Someone once said that “these are the times that try men’s souls”. I think we’re living in such a time again. Economic events are such that contractors are switching industries in order to make a living. We’ve felt this shift in the decking/remodeling industry as many contractors in the “new construction” area have migrated over in search of work. But the inherent problem is that new construction contractors aren’t remodelers! So what we’re already seeing are prices being driven down (good for the consumer). But something that is all too predictable is that somewhere down the road, the dirt-cheap work will start to bend, brake, crack and fade…leading the consumers to have to spend even more on replacement (bad for the consumer in the long run).
This is really the driving reason why we’ve done less work than last year. Our marketing has actually improved, but the available work has largely been eaten up by a tsunami of new “remodelers”. And while I can’t blame them for trying to feed their families, I must attempt to educate consumers on what’s going on. Fortunately, due to the good relationship we’ve built with our past customers, we still have some work. I credit the close relationship with them to a couple of things. First, we’ve made a big effort to maintain all originally-built Tailor Decks since the company’s inception back in 1994. And second, we’re prompt with maintenance and/or warranty issues. Our commitment to stay close has meant (in addition to a phone call from time to time), mailers that are sent two to three times a year telling our past customers (or new “inherited” deck owners) what’s going on.
As far as new business, lowering prices to compete with the new contractors is a no-win situation. The truth is that someone else is always willing to go out of business faster than you. So, we at Tailor Decks will not compete when it comes to losing money or building an inferior product. We have the most competitive pricing we’ve ever offered but still have a minimum cost line that we must adhere to (including cost of materials, workers comp, insurance, taxes, etc.). Unfortunately, we’ve have to watch the spectacle of competitors pricing themselves out of the market and consumers “getting what they pay for” from the sidelines. It’s a time of real evaluation for all.