Novelty, Ohio’s Exscape Designs built a reputation in the area for providing high-quality design/build work. Owner Bill Dysert says it became apparent to his sales team that the company was being overlooked for smaller enhancements. Dysert says many homeowners in the area just saw the company—which performs residential design/build and maintenance work—as beyond their budgets.
Dysert wanted to position the company so it could capture a more complete spectrum of work, including those smaller jobs.
“It became obvious to us that we had this thriving design/build division and thriving maintenance division. But there was this slice in the middle—enhancements—that we were missing out on,” Dysert says. “I think a lot of it is our brand has reached a point where people assume they can’t afford us. So, we wanted to make it clearer that we don’t only do $100,000-plus jobs. We have two- and three-man project crews that are focused on those smaller jobs.”
Dysert says he learned two very valuable lessons during this process.
Adding Enhancements Lesson #1: Listen to Feedback
Dysert says enhancement work—projects like plant beds, drainage, small patios, walkways or lighting projects, as examples—can be quite profitable. But he wouldn’t have been aware the company was missing out on these opportunities if he wasn’t listening to feedback.
“I was hearing from prospects, our existing customers, and even our team that we had a reputation for only doing high-end design/build work,” Dysert says. “So, there was this slice of projects that we were not completely capitalizing on.”
While Dysert says that huge design/build projects are really exciting to showcase on the website and in marketing materials, in reality the company is only doing three to six of those massive-scale projects each year. That’s why they wanted to be sure they were capitalizing on those smaller jobs, too. That being, the ones that take a week or so as opposed to months.
“In reality, most of the projects that don’t make our website are really our bread and butter—and we don’t want to see a missed opportunity with those smaller jobs,” he adds.
Adding Enhancements Lesson #2: Rethink Your Process
Another snag in the road to securing smaller to mid-sized enhancement work was the company’s process, says Dysert.
“It became apparent that our design/build process was entirely too complex for smaller enhancements. That was also a roadblock to getting more of it,” Dysert says. “These smaller projects do not require a full-blown design with five meetings—as our larger projects would require. We recognized that we had to scale our process back for enhancement work to make it more feasible.”
Consequently, that also made Exscape more affordable for these types of projects, Dysert says. By removing some of the overhead associated with the typical design/build process, it allowed Exscape to stay “value-based for smaller projects.”
Now, when prospects make initial sales calls, Dysert says “we channel them into the appropriate brackets.” Instead of starting each design/build client with the same process, “based on benchmarking and experience, we make a decision early on which process suits their needs best and get things started off on the right foot.”