Three years ago, we featured Stan Ehrlich of Depot Homes in an article that set the tone for this magazine’s mission to educate toward an industry of stable, profitable remodeling companies. Stan talked about how his volume growth strategy almost sunk him because he was trying to do projects that weren’t right for his company.
That situation still exists, and it’s a major problem. We call it "Pretty Picture Syndrome." Projects come along that are so tempting that remodelers see their companies reaping great rewards as they finish these showcase projects. Other remodelers take projects that are larger than they’re used to doing in hopes that project will launch the company to a new level, whether measured by volume or public acclaim.
Many times, this works. Companies will grow, evolve and move up to larger niches. Other times, though, this strategy backfires. We talked with one remodeler who recently took on a bit too much in a project. It ended up beautiful and photogenic, but, we’re told, it was also the largest job they’d ever attempted. They finished it, but not before the project almost finished them. What was estimated at a reasonable profit dropped quickly to zero profit. It was such a large-volume project that that profit loss almost ruined the company. "We learned what we can’t do," the remodeler said.
That’s a tough lesson, and a difficult one to walk away from. But we all need to be reminded of it, it seems. Ehrlich three years ago said, "Running a small business can consume you; running a remodeling business can destroy you." His advice is timeless, and so is the evaluation tool he put together for that first issue. If you need to look hard at your company, use Ehrlich’s worksheet.
Professional Remodeler has been honored by the American Business Press for the third consecutive year with a Jesse H. Neal. In fact, this year we received two: for our feature series on the Model reMODEL projects and for best overall issue. ABP has recognized us in each year of our history, but this year was particularly satisfying. These two awards personify what Professional Remodeler is all about. It’s a team effort, working within an industry.
Our editorial team puts out a product that continually meets standards of excellence that only a dedicated group of people could attain. And our commitment to this industry only succeeds through the continued relationships we’ve built with remodelers, manufacturers, associations and government agencies. We all have a lot to be proud of.