A. Domco Inc
When Quality Investment Counts
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."
Profitability Check
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," he continues.
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."
Growth Potential
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."
John Stauffer is technical director of the Paint Quality Institute, www.paintquality.com .
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