Last January, Jerry Kerby made his installers an offer he felt they couldn't refuse. His company, California Replacement, in Orange County, would purchase new 14-foot-by-8-foot trailers (cost: $6,500), wrap them in company graphics (cost: $3,000), and sell them to installers for half the purchase price. To take title, installers would be required to build out the interior.
To fire up their enthusiasm even more, Kerby and partner Joel Peck would include in the graphics package photographs of individual installers in action. So when that particular installer trades in his old trailer, he'll get a new trailer with his larger-than-life picture on it, in color, along with company contact information
“We've got one sitting here, and three on order,” Kerby says.
Brand Building California Replacement, which will do more than $10 million in window sales this year, installs using independent subcontractors. All the company's installers are also general contractors, and all, according to Kerby, have remained with California Replacement since they came to work there. Kerby says the idea of the trailers (which installers will pull with their own trucks) is a winner for several reasons.
“The plus to us is that the vehicle is driving around Orange County with ‘California Replacement' on it and all our store information,” he says. That's bound to make an impression on people, Kerby says, because of the number of vehicles driving on freeways on any given day. And parked in front of a client's house, trailers outfitted with company graphics become, in effect, large lawn signs. “We spend so much for advertising, we can well afford to pay 50% of the [trailer] cost,” Kerby says. “But we also want [subs] to have an ownership interest. They become a partner and have a vested interest in the vehicles.”
On a Schedule Right now, California Replacement installers have their own trailers (which they own). As these wear out, they have the option of replacing them with the company-purchased trailers featuring the company graphics. The finished trailers resemble the company box truck now outfitted with those graphics.
California Replacement has each installer's picture on file, ready to go. Kerby also points out that homeowners often feel more comfortable with the installers because they see their photos on the trailers. “It adds credibility,” he says.