CENTERVILLE – Owning and operating a business isn’t for the fainthearted, and during a recession it’s downright harrowing! Uncertainty about the future, reduced budgets, and tighter credit have forced most companies to run leaner, work harder and be more creative. Remodeling companies are no exception. People are spending more time at home these days, so they want their surroundings to be more enjoyable. And despite the economy, homeowners want to protect the value of their real estate and make improvements if possible. But most homeowners are forced to painstakingly scrutinize every dollar spent.
Despite the economy, the owners of Remodeling Designs have reason to celebrate. The Centerville/Washington Twp.-based firm again made the Top 500 list of remodeling companies in the U.S., and did so with a Four Star rating, based on a survey published by Qualified Remodeler magazine in the September issue. The Top 500 roster is designed to profile the remodeling industry’s leaders and innovators. “Those remodelers listed in the Top 500 are not typical – they are at the top of their profession,” the article stated. Considering the economy, the list also includes those most determined to stay in business! “You and your team should be proud of this accomplishment,” expressed Patrick O’Toole, editor and publisher of Qualified Remodeler, in an e-mail to Remodeling Designs.
According to Kelly Eggers, co-owner of Remodeling Designs with her husband Erich, “We’re really proud we made the list! I credit the management team as the driving force, especially Karen Dillhoff, our office and production manager. It was a team effort in every way.” But Eggers admitted it wasn’t easy for her company to remain on the list and persevere during these stressful times. “So much of it has to do with your attitude,” she asserted. “Our motto is ‘we refuse to participate in the recession.’ Yes, the times continue to be scary. Yes, our cash flow has been affected. And yes, we temporarily laid-off a few employees. But the right attitude, along with patience, has been essential to us.”
Making the Top 500 list is a notable achievement, especially in a depressed economy. Firms are ranked according to their verified sales volume for the previous year. From one to four stars are earned if a company satisfies qualifications in categories of Association Membership, Employee Certification, Industry Awards and Community Service. The four stars Remodeling Designs achieved placed the company among 10 other Ohio remodelers so designated. A total of 25 Ohio-based companies were in the Top 500 this year, down from 32 last year.
Of course, the recession came at a bad time for everyone. Remodeling Designs was enjoying a record year at the end of 2008, with plenty of projects in the queue for 2009 and a number of promising estimates. But right after the first of the year many clients put their projects on hold, some out of fear of losing their jobs. The sudden slowdown changed everything. The company’s backlog dwindled and anticipated work dissipated. Cutting back was necessary, which included some temporary layoffs. “We operated with fewer project managers, we cut expenses, we worked longer hours and we cut salaries. The hardest part was keeping everyone’s attitudes positive,” declared Kelly. “We knew it was going to get better. That it was only temporary. So we stayed in touch with clients, we kept our heads up and we kept our minds positive,” she added.
Sure enough, in mid-summer their perseverance and positive attitudes paid off! “We went from famine to feast in late July,” described Eggers. She said that one minute they were wondering if more people needed to be laid off and the next minute they were working until 11:00 at night entering estimates. “In four days we signed six new contracts and over a two week period we signed seven design agreements,” she proclaimed.
“There are lessons to be learned from all of this,” Kelly explained. “First, things can change on a dime and you have to be able to react to that. Second, a lot of good can come out of the bad. We found out a lot about ourselves and what we’re made of. We have a staff which is willing to make sacrifices. We realized everyone has the same goals.” All the more reason Remodeling Designs has a good attitude during these adverse times.
Founded in 1990, Remodeling Designs, Inc. is a full service design/build remodeling firm for all types of projects. The company specializes in kitchens, bathrooms, room additions and basements. Among the most respected and award-winning remodeling companies in the Miami Valley, Remodeling Designs is a member of Remodeling Magazine’s “Big 50 Hall of Fame” and consistently ranks as a Top 500 Remodeler according to Qualified Remodeler magazine. It has achieved the National Remodeling Quality Award (the industry’s highest honor for craftsmanship), is a Better Business Bureau Eclipse Integrity Award Winner and consistently wins Contractor of the Year Awards in competition sponsored by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.