Remodelers Advantage

Ep.34: The Evolution of SEO with Spencer Powell

Marketing is getting more complicated, and search engine optimization can seem like voodoo or black magic. The SEO landscape is always changing, as Google adjusts its algorithms every day.

The goal remains the same, though — growing your organic traffic online to rank higher in the search listings, so you get found by the people who will become your clients.

Spencer Powell joins Victoria and Mark to explain how to maximize your SEO, and share the recipe for a successful SEO strategy. 

Spencer is the founder and president of Builder Funnel, a digital marketing agency that helps remodelers improve their marketing and sales systems. They help you generate more leads and sales by putting the right technology in place to measure what’s working and what’s not so you can improve over time.

SEO matches up with the way people shop and buy. Users ask questions and do research, and you want your site to be there with the answers. But a successful SEO program is more than just choosing keywords and topics. You have to know what else comes into play. Learn more about:

  • Good content vs. junk content
  • Understanding what questions to answer
  • How to drive traffic using social channels and email
  • The keys to A/B testing, and how to do it
  • Calls to Action and where to put them
  • The importance of fresh content
  • And more…

Including this link to the 200 SEO ranking factors Spencer talked about. If you’ve got questions for Spencer, shoot him an email at spowell@builderfunnel.com. There are more resources for you at Builder Funnel’s website.

Meet Spencer at Summit
If you want to ask Spencer questions and meet him in person, no better way than see him at the 2018 Remodelers Summit in New Orleans on September 25-27! Spencer and Builder Funnel will be one of our sponsors, so make sure you stop by their booth to meet his team.

Ep.33: The Sales-to-Production Handoff with Bruce Case

To many remodelers, a project works like a relay race, depending on good handoffs of the baton. The sales-to production-handoff is critical, and if you drop the baton, the race is over.

But there are ways to make it less of a hard handoff and more of a continuum, says Bruce Case. Bruce joins Victoria and Mark to explain how to break down the barriers and bring Sales and Production together as a team.

Bruce Case is the president and CEO of Case Design/Remodeling Inc., one the largest full-service remodeling firms in the nation with more than $60 million is annual revenue. Focused on the Washington, DC, metro market, the company provides a unique mix of design/build and home improvement services. Over the past 15 years, the company has extended its reach across the US through a network of licensees and franshises working under the Case Handyman & Remodeling Services banner. All these initiatives is focus on inspiring team members and clients.

Involving Production from the beginning of a job makes the projects more seamless and collaborative, creating a process that empowers employees and keeps them all focused on the bottom line. Bruce tells you how Case handles this team approach, including:

  • The need for accurate estimating
  • Why Project Managers get to sign off on a contract before the client does
  • Structuring compensation for Sales and Production based on gross profit
  • Who goes to what meetings and why
  • What to do when you need a tie-breaker
  • And a whole lot more…

Bruce talks about how to lead this process, and your team, with empowerment and accountability. For more about Case Design/Remodeling, check out their website. And we’re looking forward to Bruce’s AskAnything Fireside Chat at the Remodeler’s Summit on Sept. 26 — his fourth time sharing his expertise with us.

 
 

Ep.32: Industry Insights with Rick Strachan

If you’re curious as to where the remodeling  industry is going and the key opportunities for the future, Rick Strachan of Hanley Wood has your answers.

In this episode, Rick breaks it all down with Victoria and Mark, telling you what will drive growth, and how to face the coming challenges. You’ll get the big picture, detailed information to help you make strategic decisions for your future, and more numbers than you can shake a stick at.

Rick has worked in the media and information business serving the construction industry for 35 years, and for the last 26 years has been with Hanley Wood’s Remodeling Group. He is a founding member of the Harvard Joint Center Remodeling Futures Program, and is a past board member and former chairman of the Home Improvement Research Institutes Remodeling Professional Committee. He has also received NARI’s President’s Award for service to the industry.

