Years ago a trusted friend recommended that I diversify. I was still a carpentry subcontractor at the time. I struggled to grasp the concept. How could I take on a different, but related line of work? What might that line of work be? I was familiar with the old adage that you do new work when the economy is strong and remodeling when things are slow.
It makes sense–right? When builders are building, work is easy to come by; all you need is manpower–a well-trained hard-working crew, youth, vitality and ambition. I had it all. But markets are never static.
Booms come and booms go. The boom I was riding went. Time to look into this working-for-homeowners thing. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one thinking this. Home Improvement had become a thing. HomeTech, however, was ahead of the curve.
Walt Stoeppelwerth had copyrighted his landmark book, “How to Buy and Fix-up an Old House,” in 1984, when I was riding high framing track houses. The housing market crashed in ’88.
I don’t know how many times I had received and ignored that flyer. Eventually, though, I found myself wondering, how do I make this transition? I had laid off my crew. I had bills to pay and there I was contemplating a new career in home improvement. I opened it.
Amazing! A three-day seminar titled, “How to Make Money in the Remodeling Business.” Date: next week. Location: next town over. That was the most efficient use I had, or ever have since, made of my time and/or money. In three days, Walt told me what I needed to know to make enough money to not just make a living, but to get ahead. It was a pretty simple formula: raise your prices.