Every year, Professional Remodeler’s ranking of the Market Leaders is eagerly awaited by the remodeling industry. However, this time we’re celebrating a new beginning in the way the contest
In the past, winners were rated solely by revenue. And while this is an important method of assessing a company’s value, it’s far from the only one. We believe that for the award to have real meaning, it should contain a number of different yardsticks. After all, just because a firm has the most revenue doesn’t make it the best. Our new criteria will be a more relevant indicator of quality as well as provide better marketing opportunities for winners.
This year, Professional Remodeler honors nine remodelers as Market Leaders. Winners are awarded in one of five categories, and each category has a Western Regional Winner and an Eastern Regional Winner.
The categories are:
- Business Excellence
- Customer Satisfaction
- Technology Solutions
- Fine Design
- Sustainable Design & Construction
Taken together, these companies are a powerful sampling of what makes the remodeling industry great.
Photo: Krag Sichelstiel
Like Family: Do the right things, and Clients will keep coming back
Although Winthorpe Design & Build has every modern system in place, Scott Szeliga can almost keep track of customers just by counting his many holiday greetings. Homeowners from 20 years ago are still sending Christmas cards and photos to the company that treats them like family.
On a snowy winter day, Winthorpe’s crew could be shoveling an elderly client’s driveway, carrying in groceries for another client, or letting out the dogs for a third. The company’s design/build projects last anywhere from four months to, in one case, two years so the team gets pretty cozy with the homeowners. Getting to know clients’ likes and dislikes and their daily routines builds trust and makes the remodeling process as painless as possible.
Relationship-building starts immediately with Szeliga listening more than talking during initial client meetings. There’s a lot of hand-holding, and Szeliga and his designer have the ability to gently steer clients in the right direction when it comes to aesthetics. During the project, there are weekly meetings at the client’s home or via Skype, and customers have access to the schedule online. Clients have relayed to Szeliga how easy it is to work with the company and how well the staff listened to them.
Winthorpe raises clients’ confidence by being quick to acknowledge errors and attack them head on. Bad news is delivered without delay and clients are told the solution that’s forthcoming.
Every job concludes with a two-page audit mailed to the client, who then has the opportunity to make comments on everything from Winthorpe’s actions on the first call to the design/build process and punch list. Six months later Winthorpe returns to make sure things have gone the way the client expected, and six months after that the company sends another survey. The response rate on Winthorpe’s customer satisfaction surveys is 100 percent.
Even long after projects are completed, the relationship continues with the company ready to answer service calls that might be as small as replacing a filter on a refrigerator. Szeliga is proud that clients look to the company as their “one source.”
- Winthorpe uses SolidBuilder design software by Digital Canal to give clients a vision of their projects. Customers come to the office and see their projects on the big screen; they can view 3-D renderings and walk through and look at the design from every angle.
- Clients have access to a hidden Pinterest board where they can store photos and share ideas with Winthorpe designers who also pin to the board.
- Referrals are a large part of Winthorpe’s business and kept the company solvent during the downturn.