November 2005 Table of Contents

Featured Articles
Know Your Stuff

Focus on the financial side of the business, and have a business plan, regularly updated, to chart your course. Read more

Jobsite Troubleshooting Roof Leaks--Fasteners

Just as poor flashing details are much more likely to be the cause of a leak than the roofing itself, many leaks are caused by the use of insufficient or inadequate fasteners for sheathing, flashing, or roofing, and by the attempt to substitute caulk or roofing cement for flashing. Read more

Mix It Up!

The marketing mix that generates leads for St. Clair Corp. once consumed 22% to 25% of the company's annual revenue. But the seven-branch contractor, headquartered in St. Louis, pared those expenditures down to 15% by instituting a lead-tracking system that gives the company clearer insight into the productivity of its various marketing platforms, including television, radio, newspapers, and billboards. Read more

Buying In

Drive through any U.S. city or town of size and you'll see them: McDonald's, Burger King, and Subway, Pro-Cuts and Supercuts, Jiffy Lube, Re/Max, The UPS Store. Franchises one and all. Franchising sales in the U.S. alone exceeded $1 trillion in 2000, with more than half a million business units generating some 8 million jobs, the International Franchise Association reports. Think you're the right kind of person for a franchise? Sorting out the risks and rewards requires diligence. Read more

People Power People Power

Hiring the right people and training them to manage themselves can give a company owner tremendous freedom. Read more

Wanted: Sales Showoff Wanted: Sales Showoff

In the fall of 2004, Rick Duggan was dismayed to receive a call from his sales manager announcing that he was resigning -- immediately. "He'd been with me 13 months at the time," says Duggan, president of America's Best Home Remodelers, in Golden, Colo. Read more

Handle With Care

No one deliberately takes on an unproductive employee, but what do you do when you find you've hired one? Read more

Measure Up

In my previous article, I defined three categories of prospects. The first is high sense of urgency: ready to buy now. Category Two is low urgency: planning to buy, but not immediately. Category Three: interested but still at the information stage. Read more

Who's on Drugs?

Five years ago, a friend who owned a painting company told Chan Cornett how much things had changed since his company went drug-free. That's when Cornett, owner of Cornett Roofing Systems, in Indianapolis, decided to take a look at drug use in his own company. He wrote a memo and inserted it in every paycheck, explaining that since new hires would be required to pass a drug test, current employees would be tested as well. Read more

Mellow Yellow

Ron Bickel spends about $1,000 a month on Bickel Roofing ads that run in the Yellow Pages in three separate areas in and around Temple, Texas, where his company is located. Bickel calls the handful of jobs that result from these ads in any typical year "a breakeven." The profit he makes on the jobs he gets from those ads more or less pays for them. Read more

Be Direct

A wise pundit once said: "Junk mail is only junk mail if it's junk." Direct mail, if used wisely, is an ideal source for building leads. Read more

New Life for Old Leads

With leads costing $200 or more at some companies, home improvement contractors are understandably reluctant to let unsold leads quietly fade away. That's why many have some kind of rehash program intended to breathe new life into unsold leads, even if success is modest at best, as many report. Read more

To Be or Not to Be�Employees

You can have a great reputation and great marketing on the one hand, great products and installation on the other, but you need an effective salesforce to make the critical link between them. Whether "W-2" employees or "1099" independent agents are best for the job is an open question among home improvement contractors. Read more

Woman to Woman Woman to Woman

When Belinda Hopp walks into a home, women often welcome her, telling the sales manager for Renewal by Andersen in Minnesota's Twin Cities, "I'm so glad they sent a woman. It makes me so much more comfortable." Read more

House Divided

There are two schools of thought when it comes to distributing and selling different types of leads. Read more

Below the Surface

How many times have you been asked to build a second story deck for a customer and they want to use the space underneath the deck instead of wasting it? Some customers want storage; some want living space; some want three-season rooms there. Read more

In a Flash In a Flash

A constant problem that contractors see in siding installations is improper flashing or, even worse, no flashing at all. Read more

Wood Not Waning

According to the Window & Door Manufacturers Association in Des Plaines, Ill., 67.1 million window units were sold last year for both new construction and remodeling/replacement. Of those, 25.2 million were wood windows of which 11.3 million involved remodeling or replacement. Read more

Take It to the Top

When it comes to estimating, Bloomfield Construction, which does a lot of roofing work, has a policy. According to owner Jeff Petrucci, the policy is that wherever possible, estimates involve a first-hand inspection of the roof and attic for his Bloomfield Hills, Mich., company. Read more

Regrettable Departure

Leigh Branham is an expert on employee retention. His most recent book is Read more

Joe Salesman, Joe Installer

How do you recognize the Joe Installer who could become your next Joe Salesman? He's the type that goes the extra mile. He's driven to succeed. And he wants to make more money. A lot more money. Read more

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