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Communicating During COVID-19: One Remodeler's Strategy

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Communicating During COVID-19: One Remodeler's Strategy

Design-build remodeler Bryan Sebring shares what tools he's using to communicate while sheltering in place


By By James F. McClister March 25, 2020
covid-19 is affecting remodelers

In 21 days, 101 recorded U.S. cases of COVID-19 ballooned to more than 33,000. Streets are empty, businesses are closed. People can’t go to work, or congregate too closely. One in five Americans have been ordered to stay home, according to reporting from The New York Times. Goldman Sachs projects the country’s GDP will drop 24% next quarter as a result. That would be the worst GDP drop in U.S. history, by a lot.

The outbreak’s impact on everyday normalcy in the U.S. is unprecedented, as is it’s impact on the remodeling industry. There’s no guide for how to navigate a remodeling business through a global pandemic the scale that we’re experiencing. With that in mind, we’ve reached out to a number of remodelers and industry organizations to get a better understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted their markets and how they’re responding as a result.

We will be publishing their responses in a series of posts that will extend the length of the crisis, however long that proves to be.


Sebring Design Build 

Naperville, Ill. 

Responses come from Bryan Sebring, owner of Sebring Design Build

How has COVID-19 impacted your market and your business?

It is currently our primary focus and (like most businesses) as is the unknown lasting effects on the economy.  My staff have looked to me for answers, but there is so much unknown that its hard to lead them during this stage. This is very different than the 2008 housing crisis.

Has your company had to make any adjustments because of COVID-19?

All office staff are working from home. We use Facetime, Asana, and Co-Construct to communicate. The State of Illinois has allowed construction to continue working. So the field staff are still working but many of our projects are on hold until all this settles down.

What are your biggest business concerns during these times?

Sales and possible cancellations. We had a bunch of projects in design and most have decided to put the project on hold or slow the process. Because of suggestions from Judith Miller and my Remodelers Advantage Roundtables group, I had previously acquired a line of credit, which I exercised last week (just in case). Back in 2008 my line of credit was the first thing to get pulled. I decided to get the cash just in case. This has allowed me to be less worried about the near future and to focus on what we can do to improve a couple months from now.

Have you or anyone on your staff tested positive for COVID-19?

I hadn’t known of anyone that contracted until recently. A local contractor friend had been sick for six days and finally found out he had it.

 

written by

James F. McClister

James McClister is managing editor for Professional Remodeler.


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