SELLING TO REMODELERS: Building Relationships

An award-winning Wisconsin remodeler talks about growing your sales with current customers.


My family has been in the homebuilding and remodeling business for 121 years. I am the third generation, and my son, Paul, is the fourth generation at Michael F. Simon Builders. Our company’s success and longevity has been due to our reputation, quality work, and repeat business and referrals.

Any success is attributable to great teamwork, and we have been fortunate to forge long-term business relationships with several trade partners and LBM dealers. This has resulted in delivering top quality projects to our clients for more than a century.

The LBMs we work with do not sell their products to the Do-It-Yourselfers because that takes away from the remodeler’s business. We do business with the lumber and mill suppliers that want to do business with us. With that said, LBMs can count on our business as long as they continually provide good service, submit bids on time and can supply us with the necessary materials. Remodelers are loyal to their suppliers and won’t change if there’s no reason to do so.

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At the end of the day, we have our best relationships with LBMs who get to know our crews and carpenters, and work together with us.

For example, we use Brunsell Lumber & Millwork in Madison, Wis. for finished millwork because of the quality of their materials and their ability to customize orders for us, such as running special trim. That’s their specialty. For framing materials, we use ProBuild because of their fresh stock, quality products, competitive pricing and quick delivery. They’re also great at the bid process.

We’ve built relationships with the LBMs mentioned above because of the personal rapport established with their salesmen, and the extra outreach these companies have made to learn more about the industry and us.

ProBuild joined the local homebuilders association and national organizations, such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), and became active members themselves.