Qualified Remodeler Magazine

MAY 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 choose this career? I started a construction company in 1985 that specialized in building fuel service stations and installing underground tank systems. Around 1999 it was clear that to remain competitive in the business, it would require a large amount of out-of-town work. My employees all had families and did not want extended stays away. So, my foreman Terry Phelps and I decided to start Sierra Design & Construction. How has the remodeling profession changed since you've been involved? I believe more of our local builders are tak- ing on more remodeling projects than ever before. Also, there is a push within our or- ganization to attempt to get unlicensed or nonmember remodelers to join our associa- tion to help the level of professionalism rise. What are the greatest opportunities in the remodeling market? There are unlimited opportunities in our local market for remodelers. Our company solely uses word-of-mouth as the source for leads. If a company presents itself as a reputable and professional contractor, there should be no problem getting jobs. On the ip side, what is the biggest challenge right now to your business? The biggest problem facing remodelers is get- ting subcontractors and personnel. Everyone is busy within our market, and getting a sub ĩĤĩĝĚğĤėĞģĖĩĞĢĚġĮĢĖģģĚħĞĨęĞƄĘĪġĩĒĚ use the same subs on every job and work as ĖĩĚĖĢĒĚĖġĨĤĥĖĮĨĪėĨĞģĖĩĞĢĚġĮĢĖģģĚħ which helps in this relationship. Also, the la- bor force is an issue here—as it is nationally. What is your current focus for business? My primary focus now is properly servicing the incoming calls and leads. This is the bus- iest time of the year as spring is here, and customers are eager to get quotes and ideas for their projects. Your company doesn't have an online presence (company website, Facebook page, etc.). Is that a conscious decision in this "connected" day and age? You are correct about the lack of a web pres- ĚģĘĚĒĚĖħĚĨĤĢĚĬĝĖĩţĤġęĨĘĝĤĤġŤĞģĩĝĞĨ respect. My business partner and I are in our 60s and want to start winding down and en- joying our grandchildren and hobbies more. I realize this is not a good business model and do not recommend not having a web presence in today's market. But there are exceptions, Ėģę ĩĝĚĮ ĝĖīĚ ĨĚħīĚę ĪĨ ĬĚġġ ĒĚ ĝĖīĚ ģĤ problem working with today's younger clients and have had no issues as such. Where do you go to look for solutions and ideas for your business? I work within our local association if I have problems. There is a wealth of knowledge within the membership, and it is amazing how competitors will work with each other on an issue. I also visited the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas this year and saw many new products and ideas. What does being part of NAHB Remodelers mean to you? Being associated with NAHB has propelled our company to a new level of professional- ism. It has kept us abreast of new technology ĖģęĘĤęĚĘĝĖģĜĚĨĩĝĖĩĖŻĚĘĩĪĨ What rst drew you to become a member of your local chapter? I became a member approximately 18 years ago. For several years, I only participated with our local chapter by attending annual meetings and tabletop nights. As a member of the Remodelers Council, I was asked to be chairman. I accepted and eventually ended up on the executive com- mittee and will be president next year. Could you share a bit about the Harbor House kitchen project that you were involved with recently? Harbor House is an organization that provides daycare for approximately 65 participants, mentally challenged adults. Our company was responsible for coordinating the remodeling of an existing, small kitchen; this included demo and the installation of new cabinetry and appliances. Most of the goods and services were donated along with a $10,000 donation from our [association's] Building Industry Charitable Foundation. What is your best career advice? Be honest and treat customers and associates with respect. What motivates you every day? þĤĢĞģĜĞģĩĤĩĝĚĤƄĘĚĖģęěĖĘĞģĜĬĝĖĩĩĝĚ new day brings. I like solving problems and meeting new people. Anything else you'd like to mention about career accomplishments? I honestly think it would be receiving respect from my colleagues—this includes being asked to be on our local governing body and, ultimately, president of our association. 'Old School' Yet Relevant Wirtzberger believes professionalism—within his business and in the local market as a whole—helps drive more sales. compiled by Kacey Larsen Photo: Sierra Design & Construction Bathroom remodels, kitchen projects and covered porches comprise most of the company's workload. DON WIRTZBERGER Sierra Design & Construction Louisville, Ky. TITLE: President YEAR COMPANY FOUNDED: NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 20 May 2019 QualifiedRemodeler.com NAHB REMODELER OF THE MONTH

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