November 2004 Table of Contents

Featured Articles
Under New Ownership

Have you considered buying the home improvement company you work for? Here are some things to think about. Read more

Must-See TV Must-See TV

Ever wonder where your customers get their information from? If you said television, you're right. According to a recent survey by the A.C. Nielsen Co., this year, the average American adult will watch more than 28 hours of television per week. Read more

Certified Performance

When Charles Ackles, general manager of Clearwater Home Improvement, meets with a prospective customer to discuss a roofing project, he knows the odds are good he's going to get the job. That's not because he has an inflated sense of his own selling abilities. Read more

Indy Racer Indy Racer

Dillon had expanded into Kentucky without the people to handle it; his new company, All Dry Waterproofing of Indiana, was losing money. He'd done too much, too fast. Read more

Face Time Face Time

Home improvement contractors are no strangers to in-store marketing. Some have been drumming up business in retail environments for years, mostly as a secondary lead source. Many, on the other hand, have avoided "affinity" or sell/furnish/install (SFI) programs. Read more

Financing Essentials

Deciding whether to offer financing can be a big decision. In the first part of this series we reviewed open-end credit and direct closed-end credit. This month we'll discuss perhaps the most common form of financing a home remodeling sale: indirect closed-end credit. Read more

Check, Please

One way to lose time on a job is by failing to supply the installation crew with all the necessary materials or by having materials that are the wrong size or specification. To avoid this, consider using a checklist system. Read more

The HSA Option The HSA Option

As health insurance prices continue to rise, replacement contractors may want to consider health savings accounts (HSAs). They're no cure-all, but some companies have successfully switched to this lower-cost alternative to PPOs and HMOs. Read more

Total Quality

One of the biggest causes of aggravation for contractors is employees and subs not performing to expectations. Make them accountable for their work and a lot of your stress will disappear. Read more

Hire Smart, Hire Safe

A bad hire can ruin not only your day but your company, too. Prevent that by making sure your hiring practices are right. Read more

Welcome Back

Home improvement companies seeking big growth have several options to choose from. Read more

Appointments: Confirm And Re-confirm

When it comes to turning raw leads into issued appointments, most home improvement contractors cut right to the chase. "When a prospect calls our office, we book the appointment there and then," explains Tom Capizzi of Capizzi Home Improvement, Cotuit, Mass. Read more

Big Box, Big Leads?

You've heard about leads acquired through The Home Depot and similar companies. You may have heard the horror stories of companies who got involved, sold a lot of business, and couldn't make a profit. So is this a viable lead source? Read more

Word Gets Around

Ron Bickel, owner of Bickel Roofing, in Temple, Texas, doesn't worry much about his next jobs. He has a small ad in the local yellow pages but not much more than that. Read more

Installation 101

Pam Fry shocked her colleagues last July when, on a 90-plus degree day, she walked into the offices of Mr. Rogers Windows covered with sweat and grime and wearing a Mr. Rogers shirt and khaki capris. They were astonished because Fry, the company's top salesperson, always dresses professionally, in suits and heels. Read more

Point By Point

Homeowners want to buy from people they know and like. That's the thinking behind a new program at Pinnacle Energy, Towson, Md., that's designed to multiply the number of points of contact with customers. Interactions are entered into the company database to ensure that everyone has access. The objectives are to improve work flow, eliminate customer conflicts, increase add-on sales, and boost referrals. Read more

Goal Tending

When we began our sales careers, most of us were told what our goals were. That is, how much we were expected to sell. For some, making that goal was easy. For others, it wasn't. Read more

Good Chemistry

When it comes to distributing leads, do you use a round-robin approach? Some believe that by taking steps to match prospects to salespeople, you can maximize their success and your sales. Read more

Great Expectations

No matter how good a job you do installing siding, clients who somehow expected something else won't be satisfied. To avoid this problem, Southwest Exteriors, in San Antonio, manages customer expectations with a detailed contract and a preconstruction conference. Read more

Through the Roof Through the Roof

All across the country, roofing companies have seen materials prices go up, up, up. Read more

Design for Safety

Decks collapse with disturbing regularity. In July, a 14-foot-high deck on a Montana casino gave way, injuring 52. A month earlier, the third-floor deck of a Chicago apartment filled with partying college kids collapsed onto the deck one floor below. That incident killed a dozen and injured more than 40. The same month, eight people were hurt when a deck collapsed in Des Moines, Iowa. Read more

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