One of the most common questions I’m asked by the remodelers and building product manufacturers that I meet is, “What are you hearing from others?” Since we work with hundreds of remodelers across the United States and Canada, I often have a good anecdotal pulse on what’s happening across the country.
Here’s my overview: 80%of the remodelers who survived the recession are reporting that business is picking up. Through the spring, both job size and backlog increased, which took a bit of pressure off of these hard-working business owners. In fact, over 60% of our members who responded to a survey say that business is up 10% or more from the previous year.
And while these two elements have increased, it’s certainly nothing like the market of several years ago. Upticks are always good. (There are still a few remodelers who made it through but now have little cash on hand to keep the business moving, so I’m still seeing some bankruptcies and business closures happening.)
Another indication that business is improving is the large number of our members who are hiring again in every part of the country. Lead carpenters, production managers and salespeople lead the list of employees that are being hired.
But the improvements aren’t showing in a smooth, consistent upward trend. It’s been up and down all year. In the last couple of weeks, several remodelers from the East Coast area have reported a drop in lead activity. This means there needs to be ramping up of marketing efforts now! As one remodeler said, “We need to get work in the pipeline quickly in order to have the work we need through the holidays and the winter when we know leads slow down.”
Reports from banks and other resources seem to indicate a small overall improvement through the end of the year. All of this is good and may be providing some relief to all of us who have been working so hard to stay afloat while maintaining high levels of customer service.
But we can’t take our shoulder off the grindstone yet. Now’s the time to re-examine your marketing and sales systems to stop doing what’s not working and try new things to keep the flow of leads coming in. If you’re the company rainmaker, keep up the pressure and get out in your market to keep your company name in front of prospective clients. Things are getting better all over so now’s the time to ramp up, capture market share and be one of the strongest remodeling companies around going forward.