October 2004 Table of Contents

Featured Articles
Product Roundup

Slate roofing, doors, tiles, cameras, boots and more. Read more

Jobsite Shingle Offset

How well three-tab shingles hold up over time depends to some degree on the patterns used to lay them. Although many customers prefer to see the cutouts aligned on the roof, this directs runoff into channels that erode the shingle surface. Read more

Telemarketing: One Year Later

As of August, the National Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry launched by the Federal Communications Commission a year ago contained approximately 62.5 million phone numbers, with more than 57% of adults telling a Harris Poll that they've jumped aboard. Read more

Let It Rain

For replacement contractors, what's not to like when it comes to gutter protection systems? The product satisfies a real consumer need. Its emergence has created a booming market, still largely untapped. The product itself is an uncomplicated device that dovetails nicely with existing exterior product lines. And don't forget the profit margins, which are healthy Read more

Giant Steps Giant Steps

Last year, Maine Window & Sunroom made capital investments. Quite a few, actually. The Kennebunk company set up a full-scale branch in Bangor, opened a 10,000-square-foot distribution center, and purchased an Owens Corning basement finishing franchise. Read more

The 2004 Replacement 100 The 2004 Replacement 100

For many on this year's Replacement 100 list -- a compilation of the top home improvement companies in the United States, ranked by volume of replacement products sold -- the question is, Where will leads come from now? And if those leads are different, in quality and quantity, how will that affect the sales process? Read more

Legal Eagle Legal Eagle: Financing Essentials

In an open-end, or "revolving," credit sale, the contractor enters into a relationship with a manufacturer, large retailer, or financial institution to offer the consumer access to a line of credit or private-label credit card with that third party. In a typical open-end credit sale, the contractor will complete a credit slip and credit charge application with the consumer when making the sale. Read more

Be Prepared

A few years ago, Robert Reicorp's company, which sells and installs Four Seasons Sunrooms in California, was up before the San Luis Obispo Historical Commission. The commission indicated it would recommend denial of the permit Reicorp needed to put a sunroom on his client's circa-1890 Cape Cod. The house was on the state register of historic homes and a Victorian conservatory was not historically appropriate. Reicorp went to the library and did some research. A magazine he found showed a photo of a home once owned by Mark Twain, sporting something like a sunroom. It proved persuasive. In a second meeting, the commission recommended granting the permit. Read more

Hard Cells

The problem at K.C. Co. in Beltsville, Md., was that the cost of cell phone service was becoming almost prohibitive, says Rosemary Nicol, director of customer relations. A huge number of calls came from employees needing to talk to someone in the office. The solution: Nextel's new direct-connect feature. "Nextel is a bit more forward-thinking than other providers," Nicol says. Read more

Willing But Unable

Here are some other things that can drive even your best subs or employees crazy. Read more

Make the Switch

Renaissance Doors & Windows in Fullerton, Calif., used to put all its marketing dollars into newspaper advertising. Company president Mike Jenkins would invest as much as $25,000 in a single weekend to generate leads. Read more

Look Within

Getting every employee in your organization to think for you as well as work for you isn't easy. Garden State Brickface, Roselle, N.J., however, has found a way to do it. The company calls its continuous improvement program Read more

Managing the Marketing

You want to hire a marketing manager and someone suggests you go to a headhunter or a Web site. You get inundated with r�sum�s from those with degrees in marketing or backgrounds at major corporations. Unfortunately, most of these people can't fill the job. Read more

Repeat After Me

While it may take weeks to close a first sale, repeat business often can be wrapped up in a day, because the customer's already sold on your quality and value. Cultivating repeat customers is smart business, says Austin, Texas-based customer loyalty expert Jill Griffin, who consults for corporations such as Microsoft and Sprint. At many businesses, she says, roughly 80% of a company's revenue is generated by 20% of its clientele. Read more

Close 'Em Up Or Give 'Em Back

Would you expect a skilled surgeon to also administer ongoing physical therapy? That might be akin to what you're doing if you allow your salespeople to hang on to leads after a presentation. When a presentation is made without a sale, most companies expect to quickly take that lead back and administer a separate process for rehash. Read more

Farm Team

A few years ago, managers at Deck America, a company that generates the majority of its leads from canvassing, transferred a failing salesperson to the canvassing squad. One month after that, the company moved him back into sales. Read more

One's the Number

If your company is like many, you're probably carrying multiple product lines. Should your salespeople sell one, some, or all of them? The answer's not simple. Read more

Money Talks

The efforts of many replacement contractors to retain top sales talent begin with this truism: Salespeople are motivated by money. Consequently, they structure sales compensation packages that, in effect, make the sky the limit. Read more

Mixed Review Mixed Review

Most major window producers are marketing impact-resistant products, which use a sheet of plastic sandwiched between layers of glass to blunt the force of impact. The difficulty is that consumers sometimes balk at the prices.Replacement contractors in Florida, and particularly in coastal areas, have seen all sorts of ramifications. Read more

Pain to Maintain?

Terry Sinclair, owner of Rocky's Construction in Aurora, Ore., thinks of his market as "my big outdoor showroom." When deck prospects want to see what the company can do, Sinclair hands them a list of six past customers, with addresses and phone numbers. One reason he can do that is because he knows the decks he's built in the past (the company is 15 years old) are in good shape. Read more

Toss and Turn

In the past year, I've conducted meetings with roofing contractors in different parts of the country. Here are some of the issues they're most aware of. Read more

Heavy Metal

The sound of rain beating on a metal roof could sound like pennies from heaven for roofing contractors if the market continues to expand as it has. Metal roofing is growing almost 1,000% faster than the overall market, according to Tom Black, executive director of the Metal Roofing Alliance, an industry marketing group made up of manufacturers and ancillary suppliers. Read more

Relationship Builder

Sal Ferro is president and co-owner of Alure, a Long Island company that generates its sales from windows, siding, roofing, kitchens and baths, and basement finishing. The company expects to sell $32 million worth of home improvements this year, up from $25 million last year, with repeat and referral business of 60% to 68% among its three divisions. Read more

Distinguishing Details

Selling details as part of a siding job gives you two advantages: You distinguish yourself from competitors and add to net profit. Read more

Bad Habits

Replacement contractors could do themselves a favor by dispensing with old-fashioned notions of gender roles and hiring women to sell. Read more

Find out who made this year's The Replacement 100!
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