Six months ago, people were buying energy-efficient cars like they were going out of style. Now they actually have gone out of style, and gas-guzzling SUV sales are on the rise again. And when the price of gas makes its annual summer increase in a couple of months, the Prius will likely be in vogue. In the fall, when the price of gas comes back down, Escalades and Navigators will sell like hotcakes.
What does this say about the American consumer? Seems to me they’re fickle windsocks, swayed by the evening news and the balance in their checking account.
Which makes it pretty darn difficult to establish a brand as a green remodeler, especially in today’s economy. Most of you are finding that it’s tougher to sell any remodeling projects in this economy. But when it comes to green, it’s even more difficult because many consumers are under the impression that a green remodel costs much more than a “standard” remodel.
Even Dennis Allen (see Green Remodeling) and Tom Kelly (see The Market), two of our industry’s most established and well-branded green remodelers, are finding it difficult to sell green in this economy. And they operate in markets that embrace green like few others in the country.
Price has once again become the main driver on all of Mr. and Mrs. America’s buying decisions, and that includes remodeling. So even though most Americans still believe that global warming is a valid issue, that our carbon footprints are worth reducing and that living in a green home is a worthwhile cause, they’re not going to pay through the nose for it.
As we found in this month’s cover story, the biggest differentiator green provides a remodeling firm right now is the energy-efficiency story. But that’s only if you can convince the client that the payback time is worth the wait.
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