Friends since the age of 6, Lenny Scarola and Mike Eaton were working together at a large window and siding company when they saw an opportunity to implement improved sales techniques and provide a better overall customer experience.
In 2000, they met at Scarola’s kitchen table in northern Virginia with a common dream of starting their own residential exterior-remodeling business. The men hit the ground running, as Scarola built a small canvassing team and began marketing while Eaton managed appointments. They then welcomed Nish Patel — who had also been working at the same company and quickly took notice of the duo’s entrepreneurial spirt —to assist with canvasing and project management. Together, they started DreamHome Remodeling Inc. in Springfield, Va.
“We understood a need in our market for an exterior remodeler that would help customers get the finest projects completed while making the projects affordable,” said Scarola, the company’s president. “We knocked on doors in the snow, and thus the company began to grow.”
The company got its start installing attic insulation, doors, windows and siding. Working from the kitchen of Scarola’s townhouse, the company reached $1 million in net retail sales in eight months. This enabled the team to move into an office space and expand to three additional locations within four years. The company went on to consolidate these locations into its two current offices in Springfield, Va., and Hanover, Md.
As the business continued to grow, the men recognized a demand for residential re-roofing services in their market. So in 2010, the company added roofing to its list of offerings. “We had a large demand from our previous customer base,” Scarola explained. “We had an excellent relationship with our manufacturer, Owens Corning, due to the amount of insulation jobs we were doing. They helped us enter the roofing business.”
The company now functions as a full-service exterior home remodeler, helping homeowners achieve their aesthetic goals with quality and affordability at the forefront. The Baltimore/Washington D.C. market is a competitive one, so entering the roofing sector has enabled DreamHome Remodeling to stand apart and land more high-profile projects. However, Scarola insisted that it’s the company’s strategic marketing and quality workmanship — no matter how big or small the job — that’s ensured repeat customers.
“When the economic downturn occurred, we focused our sales and marketing efforts on smaller-ticket items — attic insulation, gutters and gutter protection,” Scarola said. “We were able to do well with projects, and it allowed us to greatly build our customer base. Now those same small-ticket customers are calling us back for larger projects, like roofing.”
According to Scarola, DreamHome Remodeling was chosen to install the roofing and siding for a large pool house in a very affluent neighborhood, which led to several additional residential projects in the community.
While the business has grown from its humble beginnings to be one of the largest in its market, it has stayed true to its roots. The company still values its original sales technique, as team members regularly go out into local communities to pursue in-person interactions with potential clients. “I truly believe our sales and marketing strategy is what has allowed us to be successful,” he said. “We pride ourselves on our canvass department. It’s been the backbone of the organization since day one. The owners still knock doors to this day.”
Partnering in Success
The roofing arm of DreamHome Remodeling specializes in residential re-roofing work, which currently accounts for 65 percent of its business and has contributed to a projected 38 percent increase in sales revenue this year alone. While demand from the company’s existing customer base was the inspiration for adding a roofing division, Scarola said that it wouldn’t have been possible without key industry relationships.
“We’ve been fortunate or smart enough to follow the example of industry experts and partner with industry leaders,” he explained. “Along with Owens Corning, Allied Building Products has been a vital partner in our roofing business. Without our partnerships, we would never be where we are. We choose our partners wisely and are very loyal to them.”
According to Scarola, the Owens Corning Platinum Contractors network has been a crucial asset in developing the company’s roofing division, as employees have been fortunate to network with and learn from some of the best contractors in the business. DreamHome Remodeling also includes the Owens Corning Platinum Warranty on the vast majority of its roof systems.
“Utilize your relationships with your distribution and manufacturing partners,” Scarola said. “Too often, contractors fail to realize that these people interact with many organizations in your market as well as across the country, and you can always learn something from everyone.”
An important alliance also helped the company revamp its sales and marketing techniques. Scarola said that DreamHome Remodeling was introduced to Rodney Webb — a sales coach to the home-improvement industry — in 2009, and that the connection has positively changed the company’s dynamic and profitability. “Our sales team practices the system three times a week,” he explained. “Customer service is only second to customer acquisition. You can’t service them until they become customers.”
Scarola is now a certified Rodney Webb consultant, visiting other residential construction companies throughout the country to assist them in their sales and marketing endeavors. He also shares his knowledge and builds relationships by giving canvassing lectures to Owens Corning contractors across the nation.
DreamHome Remodeling puts the same emphasis on cultivating healthy customer relationships. In an effort to live out its mission statement, “Do whatever it takes to help everybody,” the company strives to go above and beyond for each individual client. Scarola shared that office managers regularly communicate with customers via phone, mail and email directly through the company’s CRM program. The company also keeps clients up to date on current offerings and upcoming shows it will attend, often providing free tickets.
To ensure quality workmanship and customer satisfaction, DreamHome Remodeling audits each roof after installation and shares a video of the final product with the client. While each project and customer is different, the company focuses on consistently providing exceptional service. “Every job presents its own unique challenges, whether it’s the roof application or a uniquely picky homeowner,” Scarola said. “That’s what makes the job fun and exciting.”