Mark Richardson: Why I love the remodeling business

Loving something, whether it is professional or personal, gives you the energy and fortitude to navigate the environment we are in.

December 13, 2011

In these wild and stressful times it is important to love what you do.

Loving something, whether it is professional or personal, gives you the energy and fortitude to navigate the environment we are in. Loving something makes the work become enjoyable and fulfilling. Loving something creates memories and the lessons learned that make us who we are.

Recently Fred Case (co-chairman and founder of Case Design/Remodeling) shared at an annual meeting what he loved about the remodeling business. Fred is a legend in this industry and his words were inspiring. They gave me a reason to ask myself what I love about the remodeling business.

Here are the five reasons I love the remodeling business!

1) Remodeling touches us both professionally and personally.

Every day I live in the spaces that I am expert in. While it may make it hard to truly escape from your vocation, it also makes your work less laborious — something that gives you personal fulfillment. Your work makes you the hero at home and at the office.

2) Remodelers tend to have wonderful homes.

My home is not only a great place to hang in my off hours but also a significant investment. Many of my friends with good incomes have much more modest homes and see their homes as more of a liability than an asset.

And a remodeler’s inherent access to trade contractors to help with the day-to-day home issues reduces the hassles and stress of home ownership.

3) Our product touches the hearts of our clients.

There are very few vocations that your clients regularly give you hugs when you complete a transaction. There are not many businesses that require a level of trust that your client allows you to be in the more intimate parts of their homes (a master bathroom) and to discuss personal aspects of their daily lives. The connection you have with your clients is not only important to success in your business, but often can be very deep and long lasting.

4) Our product will never become obsolete.

I think it is safe to say that homeowners will not abandon their present concept of a home and move into caves or become gypsies.

It is also safe to say that the homes we remodel will always require proper care and feeding. A friend of mine always advises her clients to “not let their homes die.” We are the house doctors and the patient does get sick and needs us. While “the how” we do remodeling needs to change, the need for our services will always be there. This allows you to invest in yourself without the risk of our industry vaporizing. (Watch the new video series on “Change or Become Irrelevant” at for more on this topic.)

5) Every day is a new experience.

Every house is different. Every client is unique. Every project has its own special elements.

All these create a freshness that is extremely invigorating. At times we may wish for more constants but remodeling is not a factory operation. It is not a place you can work for eight hours a day pushing a button to make a specific part. The scale of a remodeling project allows you to never get bored on any one project.

You may notice I did not mention that you can make a good living in this business (which you can). You may also notice that I did not touch on building a team and professional relationships. Nor did I address the opportunity to grow a name or brand in the community (which you can both locally but also nationally).

I highlighted these five first because I believe they are where the most of the memories are made. I highlighted these because these are the memories that will feed an inner satisfaction when you are relaxing on your porch in your later years.

In closing, knowing why you love something is important but you will never appreciate it until you can take the time and reflect and write it down for others to read.

Mark Richardson is co-chairman of Case Design Remodeling and the Case Institute of Remodeling. He is a member of the NAHB Remodeling Hall of Fame and a Fellow at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Richardson is the author of the best-selling book, “How Fit is Your Business,” and a forthcoming book, “Business Themes to Live By,” to be published next year.

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