Room remodels (such as kitchens) will remain popular, while larger additions will continue to decline, so adjust accordingly.
Often in life, the difference between winning and losing doesn’t lie in being better or smarter—it is in making better predictions. This dynamic is also true in business. If you can predict what clients will need or the impact of a changing economy, you will likely be more successful. While I don’t have a crystal ball, I do get a chance to interact with some of the industry’s best, and the following are my predictions for 2019.
1] Remodeling costs will continue to rise. I believe the increase will not be as much as in 2018 (up 15–25% for many projects), but it will probably be 8–14%. These increases will lead to more stalled projects and squeezed margins. It is important that you position yourself and your clients for this situation.
2] Home appreciation will flatten. Home appreciation has been a key driver since the recession. It generates consumer confidence in investing into the home. In 2019, remodelers will need more and different data points and evidence of remodeling ROI to counterbalance this.
3] Levels of transparency in the remodeling sales and production processes will become greater. Many remodelers are moving in this direction; however, in 2019 the clients will require it. It is important to start thinking through new methods of communicating project costs.
4] Online meetings will continue to increase. These will take place in the sales, design, product selection, and production processes. Better businesses will begin using online activities as a differentiator in sales and to improve the client experience.
Social media will become part of everyone’s role in the business. It will be an integral piece of sales and production training and communication.
5] Amazon and Google will have a bigger impact on remodeling. In the ‘90s, many said Home Depot could be only a supplier. Now, they are the largest remodeler. While we all recognize Amazon and Google’s influence, we need to think through how they fit in the equation.
6] Social media will be much more than a marketing tool. Social media will become part of everyone’s role in the business. It will be an integral piece of sales and production training and communication.
7] The labor crisis will get worse. The better and more creative businesses will win with innovation, not more warm bodies. This means faster installations, fun work environments, and more labor friendly products.
8] Referrals will continue to have less impact on leads. Many consumers today put more value in an online review than a personal referral, according to Google surveys. Obtaining simplified online reviews will become a critical process for most of the better remodelers.
9] Project types will continue to shift. Due to costs and other design alternatives, a higher percentage of remodeling dollars will be in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor living, master suites, and exterior makeovers. The larger additions will continue to decline as a percentage of the total revenue. So position your messaging and operations to fit a modified project and client blend.
While most of these predictions are not revolutionary, they are important. With that in mind, you need to look forward and predict the changes rather than relying on the past as your only guide.