managers are urged to:
· Choose a contractor who is professional, knows how to properly
plan and spec a job and believes in customer service
· Ensure the contractor's organization has adequate size and
expertise for the project
· Be sure the contractor's credit rating and references are strong
· Only use contractors who do good surface preparation and apply
top quality acrylic paints and stains.
"Our pilot program showed that we needed something like this,"
says O'Meara. "Before, we were successful in marketing ourselves,
but it was time-consuming. The video helps sell our company
without me even being there."
DOMCO uses a second video to help sell home buyers on the wisdom of
painting upgrades. And he makes use of printed materials from the
Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute, a source of comprehensive
information on paints and painting. "Education is key for us,"
says O'Meara. "We train and educate our own people to do things
the right way. But we need to have our clients and their
customers appreciate the value of a job well-done. That's why we
offer builders and property managers on site seminars, free
specification software, hourly consultation, and other services...
and, why we pass information along to the home buyer."
To ensure that every account yields an acceptable return, O'Meara
maintains a computer ranking of his builder clients, (26 at the
moment) in terms of their profitability for DOMCO. If any fall
below his gross profit targets, they are given a price increase.
"At that point, one of two things happens," says O'Meara.
"Either the builder moves up the ladder on my computer ranking
or it opens up a slot for a new guy who's banging on the door.
As a businessman, I want every account to be in target. Once
everybody is in target, there is no low man on the totem pole.
We knock ourselves out for every builder we do business with,"
To O'Meara, "knocking themselves out" means striving for 100 percent
customer satisfaction. "We don't consider any job completed
until the customer is satisfied," he says. "That's our target."
Robert Barlow, Jr., president and CEO of C.M. Barlow and associates,
a DOMCO client, says "that's what sets them apart: their procedures
and their willingness to make us happy. Sometimes they go above and
beyond the specifications, which is a plus, while still completing
the project on time."
O'Meara believes that many painting contractors are missing
the boat when it comes to interior upgrades on new homes.
"Judging just from our market area, there's more business to be
had. We are nowhere near the point of saturation," he says.
"There are a lot of people out there who
appreciate quality, who have money and are willing to spend it
once they understand that they're getting good value in return
for their investment. That's what upgrades offer."
Greg Balbirnie of Robert Bruce Development Group, agrees: "Roughly
a third of our home buyers go for the upgrade, and they spend
anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 apiece."
O'Meara believes contractors who avoid the residential upgrade
market lose sight of the fact that this area of specialization
offers strong repeat business. "When you bring a builder on board,
he might deliver $100,000 a year or even more," says O'Meara.
"Over the course of a lifetime, that makes him a several million
dollar contributor. And once a builder is on board, a lot of
negotiation can take place over the telephone; at the point, it's
just a matter of time and material," he says. "That's certainly
more efficient than trying to sell one homeowner at a time."