Yesterday, as I prepared for my year-end Livestream video Construction Marketing Ideas presentation (you can register here for free), I listened in on a webinar from David Lupberger co-ordinated by Michael and Devon Stone. Lupberger’s concept is that most remodeling contractors fail to appreciate the potential in developing a pro-active home maintenance program for their clients.
He advocates encouraging clients to buy into a maintenance plan covering all aspects of their home, with a pro-active schedule where the work is done in a planned manner by the contractor, not in a reactive “lowest bid wins the job” call from inbound inquiries.
He has packaged his system into a program which he sells for about $400 (price to rise $200 soon, he says) which includes free consultation and support.
Lupbeger’s idea is intriguing because, if you can successfully implement it in your own business, you will solve many of the problems that plague renovating and remodelling companies. Work flow can be unpredictable and subject to boom and bust cycles. Lupbeger suggests that the current rough economic conditions may continue for some time but that many homeowners — among them former satisfied clients — would see the value in preventative and proactive maintenance, including energy savings and other improvements.
Like most good ideas, the devil is in the details and, if you listen closely, you need some prerequisites for success.
First you need an established base of clients who really are happy to do business with you. Lupbeger suggests you get the program started — and the bugs out of the system — by working with existing (or previous) clients with whom you have a great relationship. You will need this to build the base of testimonials and references for the new service before you can effectively market it to a wider audience.
Second, this initiative will stretch you if you are a sub-trade rather than a general contractor as you will need to be able to offer services in fields outside of your current scope. Lupbeger suggests you partner with someone familiar with general contracting to overcome this challenge.
The other challenge with any “turnkey” program or commitment is of course you need to be ready to buy into the concept and follow it through properly. Lupbeger solves this problem by offering a true unconditional money-back guarantee during the trial run, and he certainly has enough experience to back up his claims.
Lupbeger’s Home Asset Management Plan is essentially a marketing system requiring three appointment stages. He advocates you collect a modest time-recovery fee for the first stage to establish commitment and interest, but this fee not be your true profitable charge-out rate — that level of income occurs after the client is sold on the idea and ready for the ongoing program.
Interestingly, he said the concept could be applied as well in the commercial maintenance market, but he has not directly served or tested it in that area. If you are a contractor or sub-trade wishing to explore an extension from a reactive to a pro-active maintenance/improvement service, however, you may gain some value from the program in setting up your own systems. Similarly, I expect a modified approach may work if you are a sub-contractor wishing to stay closer to your niche without trying to cover all the bases. (Proactive and ongoing service maintainance systems are certainly common in the HVAC and landscaping trades, for example.)
In any initiative, I weigh the risks and rewards. I sense if you are a contractor with at least a few happy clients, this program will be worthwhile for you. If nothing else, you probably will be able to adapt some of Lupbeger’s related forms and systems to your general operations, lowering your stress level and giving you some procedural peace-of-mind. At best, you will achieve a break-through with enhanced economic security.