Benchmark Market Leaders D-H

Benchmark Market Leaders

December 31, 2003


Success Factors    |    < A - C >    |    < D - H >    |    < I - M >    |    < N - S >    |    < T - Z >


Darius Baker, John Scofield

D&J Kitchens & Baths

Sacramento, Calif.


Owners: Darius Baker, CR, CKBR, John Scofield, CR, CKBR

Profile: 13-plus years old; kitchen/bath remodeling

Baker on finding labor: "We are still working on that but have had great success on We have projects sold with deposits in hand that will take us through August 2004. We could have more easily if we could produce it."

On growth:"We have conducted planning sessions with an outside facilitator to develop a growth plan with realistic goals for sales, personnel and money management."



Gregory A. Miedema

Dakota Builders

Tucson, Ariz.

Building Technology

Owner: Gregory A. Miedema, CGR, CAPS

Profile: 16-plus years; general contractor

Miedema on marketing musts: 1. "Aggressive direct marketing through a widely distributed newsletter." 2. "High profile in HBA activity, and extensive marketing to and contact with related businesses and media opportunities." 3. "Consistency in image and presentation in an industry known for temporary businesses."


Davitt Design Build

West Kingston, R.I.




Darius Baker, John Scofield

DesignLine Remodelers

Richmond, Va.


Owners: Wayne and Dorothy Booze

Profile: 8 years old; design/build residential remodeling

DesignLine hired a marketing agency that specializes in remodelers to evaluate market position and past marketing efforts, and then draft a two-year plan and budget. An improved corporate identity package provided a stronger visual image, and a comprehensive, constantly changing Web site was developed along with a quarterly newsletter. Three direct mail campaigns were undertaken: a three-card mailing system during a construction project's life within a half-mile of the job; a Chrysalis Award announcement; and a three-card campaign highlighting specific project types - kitchen, bath and additions. Also implemented: two-color magazine advertisements reflecting the message, and enlisting the aid of a public relations firm, which led to an article about DesignLine in the local paper.

The company also stays active in the community and the remodeling industry through membership in the HBA of Richmond and by organizing remodelers' participation in the annual parade of homes.



Design Construction Concepts

Northbrook, Ill.

Owners: Michael A. Menn, AIA, CGR, CAPS, Andrew L. Poticha

Profile: 13 years old; design/build remodeling

DCC on design: "Because we are architects as well as contractors, we can see all sides - design, budget and construction - and we have developed a successful process where our design/build delivery system addresses all three components."

On marketing: "Marketing is one of the most important, if not the most important, keys to success in any business. We don't just think about how to market to our base better, we obsess about it!"


Distinctive Remodeling

Raleigh, N.C.

Innovative Business Practices


DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen by Worldwide

Waco, Texas

Innovative Business Practices, Market Share



F.H. Perry Builder

Hopkinton, Mass.

Human Resources

Owner: Finley H. Perry Jr.

Profile: 28 years old; residential remodeling, custom homes

Project development coordinator Allison Iantosca on employees: " We spend a great deal of time thinking about ways to improve the client experience. We know where to hire the best craftsmen, but we expect ourselves to be the best providers of service. Our employees never waiver from a customer-first attitude and are empowered at the 'front line' to do whatever is needed to facilitate a project."

On subcontractors: "A critical link to quality and innovation. We don't have staff carpenters. When a stair needs to be built, we hire a stair builder. When a cabinet needs to be built, we hire a cabinetmaker. These craftsmen focus on their expertise every day. They know more than we ever will about how to be the best at what they do."

On leadership: "The brains are within the organization itself. Suggestions, decisions, innovation come from the employees. We operate with continuity teams - teams of office and field employees - in production, finance and administration, and sales and marketing. These teams provide a home base for brainstorming. Fully researched ideas get passed to decision-makers. We operate with an open-book format, and our leadership is honest and forthright."


Fairway Construction

Southfield, Mich.

Marketing (see Project Spotlight)



Foster Remodeling Solutions

Lorton, Va.

Human Resources, Profitability

Owner: David P. Foster, CR

Profile: 20 years old; design/build remodeling

Keys to profitability: 1. A weekly review of financial information, including job costing and cost allocation (both cost of goods and overhead). This is the time to analyze budgeted versus actual costs and/or income. 2. An easy-to-use computer system for efficient analysis of company performance.


Garden State Brickface, Windows & Siding

Roselle, N.J.



Gardner/Fox Associates

Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Innovative Business Practices


HammerSmith Inc.

Decatur, Ga.

