Prepare to Exit

Maybe it's just another boomer phenomenon, but the industry is starting to talk about retiring from remodeling.

November 13, 2000


Rod Sutton's Editorial Archives

Trend spotters in America watch the baby boomers. This large demographic sneezes, and the nation has a cold. Witness the current debate on Social Security and then consider who's nearest to retirement age. The same actualities may be driving the surfacing of concerns among remodelers who want to slow down or stop working. There's no doubt the subject is popular right now.

One remodeler, who started his business "just after World War II," has determined that the end of the year will bring a scaled-back involvement in remodeling for him. George Frank, CR, will work part time for the company he founded, Big 8 Remodeling in Columbus, Ohio, beginning Jan. 1, 2001. His sons, Roger, 48, and Scott, 32, will continue to run the company.

"I was going to do this five years ago, and I didn't," George, 76, says of his decision to step away. Big 8's offices and shop are located on a 3-acre site next to the Frank home. "We live 100 yards from the shop," so he will still be involved.

For George, the transition is possible because he has two children in the business willing to take on the responsibilities. Scott, also a CR, heads the sales department, and his brother handles the field for the $2 million kitchen and bath specialist. This year, Big 8 hired a couple of other salespeople to free up Scott to manage the company.

Scott has worked in the company since his teen years and has a bachelor's degree in psychology. He worked in the field and moved inside to handle the company's computers and sell projects. Roger is the company's field supervisor, scheduling field staff and trade contractors. The ownership of the company will shift as the responsibilities do, Scott says, although his parents will retain "51%."

"This year was when I actually started taking over the sales manager [function]," Scott says. He says the plan is for him to slowly take on the functions done by his parents. He already has taken on the bookkeeping and job-costing functions, jobs his mother was doing.

"For the first time in a long time, we have a strong sales force," Scott says. "It helps me to do more of my [parents'] jobs." In-house staff will take some responsibilities, additional personnel will be hired, and outsourcing will cover others. For example, job costing will be shifted to a secretary, and a newly hired secretary will handle phone responsibilities. Big 8's accounting firm will take the additional responsibility of managing the tax end of the business, Scott says.

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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