The biggest drivers of remodeling, now and for the near term, are the Baby Boomers. Rick tells you what you need to know about this generation’s buying power and habits, as well as:

  • The predicted habits of Millennials in the remodeling space
  • The phenomenal growth in the industry and why the future looks bright
  • How to address your labor shortage
  • Why product and materials costs will escalate, and how to deal with it
  • Why HGTV isn’t all bad for business
  • What our aging housing stock means for you
  • And much more…

This episode is as close to fortune-telling as we can get. If you have any questions for Rick, you can email him at rstrachan@hanleywood.com. For more information about Hanley Wood and its news and information about the remodeling industry, go to their website.

Summit Partners

We are proud to partner with Rick and his team at Hanley Wood on producing the Remodelers Summit and we’re excited to get down to New Orleans for this year’s event. We only have 5 seats left for Summit so if you haven’t registered yet, please do so ASAP. You do NOT want to miss this year’s event!

Ep.31: How to Successfully Use Cost-Plus Pricing with Josh Baker

The Cost-Plus Pricing model seems to go completely against common sense, but it’s a concept that we’re getting more questions about from our membership. One contributing factor is that consumers increasingly demand transparency when purchasing products and services — and homeowners are coming to expect it when undertaking a remodeling project. But so many remodelers don’t understand it. Can Cost Plus be your new pricing model?

Josh Baker, co-founder of BOWA Builders, has been using Cost-Plus Pricing for more than 20 years. In this episode, he talks to Victoria and Mark about its pros and cons, and why it’s a cornerstone of his company’s success.

Josh founded BOWA Builders in McLean, VA, with college friend Larry Weinberg in 1988, serving the Washington, DC, metro market. As the leader of BOWA’s sales and marketing team, Josh helped to quickly grow the company’s revenues from $250,000 to nearly $40 million in just 20 years. As chief revenue officer, Josh’s focus is on growth and managing an energetic, productive sales team. Recognized nationally as an expert in the industry, Josh is quoted regularly in publications, including The Washington Post, Better Homes & Gardens, and Remodeling, and is a frequent speaker at local and national industry meetings.

Cost-Plus Pricing can be a differentiator, but it can also frighten some remodeling business owners — as well as some clients. Josh explains how to present the concept to clients, and what it will take to implement it profitably, as well as:

  • What jobs are suited to the Cost-Plus Model
  • Weighing the risks and rewards
  • The necessity of pinpoint accuracy in estimating
  • Why not to apologize for your costs
  • The time it takes to do well
  • Why you need a sophisticated, expert sales staff to make it work
  • And a whole lot more…

Josh stresses that Cost-Plus Pricing isn’t for everyone, or for every job. Listening to this episode may help you decide if it’s the pricing model for you, or for some of your projects. Check out BOWA’s website for more about the company, and if you have questions about Cost-Plus Pricing, send Josh an email at josh@bowa.com.

 

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Ep.30: How to Create a Financial Plan with Sacha Millstone

Business plans, marketing plans, any plan serves as a map to a goal. Your financial plan is no different.

You need to set your goal, write it down, and commit to it. Our Roundtables members do this regularly for their businesses. But too many people get anxious when it comes to looking at their personal financial plans, says guest Sacha Millstone, a financial planner and wealth manager.

Sacha discusses how to get past the anxiety about your personal financial planning with Victoria and Mark in this episode.

Sacha started the The Millstone Evans Group in the Washington, DC, area in the late 1990s, and now has a team of 10, with offices in Washington, DC, Denver, CO, and Boulder, CO. She has helped hundreds of clients achieve their financial goals by creating a written plan and helping them put it into place.

When you’re running a small business, you can get so absorbed in your work financials that you avoid looking at your personal situation. But you have to, says Sacha. And while you can do a financial plan to get you to retirement, it’s difficult. There’s so much emotion around money that you may need someone to advise, coach, and hold you responsible.

There’s so much good advice in this episode! You’ll learn:

  • The magic of compound interest
  • Why not to use the word “budget”
  • Where your investments are — and what to add
  • Why insurance — especially for yourself — is so important
  • How to mitigate risk in your investments
  • What the Monte Carlo analysis is
  • And a whole lot more…

You’ll also hear why Victoria’s idea of summer fun for kids includes financial quizzes. This episode breaks down the importance of financial planning for remodeling business owners in ways that will make you think differently about the whole subject. It’s never too late to plan.

