When Renovation Sells went into its second year of business, it exploded—figuratively.
The company’s CEO, Michael Valente, chalks it up to doing things differently, something that comes naturally for the entrepreneur.
“If everybody’s swimming in one direction, I just naturally like to go the other way,” he says.
And in remodeling, most business owners seemed to swim in the direction of high-end, custom, and emotional remodels. But the direction Valente took? Quick facelifts primarily for realtors to increase the value, demand, and aesthetics of home listings. It’s what Renovation Sells does across its 42 locations in 23 states.
Swimming in a New Direction
Valente opened Renovation Sells in 2018 after 10 years of working in construction doing projects the traditional way. But he and his team found themselves at a crossroads in 2017.
“We were getting these really high design projects that were high numbers, and they looked beautiful, but they were just really difficult to execute by nature when you’re dealing with high design, high net worth people,” recalls Valente. “We really liked this facelift product because we could get in and out and make 40% margins on these projects and in three weeks. Let’s do that.”
It first began with noticing a trend.
Valente received his contractor license in 2008 and opted to get his realtor license as well. He became the construction arm for a high-end designer and worked closely with a residential remodeler early in his career.
But through this time, realtors continued as a strong referral source. Then, from 2012 to 2017, realtors began requesting much more prep-for-sale work. Instead of the homeowner-led projects, these leaned more toward cosmetic work, often completed in a few weeks, and realtors provided a steady flow of these projects.
Light bulb moment.
Valente’s pitch to realtors was to eliminate time on market, eliminate the objection of the buyer, and maximize the sale price. Typical projects include kitchen refreshes and some bathroom work, such as cabinet and wall painting, carpet change, backsplash updating, lighting updates, new countertops, and refinishing floors. It resulted in an average project timeline of three weeks and 95% of projects being sold within 30 days of listing.
The (Figurative) Explosion
A year later, business quadrupled, but Valente wasn’t satisfied. He also happened to love big goals and big numbers, so his next question after finding such success was, “How are we going to expand?”
Valente believed that the opportunity for this work extended far beyond Chicago where Renovation Sells first opened. So, he turned the company into a franchise.
The model features franchisees with no employees, low overhead, no brick-and-mortar, and no equipment. Jobs run solely with trade partners.
By the end of 2023, Valente says Renovation Sells will be in 25 states with more than 50 locations.
“Because no one was doing it, that was perfect for us,” says Valente. “I just love to do things where no one else is playing that game.”