Every year, when we award the newest group of Forty Under 40 recipients, our editorial team spends time interviewing each winner. This provides a deeper sense of their companies and their expertise, so we can then shine a light on trends they’re seeing and new ideas they’ve implemented.
Listening to this group is interesting, like doing a mini research project on what’s happening out there. These remodelers may not yet have the highest revenue—although many of them are doing very well—but they are hungry for success, and that fuels innovation and early adoption of whatever is cutting edge. Here are some broad takeaways from this year.
A New Sense of Technology
I don’t know the market penetration for software like Buildertrend, but we all know that it’s grown dramatically in recent years. What’s interesting is that attitudes about these tools have changed as well.
I was impressed by the number of winners who aggressively grew revenue in the past couple of years by expanding into different areas...
More than half of the Forty mentioned how much they were helped by a piece of software designed specifically for the industry. This is in contrast to just a few years ago, when winners talked in more general terms about migrating their business to the cloud, or ways to use mobile devices in the field. We’ve achieved a tipping point around the adoption of these products, and soon homeowners will start expecting to see them. Design and project management software are almost as ubiquitous as Facebook now, even for smaller companies.
I was impressed by the number of winners who aggressively grew revenue in the past couple of years by expanding into different areas, whether geographically or by opening an entirely new division like home building. The industry is booming so it’s no surprise, but I’ve known a lot of remodelers who enjoy the ride of a growing economy without any organized plan to take advantage of the moment. Not the Forty. Many of them started very small, became larger, and then leveraged that success to add new ventures and grow larger still.
Homeowners Taking Longer
“Clients are really starting to drag their feet when it comes time to sign the contract,” is something I’ve been hearing anecdotally for awhile. But after talking with the Forty, I would hazard a guess that it’s happening more in certain markets, notably the eastern part of the country. Also, homeowners’ reluctance to commit seems more evident in higher-end projects.
A number of winners mentioned hearing predictions of an economic slowdown, but not a single one reported any less demand in the first quarter—just the opposite.
All of this is food for thought, but I’m not sure that it’s inspiring. Want to be impressed? Check out our Forty Under 40 winners and see what makes these accomplished individuals stand out.