Is Your Business Ready For The Expected Surge In Remodeling Spending?
Remember back in 2006 before the great recession how much work there was for remodelers? Remember how busy you were and how easy it was to sell your services? And, back then, there was a good supply of experience workers and subcontractors. Then the recession came and things changed forever. Well, the remodeling economy has become healthy again and is predicted to get even better for the next year. According to one article in Qualified Remodeler magazine the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies predicts an 8% increase in remodeling spending between now and the end of 2017. That means a lot more work for remodelers, but only if they and their businesses are ready for it.
Below are three things to consider if you want to be ready to take advantage of the surge in sales predicted to begin in the first quarter of 2017. How you address the third one could make or break your ability to take advantage of the surge.
Decide what your price point will be:
When demand for services picks up so does the market price for those services. If you have been selling on price and as a result haven’t been making enough money to live the lifestyle you desire, both today and when you eventually retire, now is the time to start charging more. And, in addition to raising your prices, be careful how much work you say yes to. The point here is to make sure you don’t pre-sell a whole bunch of work at your current margins. If you do you will prevent your business from being available to sell and complete work when demand and therefore job prices rise due to supply and demand. Although having a good backlog of work can be comforting, coming to realize you could be making a lot more money may lead to strong regrets. Also, keep in mind that material and subcontractor costs will also climb due to supply and demand. Make sure you estimate direct job costs based on when you will actually do the work, not what it would cost if you were doing it today.
Be selective about customers and job types
The surge in spending will lead to a surge in job leads. This will afford remodelers the opportunity to be much more selective about who they will allow to become customers as well as what job types they will accept from those customers. Remember, the customers you serve will be sending you referrals. Those customers hang around with other people just like them. If you work for customers who beat you up on price and micromanage how you do business, their referrals will likely want to do the same. To avoid working for the wrong customers first define the profile of your target client. Then, armed with that information, make sure you also have a great prequalify process to help you filter through you leads. When it comes to job types be selective there too. If you have been doing so I suggest you stop allowing customers to buy their own materials. It may save money for them to do so, but at the same time it costs your business if you cannot get any margin on those materials. Instead concentrate on material intensive project types like kitchens and baths. Earning gross profit by selling more and more expensive materials is much easier than trying to do so by selling and managing labor.
Get your production resources ready
Selling the work and selling it at high margins is one challenge. But in my option that’s a much easier challenge these days than trying to find and keep enough quality production staff and trade subcontractors to keep up with the work, and complete it with quality. Don’t wait until you already need the help to start looking for them. Instead, recruit good workers now and test them out to be sure they are right for your business and your business is right for them. During the winter months many employees are let go or laid off by contractors who lack good sales and marketing skills. This makes the winter a good time to look for prospective employees because there are more to choose from and because their options of available jobs are limited. Use the next few months to vet out the good ones and send the underperformers back out looking for jobs. Using this strategy it’s likely you will be able to produce the work you sell much easier while your competition has to do the best they can with the workers you passed up and or let go.