Craftsmanship, Design



Harrell Remodeling

Mountain View, Calif.

Innovative Business Practices, Profitability

Owners: Iris Harrell, Ann Benson

Profile: 18 years old; residential remodeling

Harrell's top 3 keys to being a successful remodeler: 1. Keep promises, both big and small. 2. Hire good talent with the ability to multi-task. 3. Integrate design and construction with a "win-win-win (company-client-employees/subcontractors) value system."



Devon Hartman, William Baldwin

HartmanBaldwin design/build

Claremont, Calif.


Owners: Devon Hartman, William Baldwin

Profile: Founded 1979; architecture, residential remodeling, new homes

Eve-Marie Lanza, marketing and public relations coordinator, on the 3 keys to design: 1. Fully integrated design/build system with in-house architects and carpenters. 2. Field employees with a culture of "uncompromising design execution." 3. Matching client needs with innovative design solutions.

On growth: "Capacity management will be an extremely important challenge for our company in 2004. We are focusing on streamlining our internal design and construction systems to manage the work flow currently in place."



Karen King, William A. Bartlett

Home ReBuilders


Design, Marketing

Owner: William A. Bartlett

Profile: 22 years old; design/build residential remodeling

Most significant 2003 accomplishment: Bringing job costs to within 0.76% of estimate

Bartlett and marketing director Karen King's top 3 keys to marketing success: 1. A funded marketing plan that is upheld throughout the years. 2. Consistent branding throughout the marketplace. 3. A professional, regularly updated Web site.



Lea Allen, Kai Tong, Joe Leonard

Hopkins & Porter Construction

Potomac, Md.

Customer Service, Design

Owners: Michael Porter Denker, Guy Hopkins Semmes

Profile: 26 years old; residential remodeling, custom homes, handyman services

Joe Leonard, vice president of sales, on design: "We have two of the brightest, most creative people on our team. Kai Tong and Lea Allen bring cutting-edge design to the table. Their ability to listen to our clients' desires makes us successful. Providing a design and construction schedule and delivering on time are important to our clients. Having a reasonable turnaround time adds to our success. Budget - everyone has one, be it small or large."

On customer service: "We work in one of the most business-savvy remodeling markets in the country. People are inundated with marketing material here. Letting our clients know how much we appreciate their business and the lengths we are willing to go to keep it is very important. We are thinking customer service from the first phone call, every interaction. Everyone who touches a client in any way has a shared appreciation for that client. Our service really has no limits. Whatever a client needs, we make it happen.

"We have warranty calls scheduled before the project is completed. Getting back in to do a review of the work completed and checking on how it is holding up is important to our clients and us. We stand behind our work, and our clients want that."



Ryan Haas, Tom Lammers

Houston Structural


Customer Service

Owners: Tom Lammers, CR, CGR, CGB, Ryan Haas

Profile: Founded 1979; design/build residential remodeling

In 2003, the company partnered with a local supplier to offer free, monthly informative seminars to consumers under the "Design & Remodeling Series" title.



David Beers, Chuck Mullen, Alan Hanbury, Bob Hanbury

House of Hanbury Builders

Newington, Conn.


Owners: Robert D. Hanbury, CGR, Alan E. Hanbury Jr., CGR, CAPS

Profile: 27 years old; residential and commercial remodeling

Alan Hanbury on profitability:"We take ownership of the gross profit of the projects as sales and project managers. Superior results are rewarded with bonuses. We never discount. We reduce scope, often keeping most if not all of the markup associated with the reduction. We calculate labor burden to the penny. Contingency plans are made well before the need clouds judgment, and all decisions are brought back to their financial impact. Being a fiscal conservative, I know we miss out on some opportunities but avoid many more tragedies.

"Be properly capitalized or have the resources lined up to be so. Respect cash for what it is, the gas for your company, and for what it is not, net profit.

"Know from whom, where, how and the real why you make exceptional financial results and case those scenarios, leaving all the others behind. You need to say no to work, people and personalities that will not let you make money."



Scott Whitlock

Hubert Whitlock Builders

Charlotte, N.C.


Owners: Hubert W. Whitlock, Scott M. Whitlock, Stephanie Whitlock Hazard, Steven R. Whitlock

Company profile: 46 years old; full-service residential remodeling, custom homes

Scott Whitlock on the top 3 success factors: 1. "Hire the right people and allow them to contribute and grow." 2. "Breed a culture of uncompromising quality and service and allow it to happen." 3. "Know the numbers and watch the bottom line."

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