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Storage Specialist
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56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I used to run my own "specialized" home improvement business but stopped to focus on another business providing web and direct marketing services to small businesses. (And for other economic reasons of course...my specialty was a little on the "splurge" side of the business.)

Problem is I miss the home improvement business quite a bit. And I love selling to and working with homeowners. (For some reason, I'm just more comfortable selling to people in their homes than a B2B office setting)

I've been trying to figure out how I can combine my sales/marketing background with my passion for the home improvement industry while still being independent?

I'm wondering if I could hook up with a handful of non-competing home service businesses, do my own marketing, bring in my own leads and make the sales as an independent rep?

Are too many issues with this arrangement (I can think of a few)?

I know this arrangement exists on the commercial side (manufacturers reps?) but not sure if it does/could work on the consumer side.

Any feedback would be appreciated.
 

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Workin' Hard & Havin' Fun
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1,763 Posts
I've considered hiring a PT sales guy.

Good communication, and a knowledge of what you can/cannot sell is key.

For instance, I'd hire someone to sell siding, windows, and some of our deck work- but want to retain the deck design & more detailed deck projects.
As long as you're working with good companies, and you have your act together, I don't see why it wouldn't work...

~Matt
 

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List where you are from and what various trades you have experience and knowledge about so that you could sell effectively and maybe the discussion could get more involved.

Also, you mentioned that you can already think of some issues and so can I, with one being exclusivitey of leads or having multiple contractors bidding on the same scope of work through you.

How would you define the relationship(s) with the contractors involved and what if the price was the main objection?

Would you be too tempted to still make the sale, but now with a lower priced alternate contractor?

Ed
 

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JimmyS
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224 Posts
nope

I like that part too, and would not willingly give up the early stages of the information stream that starts with the first phone call or sales visit. We don't do per-square-foot jobs, but usually fairly involved remodels, additions, and new houses. And our customers are not trying for the cheapest solution usually. So I need more info than a siding or roofing contractor might, who might be satisfied with some photos.
But mainly, I wouldn't give up the control your proposal would take away, pure and simple. Others may well like the idea, of course.
Jim
 

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Storage Specialist
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56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My idea is to work with only one company for each trade. Have a relationship with a handful of guys who don't compete...say one roofer, a window guy, a deck guy, a cabinet company, etc.

So I would have that one business's best interest in mind and I would never be comfortable selling competing service unless the product offerings were unique or different enough. Even then probably not...

One of the problems I see is where do I hand it off. A good sales person is there through the process and for followup.

A lot to think about here...I like the idea but there are definitely some sticky points.
 

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Storage Specialist
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56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I like that part too, and would not willingly give up the early stages of the information stream that starts with the first phone call or sales visit. We don't do per-square-foot jobs, but usually fairly involved remodels, additions, and new houses. And our customers are not trying for the cheapest solution usually. So I need more info than a siding or roofing contractor might, who might be satisfied with some photos.
But mainly, I wouldn't give up the control your proposal would take away, pure and simple. Others may well like the idea, of course.
Jim
So maybe it has to be more for the smaller guys who, like you said, only focus on one aspect of home improvement.

I hear what you're saying and that's the same issue I think I'd have.

I definitely wouldn't want to sell on price and don't believe in it. But for a sales guy to start that process on a big job...you're right. Probably wouldn't work.

What really got me thinking about this a bit more is I'm STRUGGLING to get some estimates and advice on insulating my house. I filled out 5 online forms and 1 person called me back. But he never showed up to the appointment.

Just a good example of having lead generation setup that isn't working for whatever reason.

So the one guy who showed up didn't give me any information and just wanted to measure and move on. Then I called to ask for some explanations on the details and never got a call back from the guy.

That's where I started thinking I could help these companies who know how to do the work but suck at getting it in the door.

But I don't want to just do the lead part and building the lead gen takes time and money that a lot of smaller contractors won't invest. Doing it all myself and even making the sale just seems like it's something that is needed. Especially for skilled guys who just want to do the work part and hate "selling."
 

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I don't see where you would want to go with this.

If you are going to generate the leads and go out and sell the leads, why would you turn it over to another contractor?

Couldn't you just sub out the work to someone in your network and be a paper GC?



Plus, you didn't answer my questions from my previous post yet.



Ed



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Storage Specialist
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56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't see where you would want to go with this.

If you are going to generate the leads and go out and sell the leads, why would you turn it over to another contractor?

Couldn't you just sub out the work to someone in your network and be a paper GC?



Plus, you didn't answer my questions from my previous post yet.



Ed



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You mean the question about where I am/what I know? I just didn't want to come across as looking for something more than some ideas.

I'm in northeastern CT (just below central MA) and had a custom storage business (doing closets, shelving, and cabinets). I enjoyed that biz quite a bit but the installs sucked. And of course the economy wasn't kind to fancy closet work.

I've built decks, remodeled basements, some exterior work (one roof...all set with that)...recently took classes on exterior and interior finishes, worked for a construction company, and remodeled two homes I sold.

Being a GC is just another ball game, no? Maybe I'm just scared of it, to be honest.

Maybe I'm thinking more of a local referral biz of some sort? I just don't want to be one of those lead gen whores out there. Plus I gotta get off this computer!

I did see an add on craigslist for a home improvement salesman. It said $90 K- $250K "potential" which I find hard to believe. But again, I don't think I want to be someone's employee as much as partnering.

Thanks for helping me think this one out.
 
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