Qualified Remodeler Magazine

FEB 2019

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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How did you decide the time was right to start your own company in 2012? I was had been working for another contrac- tor in the area for 10 years and felt I had some ideas of the way I would want a busi- ness to be operated. I also felt if I was going to have the stress of running a business, it would be my own. It also had been a goal of mine to run my own company. What is the focus for your business? My focus this year is an improved system [as far as] how we run from an efficiency point of view. We are trying to improve our pro- cess for better project timelines and better customer experiences. We are also looking at ways to help with employee retention through benefits, etc. Where do you look for solutions and ideas for your business? We attend the JLC Live trade show every year in Rhode Island. I take at least five or six of the team down for two days every year. I read a lot of the trade magazines for sto- ries and articles that go hand-and-hand with what we do. I also have relationships that I have formed with other large remodelers nationally, and I call on them sometimes to bounce questions off [them]. What does being part of NAHB Remodelers mean to you? I feel being associated with a national asso- ciation helps to solidify that we are a profes- sional company with goals and standards, and clients can feel a sense of security with these associations. What motivated you to "raise the bar" with a showroom for your company? In June of 2018 we opened our location in Scarborough, Maine, which has a showroom area or "idea center" for customers. We con- structed the entire building ourselves, so it's a showcase of our work. We teamed up with the manufacturers we recommend and have great displays to help clients visualize. It separates us from "Chuck in the truck" because we have a place where the customer can see and meet with us. We had an open house in October and had a great turnout. Clients love the location. And from a compa- ny side, we now have better communication because we are all here and getting it done for the client. Where and what are the greatest opportunities in the remodeling market? I try to stay focused on the local—that is enough work in itself. The opportunity is limitless. If we continue to create great experiences with our customers and contin- ue to improve our communication through the process, it will be just finding more people to join the team to keep the cus- tomers happy. What is the biggest challenge right now for your business? Finding new people to add to the team. I have joined advisory committees for our local community college with a trades program and an adult education program trying to put together some trade programs. We are also trying to work with some local high schools to promote vocational schools for trades. Can you talk a bit about your involvement with efforts toward the creation of an apprenticeship program in Maine? It's a challenge. There is now a program in place but finding the ways to train these peo- ple are a challenge. We are looking for the right people to show interest and trying to find the best ways to get them trained. We have a long way to go, and it's going to take larger contractors to step up and help with this process. I hope by end of 2019 or early 2020 we have a better plan for this. You also have the sister business Southern Maine Skylight, a five-star Velux installer. How did you decide to expand into that arena and with a manufacturer partner? I have always had a good relationship with Velux because of the quality of their product. When we discussed the 5-star program, it was a nice little niche to get into more homes and meet more clients from a different way. We promote our remodeling business through the skylight business, and they go hand-and-hand. We always try to team up with great vendors. They are business partners, and the client gets a better product and process because of it. Have you seen a change in the types of projects clients are seeking? We have done a lot of kitchen and bath re- models, and one of our goals has been to ex- pand more on the additions, whole-house remodels, dormers, etc. With the new show- room and [through] customer referrals, we are starting to see larger projects. We just completed an addition on the side of an old farmhouse, adding 1,000 square feet includ- ing a kitchen and bath. We have two dormer and master bedroom additions coming up. What motivates you every day? I love the remodeling business. The instant gratification of taking something that is worn and tired and making it beautiful again. Seeking Improvements TRAVIS BLAKE, CR Southern Maine Remodeling, Inc. Scarborough, Maine southernmaineremodeling.com TITLE: President/Owner YEAR COMPANY FOUNDED: 2012 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 16 This year, Travis Blake is focusing on more efficient business processes and better customer experiences. interviewed by Kacey Larsen Photo: Southern Maine Remodeling Southern Maine Remodeling built its own office and showroom so the company could showcase its work. 22 February 2019 QualifiedRemodeler.com NAHB REMODELER OF THE MONTH

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