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The Gap Is Widening

Remodelers who are professional continue to separate themselves from those who aren't.

October 18, 2000
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Rod Sutton's Editorial Archives

Manufacturers and others in the industry often ask for our definition of "professional." It's in the title of the magazine, so people wonder. Consumers wonder about it, too.

Most professional remodelers know they're professional. They have proven business systems in place; they've been in business long enough to know the way they do business is sustainable; they have good relationships with suppliers, vendors and trade contractors; they know there's always a better way to do something, so they network and educate themselves; they have computers; and they have monthly financial reports that help them run the business.

As remodeling becomes more sophisticated as an industry, the level of professionalism will rise. Those who are professional will improve, and more will improve to become professional. And as that happens, the not-quite-so-professional will become more obvious as such.

If you're reading this at all, chances are you're either a professional or on your way to becoming one. Computers and the Internet are fast becoming as standard as a 22-ounce framing hammer in a remodeling business. These tools are indispensable, not only for managing the company but for communicating with consumers.

If you're reading this on the computer kiosk at our Remodelers' Show booth (#1101) in Detroit instead of your own computer, you're also in the ranks. That's because you recognize the importance of industry events and association membership. You recognize that as talented and intelligent as you are, you can still find information at an event such as the Remodelers' Show that will help you run a better, more sustainable business.

Today, more than ever, your standing as a professional pays off in the consumer's eyes. No-shows, unreturned phone calls and just plain rude behavior are symptoms of the booming remodeling market. Consumers crave professionalism. They're looking for honesty, integrity, reliability and excellence at a fair price. Demand is high for remodeling service, and the supply of professionals who can offer that service isn't keeping up.

As a professional, you have two priorities:

1. Keep your level of sophistication sharp. Manage your business well, continually improve service and performance, and keep your employees great.

2. Help those less professional. Work with remodelers who are almost there or whom you've identified as potential winners. Remember those who helped you, and mentor someone else. Boost the ranks of professionalism overall.

The result will be a healthy, respected industry of professional remodelers, and you'll be competing in a robust marketplace with robust players.

Rod Sutton is the Editor-in-Chief for Professional Remodeler. Please e-mail him with any comments or questions regarding his column.

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