For more information about Sacha, her business, and how she can help, go to the Millstone Evans Group’s website. If you have questions, drop her an email at sacha.millstone@raymondjames.com or give her a call at (800) 201-4554.

Ep.29: How to Build an Award-Winning Company with Jeremy Martin

Success in the remodeling industry is all by the book for Jeremy Martin. That goes for the 50 books he reads per year, and the systems and business processes he institutes and uses at his company. And most importantly, those two factors culminate in “The Book” — the three-ring binder filled with details and documentation that has powered his company’s growth.

Jeremy talked with Victoria and Mark for our live podcast in June — and if you missed it, take this opportunity to catch up. You’ll hear insights and tactics you can put to work for your own company immediately.

A principal with RisherMartin in Austin, TX, Jeremy founded the company with partner Chris Risher. Jeremy graduated from the University of Texas with an engineering degree and went to work at Fortune 500 giants like IBM and Intel. Jeremy combined his corporate experience with his love of building and launched his home building career in 2001. He’s an RA Roundtables member, was recognized as a “Rising Star” by NAHB, and was in the “40 under 40” lists for Professional Builder and Professional Remodeler. With Chris, he was named the 2016 Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year, and was a finalist for the RA Impact Award.

Jeremy’s time with huge companies gives him a different perspective on the remodeling business, and he’s applied the lessons learned at businesses with 60,000 employees to his now 10-person company. “You have to think big to get big,” he says. “But don’t expect that growth to be linear.”

Learn how RisherMartin finds their ideal clients, gets an average of $1 million per job, and how they hire, along with:

  • Setting intentional time on the calendar for big picture thinking
  • Troubleshooting the most treacherous part of the remodeling business
  • The secret to a healthy business partnership
  • How to strive for continuous improvement
  • Selling the fixed-price model
  • And more…

You’ll also get to hear Mark admit his man-crush, and find out what Victoria’s theme song would be. You can learn more about RisherMartin on the company’s website, which devotes a page to The Book — that’s how important it is to their success.

In today’s episode, Victoria mentions a slide that was available during the Live Episode back in June, for those of you who are interested in learning more about Roundtables… Below is a copy of that slide, click to see a larger version.

Ep.28: The Dos and Don’ts of Implementing Technology with Donny Wyatt

Technology is critical to boosting efficiency and ensuring scalability for remodelers and builders, but tech isn’t the answer to everything. It’s hard to know where to start, and what problems tech can solve for you. Too often, you purchase an expensive program, people don’t use it, and it gets shelved.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark talk the dos and don’ts of tech with Donny Wyatt, the founder and CEO of CoConstruct, a web-based project management system for custom builders and remodelers.

Back in 2005, Donny was a homeowner who had a typical, but frustrating, building experience, and used that inspiration to create a web-based system to help custom builders and remodelers serve their clients better. Today, CoConstruct has been named the No. 1 software of its type by SoftwareAdvice and Finances online. Donny leads a team of nearly 100 employees serving 5,000 customers across North America and beyond.

The biggest key to successfully implementing a software solution is to start small, advises Donny, and pick one or two key problems to solve. Then use your sales skills to get buy-in from your team, concentrating on one or two key players — a driver and a curmudgeon. Donny tells you how to do that, as well as:

  • Figuring out what problems you need to solve
  • How to get past the human speedbumps
  • The positive side effects of the right software
  • Why a tech problem may really be a leadership problem
  • Using tech to make your clients’ experiences outstanding
  • When to keep going through a puddle
  • And a whole lot more…

This is lively episode packed with information you can use today. You can learn more about CoConstruct with just a click.

Just like our remodeling industry audience, Rave Reviews are the lifeblood of any good podcast…

If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher.

And as always, if you have a topic that you would like us to cover or know of an industry contact, author or thought-leader that you think others would like to hear from, let us know.

