Category Archives: Associates Corner

Marketing tips from the experts… your peers!

At the June 15th PRO lunch, hosted by EleMar Oregon, we had the rare and precious opportunity to hear from not one, or even two, but over 60 experts on the subject of small business marketing.  Are you curious as to how we were able to coordinate and compile so many experts for one day?  Simple, we just invited the members of the Professional Remodelers Organization to lunch!

It’s an easy trap to fall into, when faced with so many options for activities, seminars, continuing education classes, etc., to lose track of the greatest resource provided by the PRO… the combined experience, expertise, and insight of our over 225 members.  In a group of that size, it’s safe to say that most questions could be answered with a thoughtful and informed response, and someone has probably tried it, whatever it is, at least once, and can tell you why they would, or wouldn’t, do it again!  So this month we took a moment to tap that wellspring of experience and talk about what we can do to market our businesses.  Some of the ideas seemed simple, but all of them were things that we can easily lose sight of as our pace and/or workload increases.

  • Everyday Good Practices
    • Create Alliances and Maintain Contacts
      • Build win-win relationship with your contractors, suppliers and vendors though camaraderie and incentives
      • Stay in touch with people in your industry.  Know what they’re up to.  Their next big project could carry you with them.
      • Leads from Lenders – find out who’s really ready to get started.
    • Networking
      • Membership & Engagement in Trade Organizations
      • Diversify your efforts – join multiple network building organizations
    • Let everyone know what you do – ALL of what you do!
      • Your neighbors might know you’re a remodeler, but may not think to call you for that new deck they’re building.
    • Competition & Award Entries
      • Leverage your awards by promoting them on your website, in newsletters, blogs, social media, and email signatures.
    • Branding
      • Consistent messaging & Logo use is a must for brand recognition
    • Know your product and your customer
    • Continuing Education Courses
      • Increase your value and skill set with continuing education and advanced certifications
    • Goal:  How often can you get your name in front of your customer?
      • Quarterly Newsletter
      • Door Hangers
        • Place locally to your job locations.
      • Job signs at your construction sites
    • Hard Cover Portfolios
      • Order them online for an inexpensive but professional look for your business in place of a notebook.
  • Bang for the Buck
    • Home Shows
      • You’ll find a more targeted audience, despite the smaller numbers
    • Subscribe to Industry Publications
      • Weekly Construction Monitor
      • Commercial/Residential Bid Reports
    • Tour of Remodeled Homes – Find a way to display your work to the public.
    • Use your local newspapers
    • Bus ‘Butt’ Advertising Banners
    • TV
      • Targeted Ads, use the video’s for web and blog content
      • Many found TV & Radio to be unsuccessful  – it’s all about timing and target audience
    • Ask HOW people found you to determine the best use of your dollars.
  • In this Day and Age
    • Website
      • Make sure your contact information is easily accessible.
    • Social Media
      • Twitter, Facebook, Blogs – stay in touch and keep yourself in the front of your customer’s minds.
    • Blog
      • write what you know, who you are.
    • YouTube
      •  build your own channel to highlight your work, show interviews & customer testimonies.
    • Increase your Google presence
    • Use QR Codes
  • Old School, Tried and True
    • Referrals and Testimonials
      • Perform Quality Work
        • Consistent, quality work will keep the referrals coming
      • Offer referral incentives
      • Always ask for testimonials from clients, vendors, suppliers
      • Give referrals and testimonials – more exposure for you too!
      • Use ‘Thank You’ gifts, surveys, and newsletters to stay engaged with past customers.
    • Hand-written thank you notes
    • Cold Calls and Follow up calls
  • Ready for some help?
    • Contract Marketing consultants or firms
      • Set clear goals up front for what you hope to accomplish
      • Define measurable and achievable deliverables and timeline
      • Find one through a reputable referral or trade organization resource… like the HBA PRO website.

Save the Date: The PRO Expo presented by Pella

Bradlee Holiday Open House

Franke PEAK Event at Bradlee Distributors

Upsell Customers and Improve Energy Performance

Are you looking for ways to upsell your customers on improving their energy performance and comfort?  Home Certified would like to help out by providing the following tools.

  • Flir infrared camera
  • Blower door
  • Building Performance Institute trained personnel
  • Experience in identifying and providing solutions.

