cooper created Home Management 360 — software that organizes and categorizes projects and sends a report back to the client.
Cooper does a no-cost, non-aggressive short interview with the client, as well as a home evaluation. “Every homeowner has six to a dozen items they know they want to get done,” he says. He puts whatever they find — service life of products as well as project plans — into the “home log.”
Cooper didn’t want to dilute his high-end brand, but, he says, “We came to realize that each client is [potentially] worth $300,000 to $500,000 ... to our business over time. When you put it in that [way] you can create a decent business plan for why you’d want to do this.”
He developed a marketing plan to market services to his regular clientele as well as to prospects through a new division called Total Home Care Powered by Cooper Designbuilders, which takes on projects as small as hanging pictures and bringing snow tires into a client’s garage.
“What does it cost me to get a $500,000 project instead of having the same client I work with over and over?” he asks. “This saves on marketing costs and becomes a great referral network.”
—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.
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