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3 Tips to Trim the Fat in Your Business

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Business — Home Improvement

3 Tips to Trim the Fat in Your Business

Director of Home Improvement Drew Barto writes that making these difficult decisions could help improve your bottom line


By Drew Barto January 18, 2024
Man pondering difficult decisions
Photo: fizkes | stock.adobe.com
This article first appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of Pro Remodeler.

Let’s open up the new year by being honest with ourselves. There are people and things in our lives that no longer help us move forward and grow. They don’t bring us joy. They don’t bring us health or wealth. They don’t add meaningful value to our lives.

You’re already picturing someone or something in your life like this, aren’t you?

This is also the case for your remodeling or home improvement business. There are things or people inside your company that aren’t helping you move the profit needle in the right direction.

Lead flow is expected to tighten for many markets in 2024, and contractors may want to consider taking this year to trim the fat—to cut things in their businesses that are no longer leading them toward profitability.

Here are a few examples to help you start thinking about what you can do without.
 

Products

On the pages of this very website, you can read about large home improvement companies adding verticals or locations because they’re in the financial position to do so.

However, several contractors with healthy revenue numbers expect flat growth or even negative revenue growth because they’re going to cut one or more products they offer to homeowners. While these products helped drive topline growth, they were not profitable.

...there are most likely ways you can maneuver your marketing expenses to get more out of a lower spend.

You know your numbers. If you’re not making money with certain verticals, and are unsure how to solve that problem, then it may be time to trim those products.
 

People

It’s human nature to hang onto poor-performing team members for far too long. These employees may consistently fall short of their goals, but you don’t have the heart to let them go. But you need to.

If you feel someone is close to breaking through and showing progress, stick with them and invest in robust training in 2024.

However, if it’s the same story year after year, and they haven’t shown any signs of growth, then it may be time to trim that fat.
 

Marketing Expenses

As a former home improvement marketing director, I’m the last guy who wants to cut marketing expenses, but there are likely a lot of unproductive line items in your budget that can be eliminated. Or at the very least, you can move dollars to more lucrative lead sources.

You also need to consider if there’s an opportunity to spend less on your more effective lead sources. You’ll have to dig deeper into your performance metrics to learn whether that’s true.

A few years ago, I found success generating leads with Every Door Direct Mail. We spent tens of thousands of dollars sending 50,000 to 100,000 postcards to our service area every month. We were just below our target ROI of 10:1.

Yet, when I looked closer, I found that we exceeded our goals in some neighborhoods, but fell far short in others. Without losing much revenue, I moved some of my poor-performing spend to other sources.

For a home improvement company, I believe in having a marketing budget that is at least 10% of your annual sales revenue goal. But if you look inside those numbers, there are most likely ways you can maneuver your marketing expenses to get more out of a lower spend.

These are just some ways to trim fat while adding to your bottom line and surviving an uncertain 2024.

Just remember: Don’t be overly aggressive if you’re not confident.


written by

Drew Barto

Drew Barto is director of home improvement for Pro Remodeler. He most recently served as the Director of Marketing at Energy Swing Windows in Pittsburgh. Contact him at dbarto@sgcmail.com or 412-607-7820.


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