For more information contact Kelly Stelk at

Bradlee Open House

Congratulations, Theresa Springer Outstanding Associate Member CADRE Award Winner

Theresa Springer was recently honored with the 2009 Council Award for Demonstrating Remodeling Excellence for Outstanding Associate Member. The awards—known in the industry as the CADREs—were announced during NAHB Remodelers annual Gala at the 2009 Remodeling Show in Indianapolis. Winners in eight categories were honored for outstanding contributions and performance at the local council level.

Jarred Roy, from the Pella Corporation, with NAHB Remodelers Greg Miedema, CGR, CGB, CAPS, CGP, a remodeler from Tucson, Ariz., presented the awards from NAHB Remodelers.

Roy applauded Springer for “helping to promote remodelers, support professional development, and grow leadership at the local council.”

Theresa Springer, CGA, joined the Professional Remodelers at the HBA of Metro Portland in 2004 and has become a vital leader while representing the Pacific Residential Mortgage company. She actively participates in a long list of committee meetings, at luncheons, and at other events. Theresa has been working in home lending for more than 20 years and knows firsthand the challenges remodelers are experiencing with financing projects. She actively promotes council members to consumers through seminars and supporting website improvements.

The CADRE Awards, judged by members of NAHB Remodelers’ Board of Trustees, are presented each year to local Remodelers Councils and individuals whose work at the local council level exemplifies the best practices of the remodeling industry. The CADRE is the NAHB Remodelers highest national award for work at the local level.

Miedema added, “Local NAHB Remodelers Councils across the nation nurture excellence in professional remodelers with programs, education, and leadership development. The CADRE awards celebrate their achievements and raise the bar for local excellence.”

King of the Grill: Evo flattop appliance

I recently stopped by the Ferguson’s showroom on NW 18th in Portland (which is awsome you should totally check it out) and saw a cooking demonstration of the Evo cooktop.  With summer upon us this would be a great alternative to the traditional outdoor grill for outdoor living spaces.  Plus, they have indoor and tabletop versions so the good times can last all year long.  Read the excerpt below then jump over to their website or walk into Ferguson, BASCO or the NW Natural Appliance Center to learn more.


From Evo Website:

Certain cooking styles (more than others) reveal the wonderful flavor potential of foods- particularly steak, seafood, and vegetables. With Evo’s circular flattop cooking surface you have the ability to sear, sauté, braise, boil, roast, steam, stir-fry, bake, poach, toast, fry and grill. Similar to traditional cast-iron pan cooking techniques, Evo’s large and versatile cooking surface lets you cook foods while highlighting the natural wonderful caramelized flavors of food.

Evo’s cook surface gives you ample room to cook whole pieces of meat or fish. Professional chefs know that sear cooking with high heat caramelizes the natural carbohydrates of food, turning them into flavorful, natural sugars. The contrast in taste between the seared outside crust and the interior makes food more interesting and fun to eat.

Evo’s cook surface also protects food from the negative effects of charring, which is a familiar problem with open-flame barbeque grills. Burning and charring of food is not the same as searing and caramelization. With an open-flame grill, the leaping flames and pulsating heat cause proteins to repetitively contract and relax, expelling natural, flavorful juices. Cooking foods on Evo’s solid plate cooking surface eliminates any chance of food coming into contact with a direct open flame, so you can cook moist, tender meats and poultry without the burn and char.

Additionally, the design of Evo’s cooking surface has a slightly crowned shape that allows cooking juices and liquids to flow from the center to the outside edge and into the drip tray below. This allows you to keep foods separated across the cook surface, and if you’re cooking several things at one time, it also allows you maintain the distinct flavor of each item being cooked. Unlike open-flame grated grills that allow cooking juices to smolder and smoke everything with a universal charred taste, Evo lets food cook in its own juices and provides wonderful natural aroma that enhances the taste experience.

20 Questions With Angela Todd

AngelaAngela Todd’s vibrant red hair, impeccable taste in clothing, Midwestern drawl and perky personality make her as unique and memorable as the rooms she styles.

This professional designer has deep roots in all things artistic and has a passion for life and beautiful spaces. Consequently, in 2006 she started Angela Todd Designs, a full-service design firm dedicated to incorporating clients’ personal style and treasures into their spaces.

While relatively new to the HBA, Todd’s made the most of her year with the association by joining the Professional Remodelers Organization, PRO Marketing Committee, PRO Steering Committee and the Communications Committee and helping out at the Ultimate Open House by staging and styling homes with the Interior Design Society of Portland, where she serves as Vice President Elect. She’s a consistent fixture at HBA events and is quick to flash a smile, tell a joke and leave you feeling more upbeat about the world in no time flat, making her a welcome addition to any group she joins.

