Business View Magazine interviews Gary Delia, President of Home Performance Alliance, as part of our focus on best practices – American business.
Gary Delia created Home Performance Alliance, a Florida-based, specialty remodeling company in 2011, after spending thirty years in the home improvement industry. He started his career working for a well-known remodeling company in the northeast, going from a young general manager to the company’s president fourteen years later. “I had some great mentors who taught me a lot,” Delia says. “I worked as a company executive and president and also as a consultant, over the years. I specialized in helping large home improvement organizations generate more profits. I was kind of a turnaround specialist that would correct deficiencies and stimulate profits in organizations, both on the manufacturing side and the retail home improvement side.”
Today, after only five years, Home Performance Alliance has become a $20 million dollar company, ranked 32nd in Remodeling Magazine’s top 550, nationwide. That growth has been due, not only to Delia’s hard work and innovative ideas, but also as a result of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right product, and with a unique way to market it. All of these have contributed to the company’s success.
Delia talks first about the selling: “This industry (Home Improvement) has metamorphasized over the past 10 years; some strategies that worked before became ineffective and cost prohibitive, such as telemarketing. So, if you were going to stay in this business and be successful, you definitely needed to be a change agent. One of the components of how our company has changed the most is in the area of marketing.”
“Years ago, we would spend a significant amount of money on conventional advertising such as TV commercials and infomercials, newspapers, direct mail, publications, and telemarketing that generated many sales leads,” he continues. “In the early 2000s, when the ‘Do-Not-Call’ telemarketing laws went into effect, a big chunk of lead production was cut. There had to be another way to make up that loss and sustain a business model like this. So, we started to experiment with door-to-door canvassing, dispatching vans filled with energetic and attractive young people to knock on doors near existing customers to inform other homeowners about upgrading their windows and doors. And that face-to-face marketing approach started to pay off. We added some sophisticated software developed for political campaigns, and it really added fuel to the fire. In five years, the company was averaging at least 250 jobs per month in just the West Florida territory with revenues near $20 million. This is an extraordinary milestone for a business like this.
“I believe that we are in a very good market for the products that we sell, which are made to protect homes from high winds due to hurricanes. In 2004-2005, there were eight named storms that crisscrossed the state of Florida, creating major damage to homeowners. The damage was so significant that insurance companies that offered homeowners insurance stopped writing that type of insurance, forcing the state to create an insurance company (Citizens Insurance) to pick up the policies.”
Meanwhile, hurricane impact glass technology had been developed by the DuPont Corporation. “It made the burdensome effort of putting shutters up, insignificant, because the glass can’t be shattered by wind or flying debris,” Delia explains. “A high demand from consumers looking to bring their homes up to code, as well having limited products to pick from, has allowed Home Performance Alliance to expand with offices in Jacksonville, Fort Myers, and soon, Orlando. Our windows have a proprietary insulated glass system which makes them extremely energy efficient. Customers can expect to reduce their electric use by 50 percent or more, saving them hundreds of dollars annually.”
Delia believes that the company’s competitive edge comes from two main advantages: the ability to offer high quality products made exclusively for HPA; and installation done by a team of highly skilled technicians employed by the company. He explains, “We sell custom-made windows and doors to protect homes from storms and our products are made especially for us by a specialty manufacturer. So, we’re selling, factory-direct. Therefore, the customer can expect a superior job as well as excellent customer service.”
And then, of course it all comes back to selling. The company employs a team of highly trained, professional sales consultants who meet with homeowners to assist them with understanding the new building codes, while demonstrating actual sample products so they can make informed decisions. Delia asserts, “But they’re not the only ones who sell the products. I think there are lots of components that go into making a project like this a success for the customer.”
Delia insists that even while having the right product, sold in the right way, and at the right time and place, nothing can be accomplished without the right people. “I think that the people that we have are really the key to this whole business,” he says. “We don’t manufacture anything; we process the project. We have several key managers who have come with success stories of their own, who walked away from good tenure and lots of benefits, to come to work here because they wanted to be on the ground floor of something new.
Delia claims that the only thing stopping the company from more explosive growth is the lack of manpower. “We look for people that can help our business grow; that is our key mission. We also want to appeal to Millennials; I believe they are the future. We are constantly recruiting both inside and outside of the firm. Our employees are the main ingredient for our success.”
And because his model is very successful, Delia also believes that it can be duplicated throughout multiple areas across the Southeast. “We may even franchise our model,” he muses. “Because we have control over the product and the process, we really have something to offer some entrepreneurial individual who would like to control a profit center of his own. The company can give all the support and provide the training of how to be successful in this business. They won’t need to have a background in remodeling. It would only require them to provide the management of the sales, marketing, and bookkeeping. So, we’ll be in more locations and we’ll need to develop the people to support those locations, both franchises and company stores.”
Delia also looks to expand his company’s offerings with other products in the same markets such as bathroom retrofit, specialty roofing, and solar energy products. And he insists that the company will always supply value-added products and quality craftsmanship. “Our reputation for exceeding the customers’ expectation will always be the #1 goal at Home Performance Alliance,” he states, confidently.
Clearly, Home Performance Alliance has the right combination for success.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Home Performance Alliance
WHAT: A specialty remodeling company
WHERE: St. Petersburg, Florida
Soft-Lite Windows & Doors – Soft-Lite Windows & Doors manufactures replacement windows and sliding patio doors which are among the best in America when it comes to energy efficiency, security, safety, comfort, ease of use, and beauty. Its window offerings include: designer, vinyl, single-hung, double-hung, casement, picture, slider, awning, bay, bow, garden, specialty, geometric, house, dual pane, and energy-efficient; doors include: entry, patio, sliding, fiberglass, stormweld, replacement, exterior, entrance, and front. Soft-Lite, was incorporated in 1996, and is based in Streetsboro, Ohio. As of December 19, 2016, the company operates as a subsidiary of Harvey Industries. – www.soft-lite.com