any painting contractors regard the realm of new home
upgrades as "no man's land" – an inhospitable place that
is best avoided. But Durand O'Meara, president and CEO of
A. DOMCO, Inc., takes the opposite view. For him, new residential
construction is an attractive market segment, where interior paint
upgrades offer great potential for high margins, low business
acquisition cost and steady repeat sales.
To capitalize on this market, O'Meara has married top quality
craftsmanship and state-of-the-art business practices with a
mission statement that strives for "100 percent customer satisfaction."
The formula has proven to be a potent combination, enabling O'Meara
to forge strong, profitable
alliances with quality-conscious home builders in southeastern
Pennsylvania and neighboring Delaware. Today, O'Meara's new
construction department accounts for 22 percent of his firm's
overall sales volume, much of it resulting from interior upgrades in homes.
Founded in 1987 after O'Meara had spent 10 years with another
painting firm, DOMCO was profitable from Day One. O'Meara's business
was always heavily concentrated on conventional interior work. But
it was a pilot program he conducted two years ago that opened his eyes
to the potential in custom interior upgrades for new homes.
"As an experiment, we took on two residential projects. Together, they
generated about $100,000 in paint
quality upgrades," O'Meara recalls. "From that moment on,
I knew I wanted a piece of that market."
A savvy business manager, O'Meara applied his analytical skills
to his new target market. "I outlined the concerns and the
difficulties, trying to see things from the builder's perspective,"
he says. "From my experience, I know builders are fixated on
cash flow, so I have to assure them they would not miss the
settlement date. In the normal course of events, a lot of things
can threaten the settlement – maybe the contractor is not
available to meet with the home buyers, maybe the homeowners
are unable to decide on the color of paint they want. To be
successful, I knew that I had to eliminate those concerns."
O'Meara fashioned a sales presentation to the home builder that