A regular contributor on KXL’s Around the House with Handyman Bob during her segment, “The Design Angle,” Angela is also a regular blogger on her site and guest blogger for the Interior Design Society of Portland, Home Gain, and The Society of Decorating Professionals.

In her free time, Todd enjoys weekends in wine country and on Oregon coast, spending time on the water and in her garden, and relaxing with those she loves. Her pride and joy are her two darling dogs, a golden retriever named Kashmir and a sheltie named Sadie Sue.

Business Basics

Education: I got my bachelor’s from the University of Minnesota and then attended a private design school.

How’d You Get Started: I started my career in marketing and sales. It was a great foundation for running a successful business. When I stopped liking what I did for a living, I knew it was time to follow my dream of designing interiors.

Secrets to Success: As a designer, I listen first and then speak. As a business partner, I work to connect people and share opportunities.

Measuring Success: I measure success by my personal happiness.  To me, being happy is the secret to success in all of life.

Business Mentors or Heroes: I love my mentors – so many have influenced me! My father is a great entrepreneur and taught me the value of building strong relationships with people and business partners. I also have great respect for successful business women like Brandy Marsh from Area Floors who is a great partner and coach for me.  Additionally, I have learned tons from the remodelers and builders I work with, including Mitch and Arlene Stanley from Stanley Home Renovation and Design.

Making the Call

Business Decision You’re Most Proud Of: Giving up my “golden handcuffs” and finding the courage to go back to school and start my own design business.

One You’d Like to Have Back:  When I first started my business, I spent most of my time in leads groups. After about a year of weekly meetings and passing many referrals, I realized nothing was back coming to me. After that I started focusing my networking to homogeneous groups like the HBA. It has made a huge difference in growing my business.

Principals I Use For Big Decisions: Do what feels right.  Be honest and direct when you need to but always with kindness. And I always talk through big decisions with mentors. They keep me grounded and focused.

The Best Business Advice You’ve Received:  Do what you are most passionate about and the money will follow.

Where I’ve Been, Where I am Going

What I Learned From My First Job: I worked for my Dad and knew I had a burning desire to grow and run my own business someday. Dad said, “There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make things happen, those who let things happen, and those that wonder what happened. Decide who you are Angela.”

First “Career” Job: I worked in marketing and branding at a hearing health care start up.  It relocated me to Portland.

As a Kid, I Wanted to Be: A designer, a business owner, a writer or a professional singer.  I am fortunate to have done all four.

If I Weren’t Doing This, I’d Be: Living a life I didn’t intend.

Insider Information

People Would Be Surprised to Know:  I was a lead singer for a wedding and event band in Portland for eight years.

If I Could Work For Free For Any Cause/Charity, It Would Be: I would create special spaces for children and families who are dealing with tough times, poverty or illness.

Famous Words I wished I’d Said:  “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” – Zig Ziglar

I Need More Time on Weekends For: Hiking, boating, spending time with family and friends and taking the occasional afternoon nap.

Michelle Obama Selects White House Decorator

Susan Davis reports on the transition for the Wall Street Journal.

Interior designer Michael Smith will be in charge of helping the Obama family make the White House a home, the transition office announced Tuesday.

Michelle Obama selected California native Smith, who studied interior design at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and launched his own design firm in 1990. “He takes particular pride in his family-focused clientele and approach,” the announcements states. 

“Laura Bush has been a wonderful steward of The White House and created a beautiful residence for her family,” Obama said in a statement, “I look forward to adding our own touch to the East Wing and creating a living space where our family feels comfortable, happy and settled.” She added that she wants the White House to have a “family friendly feel” that will incorporate “new perspectives” from American artists and designers.

Smith noted the Obama’s “casual style” and said he will be “utilizing affordable brands and products” in the residence.

Affordable furniture chain Ikea is already lobbying for a role in the redecorating effort with an “Embrace Change ‘09” ad campaign blanketing Washington, D.C. metro stops.

Ikea is also featuring an Oval Office replica inside Union Station in Washington, D.C. decorated with—you guessed it—Ikea furniture. The ad campaign also launched a Web site with a count-down clock to when the Obama family moves in and a solicitation to “speak out and let the president know your suggestions for fiscally responsible home furnishings.”

See WSJ link here.