Sometimes an owner’s bad luck isn’t so bad at all. Until David Henderer was injured playing basketball eight years ago, he and his father Chuck built their remodeling business on projects they had to bid for, which were designed by outside companies. “After I got hurt, I couldn’t work for eight weeks,” David recalls. “That put me in the office, and I had a lot of time to read business books and investigate the design/build concept a little more.”

After facing some challenges translating his own design work for the field crews, David hired project designer Gary Pope on a temporary basis. That was seven years ago. Since then, Pope has worked for the Henderers full time, and the company’s approach to design has blossomed. Last spring the firm hired a part-time interior designer. “Again, it turned into a full-time thing, and it’s been great for the company,” David says.

Henderer Design + Build’s interior design department is the company’s newest venture, and the Henderers are excited to use it as a differentiator in their market. “It was really born out of wishing we had offered this service on previous projects,” David says, “but we also saw it as an opportunity that no one else in our area offers. Our clients absolutely love it.”

Given that the company’s business already consists of 90% referral work, the interior design department was advertised to past clients through direct mail and e-mail, as well as some print ads. In its first year, the department did $15,000 in standalone work — projects that might include new lighting fixtures, floor coverings, and painting. David estimates that number will grow to $50,000 this year, while product selection on large jobs will be the meat of the department’s work.

“We see this as a great way to solidify our image and reputation in the community, which is already stellar,” he says. “We’reimproving their living conditions, so once a client buys into our design process, they’re onboard and they’re having fun, too.”

- Lauren Hunter