Qualified Remodeler Magazine

AUG 2018

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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Pacesetter operated from 1962 to 2005. At its peak in the late 1990s, the company had $135 million in sales and a staff of 2,500. To this day, many in the industry debate the root causes for the company's demise. And Fingles is thinking big: How do you build a firm with systems and processes that are repeatable and can grow to $250 million and beyond, and perhaps ultimately become a national brand? DEVELOPING A NEW PATH In 2017, Nu Look posted much lower sales figures as it implements new compensation plans; new sales pro- cesses; and in 2019, a new brand that will help the company differentiate itself and more accurately reflect a mission, vision and values. is year the company is ranked No. 46 on the Top 500 for $28.5 million in sales from 4,041 jobs. "We started looking at all of the silos of business— sales, marketing, operations, accounting [and] human resources—and we said, 'OK, so what do we really like? If we were building the business from zero and we wanted to build a big long-term scalable business, what we will care about?'" Fingles explains. "Perhaps importantly, we asked, how can we build a sales pitch that's based more on truth and honesty, and both on caring about the employees feeling good about what they are saying and the customers feeling good about what they're saying?" ese changes came along with Nu Look's conversion of most of its 1099 sales and canvassing contractors into W-2 employees, and the addition of 401(k) plans, health insurance and a more streamlined sales compensation plan—salary plus a fixed commission. And if the lead is developed by the salesperson before the sale, they get an additional bump. After initially embracing the changes, many employ- ees left the company over time and, as they left, sales declined. "ey were saying, 'I don't understand why we have to change. Why do we have to change? Why are we changing? We're doing $40 million, why are we changing? Everybody is making money—why are we changing?'" Fingles says. At the same time, Nu Look leadership doubled-down on the process, looking toward the long term. In June of this year, the company outpaced its best month evver and is on pace to exceed its 2016 peak of $42 million. A NEW BRAND AND A NEW NAME e company today is operating as Nu Look, but in March or April of 2019, the company will unveil its new name and new brand, which has been two years in the making. e process of developing a brand was complex. ey interviewed five branding agencies around the country and ended up hiring the well-regarded Warchawski firm, based in New York City. Fingles says the initial meet- ings were eye-opening. e Warchawski team brought them into a conference room filled with advertisements from Nu Look and many of its competitors on the East Coast. e lesson was that everybody looked the same. ere was no differentiation between the company and its competitors. "When they revealed the names of the companies be- hind each advertisement and promotion it was a shock," Fingles says. "'Man, I thought that was our website.' 'Oh man, I thought that was my employment ad,' or 'I thought that was our Facebook post.' I mean it was a total lack of individuality." During the 2017 and 2018 calendar years, Nu Look has been implementing its new processes and procedures. ey report having more success in recruiting, and sales are rising. e company is on the path to reducing turn- over and building a sustainable brand. e new brand is aimed at creating an emotional con- nection to clients and empolyees, says Fingles. Qualified Remodeler will be keeping tabs on its success. And so will many other home improvement firms in the industry. Time will tell how successful they will be in developing a national brand, one that is scalable to $250 million and beyond. | HOME IMPROVEMENT BY THE DATA An overview of the 197 home improvement/ replacement firms on the 2018 QR Top 500 TOTAL REMODELING REVENUE: $3,990,960,424 TOTAL JOBS: 696,773 2018 REVENUE FORECAST: $4,836,490,355 WINDOWS: 32.9% ROOFING: 19.4% SIDING: 14.6% DOORS: 7.4% AVG. SPEND ON MARKETING: 10.04% of revenue TOP LEAD SOURCE: Internet marketing 19.8%, Repeat business 14.4%, Home shows 9.8%, Canvassing 9.1% EMPLOYEES: 18,742 AVG. COST PER LEAD: $358 QualifiedRemodeler.com QR August 2018 35

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