News & Press
Business West Magazine - Business Is Improving
But Consumer Caution Still Challenges Home-remodeling Specialists
An article in Business West Magazine, June 22, 2009 edition, discusses today’s economy and the impact on homeowners decisions to scale back or delay remodeling projects as well as the impact on business owners specializing in outdoor and indoor improvements.
Cathy Hartley, Marketing and Sales Support, for Hartley Bros. Landscaping, Inc. in Westfield, MA interviewed for the article explains:
“We’re not doing as much work on new construction, as I’m sure everyone else is finding, but people still want to invest in their property,” said Cathy Hartley, marketing and sales support for Hartley Bros. Landscaping in Westfield, which upgrades both outdoor and indoor spaces. “One fellow chuckled when he told me, ‘I don’t feel safe putting money into the stock market the way things are now, so I might as well put it into my house.’
“Even if you’re unsure of the market these days and you’re hesitant to commit to building or buying a new house,” she continued, “people are taking their existing house and updating it, whether that’s renovating a bathroom, adding a bedroom, building out a basement, turning unused space into a bonus room, or adding that deck or patio to give themselves some outdoor living space.”
“Pool installations have tapered off a little bit, but people are still doing pools and creating space around it, like dining areas, outdoor kitchens — space where you can relax and entertain people,” Hartley said.
Added Hartley, “as a homeowner, you can justify spending more on a home you’re planning to stay in. Maybe you use higher-end materials, or marble that’s more expensive because that’s what you want. If you’re planning on a quick turnaround to resell it, maybe you won’t be too extravagant, but, of course, it depends on what someone’s circumstances are.”
“Right now, price is the biggest obstacle to be overcome,” Hartley said. “You have to be creative to find ways to meet clients’ needs and their budget. If they’re not going to sell it, sometimes that means scaling the project back or doing it in phases. Or you give them the option of using different materials. People are still spending money on their homes, but they’re not throwing money at their homes; they’re being sensitive and cautious.”
That said, Hartley noted that the number of potential customers seeking quotes on indoor and outdoor improvements is down over the past year, but those who do come knocking tend to be serious buyers who have done their homework, know what they want and at what price, and know something about the company, or were referred by a friend.
In fact, that word of mouth is crucial in these times, she said. “If you take care of people, they’ll tell their friends, co-workers, and neighbors, and that’s ultimately the best way to increase business.”
To read the complete article by Joseph Bednar, visit www.BusinessWest.com