More than two thousand miles away in the very different market of Roanoke, Va., Billy Webb has similarly high hopes — though on a smaller dollar scale — for a new service he’s launching at Dandy Handymen Remodeling.
“My target market is couples over 40, both of them with jobs and busy lives, and they just don’t want the headaches” of the myriad small projects their homes need, from gutter-cleaning to cabinet adjustments, Webb (right) told us. “You don’t want them going somewhere else” because then they might not come back.
To different degrees, both Allen and Webb have used a new program called HAMP, or the Home Asset Management Plan, to cost-effectively manage, market and prebook (in some cases, more than a year in advance) ongoing small-project work. We’ll be holding a free webinar next Tuesday with David Lupberger, who created HAMP; as of this morning there are still spaces for a limited number of attendees.
What makes a remodeling company a good fit for HAMP? Based on Allen’s and Webb’s experiences, baseline criteria include:
Supportive past clients who would make strong “accounts” for the ongoing work that HAMP supports, and with whom you can test the service before rolling it out more broadly. In Webb’s case, this includes an executive who has spent almost $200,000 with him on relatively small jobs in the last year alone. “When I told her about HAMP, she said ‘Sign me up,’” he said. The service has a monthly fee that he determines based on the home’s square footage.
Detail-oriented staff who genuinely like and work well with clients. “Personnel are the critical thing,” Allen said. “It’s really a service business; it’s paying attention to people” — which is not the same as being a skilled craftsperson. “It’s almost as if you want to start with people who have really good people skills but have an interest and aptitude for construction.”
Highly competent and trustworthy trade partners and community resources are a third requirement, especially if you intend to truly provide a source of one-stop shopping for clients and unless your in-house staff is very large and versatile. “I only use trades I’ve done business with, who fit all my criteria of running good businesses,” Webb said.
In some cases, though, he’s had to branch out beyond his usual circle. His $200,000 client, for instance, wants custom valances for her windows. Fortunately, Webb knows a woman from his church who makes them. And even now, he said, “I’m looking for an energy auditor.” There aren’t many in his market. Yet.
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