Keeping Your Business Growing During Winter
Winter is here, which typically translates to a slow-down in the remodeling and new-construction markets. However, this doesn't have to mean a slow-down for your business. Here is some good news that will help ensure you're doing more than shoveling snow this winter.
An interest in interest rates:
According to Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard's Joint Center for Housing, this winter may be busier than those in the past.
“Because of downward direction of short-term interest rates (6.5 percent fixed for a 30-year mortgage), home equity loans and lines are cheaper than they have been in a long time. It's an awful lot cheaper for me to finance that home improvement project than it was even two months ago.”
Contractors are also recommending that people take advantage of the rates because overhead costs will probably rise next year – as they have every year. One of those contractors is Mark Richardson, president of Case Design/Remodeling, the largest remodeler in the Washington D.C. area.
“Recent events will almost certainly raise the insurance costs for contractors,” says Richardson. “The result will be increased premiums, which will be passed on to the customers in the form of higher prices.”
Making old things new again:
You don't have to rely on market intangibles to grow your business during the off-season. As good as interest rates are, new home sales are down. Rather than focus on new construction, investigate restoration or remodeling options. Review your files for clients whose homes may be in need of a fix-up.
The benefit of restoration and remodeling is two fold. According to Lou Marnella, of Lou Marnella and Associates International, a restoration company. “By expanding your services to include restoration, you'll increase your customer base, but you'll also be increasing your personal knowledge,” says Marnella. “The restoration process offers more challenging work because it involves a greater skill.”
(For more information on restoration, please visit the feedback section of the Flood Web site and request Flood's series of restoration articles.)
Don't wait for customers to come to you:
With interest rates as low as they are, customers will be banging down your door, right? Not exactly. It's up to you to go out and spread the word!