Posted by: Amy Cafazzo, Studio A Marketing, and PR Committee Member
As remodeling experts, you are more aware of changes in building material costs than the average homeowner. Even though lumber prices and material delays have made the news, it’s really not until a homeowner starts getting quotes for their own project that they realize costs have risen significantly. “Sticker shock” has become more of an issue than ever and was part of the Boston Globe’s recent story on what to expect during the spring remodeling season.
We talked to several EM NARI members about how they’re handling the price increases when they’re talking to potential clients.
GALLAGHER REMODELING – Roger Gallagher: “Educate and sell value.”
“Education has always been the first step with clients, in any remodeling market,” says Roger Gallagher, “and recently that includes a conversation about lumber prices and lead times.” It is important for clients to be informed, and to make informed choices. Gallagher Remodeling recently sent information to their client database about increased costs and the need to plan ahead. It explained about lumber prices increasing by 56 percent over the past year due to tariffs and the impact of Covid on lumber mills, causing them to close or reduce production.
Gallagher Remodeling offers a comprehensive remodeling service that includes all aspects of design and all the labor and trades needed for complete and well-managed projects. Lumber pricing is a small part of the overall picture. “We want the client to be excited about finding the right solution for their home and lifestyle, to have a great experience while undergoing the design and construction, and to understand how the finished project will change their lives.”
CUSTOM CONTRACTING – Bill Farnsworth: “Remodeling is an investment in the current enjoyment of your home and future real estate returns.”
Custom Contracting’s Bill Farnsworth says their Arlington office has seen a big increase in project inquiries over the last two months. “We’re finding that homeowners have spent so much time in their homes over the last year with parents working and kids doing remote school, that they’re are looking for any possible way to add square footage to their homes including additions, attic/basement finishing, or even converting a porch to livable space.”
“So while we’re having to explain to homeowners that material prices have increased, they also understand that the real estate market is so hot right now that a home remodel is an excellent investment.“
STEVEWORKS – Steve Greenberg: “It’s the perfect time to focus on sustainable remodeling.”
Meanwhile, over in Newton, Steve Greenberg, of steveworks, is adding an environmental and sustainability twist to his education efforts. “Sustainable remodeling has always been our focus. So, in addition to educating potential clients about increases in lumber prices or delays in HVAC materials or appliances, we want to make sure clients are choosing the RIGHT materials for their home remodels.”
Steve notes that environmental awareness has become a hot-button issue in recent years. “We want homeowners to consider things like the carbon footprint of their remodel, the benefits of electric over gas, and where their wood flooring is sourced.” The Covid crisis has also brought interior environmental needs to the forefront of discussions. “We’re talking to clients about fresh air circulation, Energy Recovery Ventilation units, and the importance of replacing gas-burning appliances.”
Marketing Tips – Amy Cafazzo, Studio A Marketing
From a marketing perspective, continuous outreach to BOTH current and prospective clients is key. “With a remodeling market this busy, some remodelers may choose to forgo marketing efforts, but that’s a mistake,” says Amy Cafazzo. “Long-term success is bolstered by consistent outreach to homeowners. I always recommend reaching out to past and potential clients on a regular basis to keep your business top of mind. Newsletters, email campaigns, postcards, letters, and social media can all be part of the mix. Finding the right combination to reach your client base ensures that there are always leads in the pipeline.”