Dealing with price increases, addressing the dreaded backlog, and preparing for a downturn, were all challenges cited by a panel of home improvement companies who gathered earlier this year. 2021 was another record year for many companies, and Scott Berman, president of Florida Window and Door, said it has caused complacency among many. “All of us have gotten spoiled, and we have to be better,” he told a room full of home improvement contractors, many of whom sell doors and windows. “All of us today think we’re good, and we’re not that good. It’s the environment,” he added.

That environment includes one where suppliers continue to raise prices, and finding labor is a significant roadblock. And there’s one major issue that no one is talking about, Berman says—the backlog.

“You’re going to get to that backlog, and it’s going to cost you money,” he warned those in the room.

He also said consumers will have less money to spend and will require financing. “This will limit our ability to grow,” said Berman. “This all goes back to pricing. If you’re unwilling to raise your price, you’re not going to make money.”

Gordon Fairbanks, owner, Fairbanks Construction in Orlando, continued that financial-related advice, saying a downturn is coming. “Get your financial house in order now,” he said. “The best time to ask the bank for money is when you don’t need it. When you are ready, and your competitors aren’t is when you will gain market share.”

Amy Zimmerman, chief marketing officer at Tundraland, spoke in terms of marketing-related challenges and what changed in 2021. “Thirty percent of our customers came from filling out a form on the Internet,” she said. And on that note, she gave company executives some valuable advice. “Fill out a form on your website and see how long it takes for someone to get back to you,” she said.

The panel discussion was held during the Home Improvement Profitability Summit held in New Orleans and hosted by Dave Yoho Associates.

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