Finding our way in the marketplace
We know that aging in place is huge. It has momentum. It has been embraced as an ideal by nearly every American – and many others around the world. So, how and where do we participate? How do we make a difference? How do we connect with the marketplace?
As we are getting started with our aging in place business, or if we are repurposing, redirecting, or energizing an existing business model, we must evaluate how we want to fit into the market. There are thousands of contractors, builders, subcontractors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, real estate agents, nonprofit organizations, and others who are poised to deliver services to individuals who want to build, remodel, reconfigure, or improve their homes – from one end of the country to the other.
Unless we are a large regional or national concern – or want to become one – our focus must be less than a large geographic area. That’s a good beginning. It helps us focus, it facilitates an efficient delivery of our services, and it allows us to market to those we are prepared to serve.
Crafting a business model
We can’t be all things to all people. It’s impossible. Therefore, we must determine what we like to do, what we really like to do and perform better than most people doing similar work, and where the demand for such services is strong. Along with this, we want to determine how we can make money – not necessarily the most that we can make but a fair return for what we offer. In fact, we might find that we need to position ourselves a little below the top end of the spectrum to attract interest in what we offer. There is a fine line between being the best and charging like we are by being the most expensive in our market.
One trap that is easy to fall into is generality. We tell people that we do remodeling. That covers so much territory – kitchen, baths, entrances, roofing, flooring, lighting, garages, backyard spaces, and more. We must focus – on an area of service, on a reasonably sized job scope, and on our price point for those services.
Whether it’s remodeling, home building, mortgages. or any other service, we might be interested in the entire field, but there is no way we can have the proper focus and expertise for the entire area that we can with a more specific one. If someone were to search for us online for our chief service – the one we really do well and like to do – it should be on the first page of the search results. By taking a more generic approach, we may not have any search results at all – meaning that people won’t find us online.
Not every job needs to be pricey
We may like the simple jobs that we can do for clients in a couple of hours to a half-day. We show up, do the work, get paid, and move on – with the thanks of our client for doing such a good job so quickly. There are so many needs that clients have – for things they can’t do for themselves – that are relatively inexpensive to provide because there are quick to do.
Changing out faucets, toilets, door and cabinet hardware, light switches, or lighting fixtures, installing barn or pocket doors or windows, reversing door swings, and similar items can be done generally in a few hours. This makes for a quick response, a quick result, and the ability to move onto the next job.
Except for the actual materials which are going to the client’s choice, possibly with some recommendations or suggestions from us, the labor costs are going to be kept in check because of the relatively short duration of the engagement. This will make homeowners happy. The cost is reasonable, and the disruption to their daily routines and living space is kept to a minimum.
Determining what we are
As we are getting started anew with our aging in place services business, or rebranding ourselves, let’s take some time to find our way. We may be that company that can find a niche in large 5-figure or low 6-figure projects, but we might do just as well in lower-priced 4-figure projects (and occasionally some 3-figure ones).
The marketplace is wide open, and there is abundant room for all-comers. We just need to do something we enjoy that we are very good at doing and that the client will recognize for the quality we provide and the functional difference it makes in their lives.