How We Built Our Business
Recently published in the NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) national newsletter and posted to their blog, Kayla Van Lydegraf, VP of Marketing and future heir to the family business shares some inside perspective on how Dale’s Remodeling grew into the reputable business it is today.
Dale’s Remodeling holds much more meaning to our family than just a way to earn a living, it is a family legacy born from a request my grandparents had of my father, and one that he is now sharing with me.
Thirty-six years ago, after returning from a stint in the U.S. Army, my grandparents asked my father, Dale Van Lydegraf, to design and build them a custom A-frame retirement home along the N. Santiam River in Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley. “You can figure it out,” they said. As the project came together, word spread and he was soon asked to turn his experience on this single project into a business. Nearly four decades later he is sharing his knowledge and experience with me, allowing me to take the reins on the company he built as we turn the page on a new chapter of Dale’s Remodeling.
Prior to working with my father I pursued a career in cosmetology, but soon found that my passion lay elsewhere. I joined my dad’s team and began working literally from the ground up, with my first position being that of staff assistant and cleaning the office. During this time I discovered that I truly loved the atmosphere, working with clients and learning about the industry that I’d been watching my father work in throughout my life. As I gained more responsibility I created a new position in the company: VP of Marketing, and it was here that I found the passion I’d been seeking.
When Dale’s Remodeling first opened my father would pass his business card out while promising three things: “We will be on time. We will be on budget. We will provide a great experience.” To this day, our best advertising continues to be word-of-mouth referrals. By cultivating friendships with our clients and operating with clear, open communication, we provide a great experience to go along with a beautifully finished project, and for that they are happy to share their stories of Dale’s commitment to service and expertise with their friends.
When it was time to grow the business traditional methods of advertising came into play, with mailers, printed ads and sponsorship opportunities. Now, we’re expanding into the realm of social media and the Internet to reach the growing number of DIY clients we see each year. We believe that by making a connection with people through these new platforms, we will establish partnerships with them prior to their even walking through our door.
I back this marketing strategy up through my involvement with industry associations like NARI, and by studying the remodeling business from every angle, along with continually learning from Dale. Everyday I benefit from his knowledge and experience, which has taught me:
- It is always wise to make the best first impression possible, beginning with a firm handshake that tells people you are passionate and confident in what you do.
- I’ve also learned to listen 70% of the time and speak 30%, and to give myself a day or two to make tough decisions.
- Dad’s philosophy of “If you’re not falling, you’re not learning” kept his attitude positive through the down economy so he could push through to more prosperous years.
With these lessons in my tool belt, I know I am setting myself up to continue Dale’s Remodeling’s reputation for good business as we grow in the new millenium.
Our relationship with NARI has been a very valuable source of information and our NARI accreditation proves we are invested in the growth of the industry and committed to gaining more knowledge in all areas of our business. Being part of a larger group of remodeling insiders allows our company to voice our political support at the highest levels of government on agendas that stimulate the economy and legislation that affects our industry.
Our staff has always been our most valuable asset. By investing in skilled, reliable, honest employees who share our passion for innovative remodeling solutions we retain a loyal customer base that allows us to continually grow and prosper. Their personal contact with our clients is the most important part of our business. It’s where the personality of Dale’s Remodeling shines through.
My role at Dale’s Remodeling continues to change and taking on the challenges that come with it is as fun as it is rewarding. Positioning our business to be a prominent player on the Internet is something that I strive to do well, whether it be through social media, publications, showcasing our work on sites like Houzz or making those critical connections that allow us to grow our business in new ways. With the steady stream of innovative products that are being released into the marketplace, we are constantly broadening our view on how we can fulfill our clients’ wishes and provide them with a better outcome with their remodeling project than they could have imagined. And, with the experience of my father to lean on, a team of qualified, enthusiastic craftspeople and a loyal client base, I look forward to my role as leader of the next generation of Dale’s Remodeling.