An ongoing photo discussion here made me think to get some conversation rolling about a side topic that came up. Business as most of us knew it has nearly dried up, going back some time. So-Cal, Florida, Nevada and other areas were hardest hit, but the same has been felt everywhere. I certainly have my ideas about how to move ahead, but let's share some thoughts on the subject here, if you don't mind...

For many years, most of us found a seemingly unending source of work, from many directions. Builders, remodelers, flippers, everyone was on fire, and work seemed to everywhere. People who did horrible work and shouldn't have had ANY business were busy here.

Maybe it was my imagination, but years ago I felt that my main market, the homeowner, took a hit due to the wild housing boom. Many of my customers admitted to holding off on projects because they felt drawn to upgrade homes while it was so good and easy. I actually started doing a little new construction work back then to keep busy. That is no longer an option, as you know.

Like I said, I have some ideas on this subject that seem to be working well. I wish I could say it's due to my brilliance, but it's more a matter of observation and asking questions about the observations. If there is interest in this topic, I will share more. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

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If have a few thoughts....I have seen the Chicago markets do the exact same thing...It hasn't really effected me and what I do but most others have been effected.  Its been two years now but I am hearing about some of these people really getting busy...as I am as well.

 

I think people clammed up and didn't spend any  money due to the uncertainty of things but as they did this they "put on hold" many projects that they wanted done.  Two years later the wives of these people have kept the pressure on these special projects and the husbands are at there breaking point ... LOL  Of course I'm just having fun right now with this but I think there are some truths to the mentality.   People put all their dreams on hold and now they want the economy to bounce back....consumers drive the market and I am seeing it come back.   I also think the consumer is being acclimated to this new environment of uncertainty and relaxing their grip on the pocket books.

as i do most of my "bread and butter" work in the remodeling feild i can honestly say i have seen a large decrease in work the last 3 or so years with buiss picking up about the last 12 months. however i have always stayed at the very least steady in work with most being repeat customers and referals. i do however also make custom furniture and themed rooms and man caves etc and this is one area that has gone way down and has not recovered as well as remodeling in general has. with all this said i come to the conclusion that for the most part the pocket books are opening but with a bit of reserve for the more extravagant ideas and remodeling. on a side note i see an increase in commercial work also with about half being on the more custom end of things! all in all i cant complain (its not my nature any way!) i have work and continue to get work now i need some brilliant ideas to get these customers to go the extra yard and do some really cool stuff with what they have!! also i am in the lee county area at one time we were the hardest hit area of the housing bubble boom not just in the state of florida but the country! its still bad but its comin along faster than i expected. now about those ideas.......
Well I love hearing the comments. I think at least in my area ,equity in peoples homes were up like 100% after Hurricane Charlie. Money was as plentiful as work. When every thing settled down most homes have depreciated to be less than it was worth before all this started  yet their mortgage dosen't reflect that.  Lots are just walking away, some are hanging in there but not happily but there is a slow movement in foreclosure remodels and we have a water park coming to a town nearby so I have been working on some stuff for that. But overall it's not good. And not much to offer to bring people back.
i hear and feel yah!! im fortunate that i have been able to hook up with many wealthy buiss owners and make them happy and get there continued work and referrals. about 25% of my work right now is foreclosure fixups and theres no way i would call what i do with those homes remodel but its work and it pays ok so...... but yeah many many people that i know that were all about doin all kinds of cool stuff with there homes now do not even own homes!
I think we are all in the same boat one way or another. The good news is, I think people are loosening the wallets and spending without as much fear these days. It seems as if they are investing in their own homes and cutting back on elaborate vacations. The majority of our suppliers are very busy and optimistic about the upcoming year. Hopefully it will be nationwide for everyone. Good luck with the upcoming year and years to come everyone.

It seems like most of us see things pretty similar. I recently had an interesting conversation with a customer who is just now deciding to have some very large projects done. They have been talking about it for about two years, but kept holding back because of the uncertainty. Since the decision to do something right now was so abrupt, I asked them point blank if they feel the economy is better now. They laughed and said "No way." So I asked them why they are wanting to do so much right now. Their answer was very interesting. They had cut way back on their spending habits for two years. Cancelled big vacations, cut out dining out, etc. They worked on paying down debt and building savings. They did these things even though they weren't forced to. Now they've got the itch to spend, and are in a better position to do so. But there is another reason.

 

They are aware that their home is worth less than what they owe on it. They have a vested interest in their homes that goes beyond appraised value. They have careers here, and family and community ties here. Their home was never really about the investment, it was about a place for family and friends. Now, after a brief bout of nervousness, they are ready to make their houses more of a home.

 

Most of my customers have told me they will never go back to their old spending habits, but all of them said they are more likely to spend more money on the kinds of things I can do for them. Custom work that makes them more happy to be at home.

 

How do we go about finding more of these kinds of customers?

That is a good question. It is always nice working for one customer doing several large projects. Finding those customers is always the challenge.

Great topic, I hope more people get involved with the conversation.
I'll chime back in after the Holiday. Have a good holiday everyone.

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