 

Ep.27: How I Quadrupled My Revenue with Todd Jackson

Growing your company requires thinking big, developing innovative strategies, and taking risks. If you do it right, the results can be huge. Todd Jackson did it right, and quadrupled his revenue.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark talk to Todd about how he achieved that success, and the details and work behind the big numbers.

Todd is the CEO and president of Jackson Design & Remodeling in San Diego, CA, and a long-time Roundtables member. During the recession of 2007-2009, he developed and adopted strategies that got the company these amazing results in the next decade.

Learn how Todd not only weathered the downturn, but put systems in place and doubled-down on his marketing to power his company when the economy bounced back. He talks about the importance of creating a culture that celebrates success, as well as:

  • The key advice he got from another Roundtables member
  • Why his salespeople love their lower commissions
  • How his showroom drives profits
  • His strategy to cut the design process from months to weeks
  • Financing vs. cash
  • The awesome power of wearing slacks
  • And more…

There’s no one magic bullet, but a cohesive mix of strategies, calculated risks, and goals that will speed a remodeling company toward exponential growth. Click through to see more about Jackson Design & Remodel.

You don’t want to miss this episode!
 

How are we doing so far?

If you have a topic that you would like us to cover or know of an industry contact, author or thought-leader that you think others would like to hear from, let us know.

If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher.

 
 

Ep.26: How the Media Business Can Transform Your Remodeling Company with James Carey

With so many new media and communication outlets, it’s hard to know what channels to use for your own marketing. But that also means there are opportunities — and getting your message out to an audience is easier than ever. Taking the plunge into media can change your business.

In Episode 26, Victoria and Mark tackle the new media and marketing landscape with James Carey, who transformed the remodeling business he owns with his brother Morris when they pitched a radio show about home improvement in the 1980s. That led to a national syndication deal, a TV show, and book publishing.

James is the president of Carey Bros. Remodeling in Brentwood, CA, and is the co-host of the nationally syndicated radio program On the House with the Carey Brothers and of their pro podcast CareyBrosPros.

While James made his splash in old media, he continues to take advantage of the new opportunities provided by just a wifi connection. From podcasting (which we love) to social media, James leads you through ways to get your message out, including:

  • Finding your unique outreach
  • Harnessing the power of the media
  • What you can learn from Mommy-bloggers
  • Helping homeowners make informed decisions
  • Access vs. competition per channel
  • And a whole lot more…

It’s a fascinating episode, and will inspire you to think about your marketing — and your business — differently. For more about James (and Morris), check out CareyBros.com to learn about the remodeling company. Their radio program site for homeowner advice is OnTheHouse.Com, and their site for professional remodelers is CareyBrosPros.com.
 

We love the feedback we have received so far!

As always, if you have a topic that you would like us to cover or know of an industry contact, author or thought-leader that you think others would like to hear from, let us know.

If you’re enjoying our PowerTips Unscripted podcast, please spread the word and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher.

Ep.25: Open Book Management with Ken Kirsch

The thought of showing your financials to your employees may be unsettling. We’ve known remodelers who are so leery of sharing their numbers, their field crews don’t even know their project budgets.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Ken Kirsch, a proponent and practitioner of Open Book Management. In this episode, Ken tells Victoria and Mark that showing your numbers will engage and motivate your team — while helping your bottom line.

Ken is the president of MAK Design+Build Inc. in Davis, CA. Drawing on his experience as a carpenter and an artist, he and his wife Ellen started MAK Design+Build in 2003, out of an Airstream Trailer in their driveway. Ken’s a member of Roundtables group Krypton, and was introduced to the concept of Open Book Management at his very first RA meeting.

Victoria and Mark talk with Ken about the positives, and one surprising negative, he’s experienced since embracing Open Book Management. They discuss:

  • What to show and what to avoid
  • Focusing on the Big Picture 
  • The importance of your team being financially literate
  • When and how to discuss your numbers
  • Engaging your employees for lower turnover
  • And a whole lot more…

Transparency in business is much more than a buzzword, it’s something your employees will seek out more and more. Find out how Open Book Management can make your business better. Click here to see more about MAK Design+Build.

As promised, here is a shot of the AirStream that Ken got started in