Mark Curry sees the garage as home improvement's new frontier. Which is why, six months ago, he launched Those Garage Guys, a company marketing a modular system for bringing order to chaos. Garages, Curry says, are “the biggest junk drawer in the house.” His system can turn 400 feet of garage into a neatly arranged space with hooks, shelves, baskets, and cabinets for around $6,200. Add flooring, and it's about $10,000.
Curry's Those Garage Guys, in York, Pa., is looking for home improvement companies that want to add a popular and profitable product to their menu. His company will supply materials, installation training, and sales and marketing assistance.
VENDORS ON THE SCENE A half-dozen vendors now serve the market for garage organization. All see the product/service as a natural for home improvement companies. Rob Ritsema, owner of Extreme Garage Organization in Colorado Springs, Colo., for example, says that the average garage remodel costs about $8,000, takes three to five days to complete, and has a gross profit margin of 50% to 60%. “We can tell customers, ‘Why not start with fl oor covering? Then you can add cabinets, as your budget allows.” Ritsema has had sales as low as $1,500 and as high as $25,000.
THEY WON'T SHOP YOU In the last year, David Cox, managing partner of Home Services in Hamden, Conn., has seen garage organization grow to become 25% of his business. It's a new industry, he says, and it's less competitive than other home improvement categories. “If you present consumers with a logical solution, they won't shop your proposal around to 10 people,” he says. “You don't have multiple franchises on every corner.”
Cox uses Google SketchUp, a free software program, to show consumers what their refinished garage will look like. “People buy based on pictures, and if you can show them a before and after picture, they're impressed.”
Cox says the bulk of his work is “low-dollar-volume deals” that he completes in about two days. “Some companies won't see customers unless they're talking about a $10,000 garage,” he says. “Those companies don't want $4,000 jobs, but I'll take them every day.”—
G.M. Filisko is a freelance writer based in Chicago.