At a Glance
As many as 12
Roofing and renovations
All your employees are journeyman carpenters and roofers. How did that get started?
Conrad Heath: When I first started this business, none of my employees had any roofing or building skill to speak of. Clients seemed to find out about my personal abilities in design as well as building. I kept having clients ask me to build this, fix that, do this. [Now] all of my employees are journeyman carpenters. If we have to do an addition on a home, we’re very confident they’ll do a fine job. The nice thing about it is there’s no outside subcontractors on anything. From beginning to end, the work is done in-house.
Your projects are about half roofing, half remodeling?
CH: The last two years it’s been roughly 48 percent remodeling, 52 percent roofing. We know where we’re at to the penny everyday. We belong to a couple of different organizations, and I’m surprised by how few contractors know where they’re at financially. It’s just amazing how they stay in business. We do a full financial every month. We do job tracking, departmentalizing—so we know where it is not profitable [and] so we can stop doing that type of work. If you plan out your jobs, you know your labor and material costs.
What would you say is the cornerstone of your marketing program?
Lynda Heath: Having come from a corporate background, I understand the importance of marketing, especially in challenging times. We have a very, very active marketing program; in fact, we’ve been spotlighted nationally for it. We send out a six-to-eight-page newsletter each month—in print as well as an e-version—to our entire client base. There’s an editorial from Conrad every month in which he discusses personal issues as well as what’s going on with our business. There are also fun features like recipes, a trivia game, Sudoku, and a calendar of local events. We get a large percentage of business off of that on a weekly and monthly basis. We never have to ask the printer when it arrives in the homes because our contest players will race to the phone to win. We give away movie tickets, cruises to Puget Sound, tickets to the local fair, etc. Ninety-five percent of the newsletter is done in this office, so we do it very customized to our clients and their needs. Every month we welcome our customers by name. Started some eight years ago, the newsletter [garnered] a tremendous response from our customers, so we kept doing it. Production of the newsletter is time-consuming and a great responsibility, but it’s lots of fun.
What’s your business philosophy?
LH: As far as our employees are concerned, we hire totally unskilled individuals working in different fields—restaurants, fast food, delivery, etc. We not only give these folks a construction education; we give them opportunity. It works for the employees, us, and our customers. We try to be the Nordstrom of our industry, doing whatever it takes to make it right. This philosophy is maintained whether it’s five minutes following a project’s conclusion or five years. Our employees are long-term, as is our customer base, with more than 50 percent of our work in any given month being repeat business.
And you always throw in a free repair on every job?
CH: Just some small item. We always try to do a bit more than the client expects. We’ll look around for some small concern that perhaps has been on a honey-do list for a long time. For example, a sticky door, a gate on a fence that’s not working properly, or perhaps a leaking faucet. It’s generally an issue we can address relatively quickly and easily. It’s meant to be a nice little touch to say, “Thanks for your business.” ABQ