Taylor Fernley In the business world, we are always looking for ways to gain a competitive advantage.
Based in Columbia, Maryland, this award-winning company specializes in roofing replacement, windows, vinyl siding, entry door systems, and gutters and downspouts in a service area covering northern Virginia to southern New Jersey, parts of Delaware, parts of Pennsylvania, and all of Maryland.
Co-owners Tom Bury and Patrick Fingles began Nu Look Home Design 14 years ago and are now like parents experiencing the challenges of raising a teenager, as the growing business seeks its identity and rebrands for the future. Business View Magazine first profiled Nu Look Design in August and recently reconnected with the owners for updates.
The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.
Last year, Nu Look Home Design was undergoing a game-changing search for a branding model that would set you apart. How is that business model and business plan difference quotient Making that transition while trying to keep your business functioning is challenging.
Lots of layers of the brand have made it through and others, like finalizing a name change, are still in the future. The impact to our business was mostly positive, but there were repercussions. Others have yet to be initiated when the time is right. It was a lot of internal change. We had a successful business, but we were just going through the motions.
We were functioning, profitable, climbing the ladders, making money, increasing employees — growing in size but not in development. Hire people with little thought to their future growth and candidate profiles. What kind of operational changes have you made? We had a lot of success, but we knew in order to hit our future growth targets that there was something missing.
It showed through our messaging, brand continuity, standardizing processes, and leadership development. So, we went back and looked at our hierarchies, brought our sales compensation plans up to speed, switched our salespeople to different classifications, changed our marketing strategy, our advertising messaging.
And it cost us. As we enter into new markets as Nu Look, we might step on other companies using that name prior to us and could run into trademark infringements.
It took about six months, we went through hundreds of names with no trademark infringement that we could in turn trademark and own that space.
The trademark is now ready. We have several changes for the end of or early that still have to be made. For Tom and me, our mantra has always been not to settle. You have to evaluate and adapt your business as it grows, and we do that.
Is the remodelling sector as busy as ever?
Houses continue to break. So, you make up for the sustainability of the product with the expansion of the housing market. Our economy is growing; rural areas have become non-rural and every year new neighborhoods open up.
Homes that were built in are entering the remodel market and people are replacing those products. Outbound, we have entry level sales teams in each of our offices.
Those consist of 10 to 20 college-age people, who canvass door-to-door in places where we currently do business or would like to be working; generally, in homes from 20 to 50 years old in a small area.
There are some whole remodels and that can take a week or two, depending on the size of the home. But mostly, we like to get in, get out, and leave a happy customer as a result.
We use private contractors that only do work for us.
How do you differentiate Nu Look Home Design from the competition? For us, going into a new market and trying to build a labor force is pretty challenging.
The introduction of products like Eagle View satellite imagery for measuring and Hover based on pictures you upload to do housing mock-upsnot only increase efficiency for us, but increase accuracy in the measuring process. Most of the industry is working in an archaic way, writing out contracts or emailing them, taking checks, or money orders, or cash to do the work.
Then, we deliver digital brochures and the digital contract into their inbox, where a customer feels more secure than us handwriting the information. What does the future hold for Nu Look home Design?
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