Knocking on doors, advertising in community directories, dressing professionally, and driving clean, well-marked vehicles ... High-tech they’re not, but marketing methods such as these can work extremely well for small remodeling companies that target specific communities.

Consider Steve Klitsch, a sophisticated remodeler who gets some of his best work in the most simple, old-fashioned ways.

For instance, his company, Creative Concepts Remodeling, of Germantown, Md., doesn’t have a Web site or do direct mail. But Klitsch is a computer user, and one “favorite” on his browser is the real estate site of the jurisdiction where he does most of his work.

When he’s doing a job at, say, 4 Jones Lane, he identifies the owners of 2 and 6 Jones Lane, as well as 1, 3, and 5 across the street. He then knocks on all those doors, introduces himself and explains the work being done, and hands the homeowners his business card, should they wish to contact him with concerns.

“I donít do mailings,” Steve Klitsch says. Visibly supporting key communities gets his foot in the right doors.
Karen Klitsch “I donít do mailings,” Steve Klitsch says. Visibly supporting key communities gets his foot in the right doors.

“They appreciate it,” he says. “I’ve never had someone tell me to get off their property.” He usually pays these visits late in the day or on a weekend, dresses nicely (“no drywall dust on my face”), and carries a clipboard. Occasionally, the owner invites him to see a part of the house, resulting in additional work.

Not comfortable with the in-person approach? Send those few homeowners personal notes instead.

Positive Light

A few other low-tech neighborhood-marketing strategies:

  • Advertise in membership directories of local swim clubs, churches, PTAs, etc. Klitsch’s church didn’t have a directory, so he rounded up business-owner members to buy enough ads to cover the printing of one. “I intentionally bought the back page” — for $100 — “so that when it’s lying on the counter, my ad is facing up.” Such visibility produces several calls a year, and his close rate is 80% on those prospects, he says.

  • Identify neighborhoods worth establishing a stake in. When visiting a prospect, arrive early and scope out the surrounding homes. Are the demographics, home types and ages, and location a good match for your company?

  • Take care of your logoed goods. Keep your trucks washed, their dashboards cleared, and their lettering crisp. Invest in good-quality job signs; Klitsch stores his in bubble wrap when not in use. Take care of uniforms; Klitsch doesn’t let his staff wear theirs on weekends.

  • Be visible. One exception to the last rule involves community volunteer activities. Not only does Klitsch wear gear that has his company’s logo on it, but he loans out inexpensive tools — such as $5 putty knives — that have Creative Concepts stickers on them. If the tool goes home with someone, so much the better.