Source: REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR Magazine
Publication date: November 1, 2004
By Diane Kittower
Home improvement companies seeking big growth have several options to choose from. They can hire additional salespeople, open a branch location, or take on an entirely new product line. An advantage of taking on a new line is that they now have something to sell to past customers. Provided, of course, they maintain a database.
For Brian Elias, the new product is gutter protection. In March, the president of Hanson's Windows and Siding, in Fraser, Mich., started a new division devoted to Gutter Grate, a black nylon product that caps gutters to prevent leaves and debris from clogging them.
“It made money from day one,” he says. With contracts averaging $1,470 apiece, Elias projects $2 million in sales for the first year (“and we are on target,” he says) and $4.5 million for next. That's small compared with the more than $39 million that Hanson's brings in from window and siding sales, but it's a start most home improvement company owners would envy. The division functions separately from the parent company, with 20 salespeople and nine other employees. Only one, a manager, was brought over from the window and siding side.Repeat Customers
Gutter Grate does, however, get a number of leads from Hanson's siding and window business — chiefly, Elias says, by phoning past customers to introduce the product to them.
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