Being a customer-friendly business that does not push sales on customers is rarer these days than it was in the past. In that sense, The Drying Company, based in Toano, Va., is one of a dying breed.
The Drying Company provides home performance insulation services for attics, basements, crawl spaces and more. Essentially, the contractor fixes almost anything in a house, from garages to the residence’s exterior.
When the company was founded in 2002, it dealt with water restoration but also installed crawl space encapsulations. Current owner Steve Tetreault joined the company in 2005 and became an owner in 2007. He now shares ownership with his son, Tyler, and they run the company together.
When Steve became owner, he brought with him a background in residential insulation, which led him to start the firm’s ThermalTec insulation division in 2005. Insulation has become a big part of the company’s repertoire since then.
“Although we still insulate some new construction, our passion has turned to helping homeowners,” Steve says. “Making their homes more comfortable, energy-efficient, durable and healthy by removing old nasty insulation, crawl space liners, mold and debris.”
Helping homeowners is the company’s leading value, and it fulfills it by not looking for sales where there aren’t any. Listening is key to assisting as well.
“Our focus is on listening to our clients to understand their concerns about their home and work with them to develop their goals for the project,” Steve says. “We don’t believe in high-pressure sales tactics, temporary fixes or selling unnecessary work. We work with our clients to develop the right, long-term solution for them and their home, educate them on science driving their concerns in the home, and all of our solutions are backed by the latest, best practices in building science.”
Success starts from within
In 2005, the company had eight employees—today it has grown to more than 60 employees. With that many members on the team, communication is key, even within the company.
“Our home performance advisors and install teams have weekly meetings where we train on installations, customer service and building science, on how and why buildings fail and how to repair and prevent it again,” Steve says. “At our meetings, we work on team building and understanding what each role in the business sees and experiences so that we can help and educate each other to refine our skills.”
Training also comes from outside the organization. The firm works with the dealer network Contractor Nation, which provides additional training when needed.
This all adds up to helping employees as much as customers so they can learn and advance their skills too.
“If and when things get tough again, we will do what we always have done; be the best and invest in our people so they can best help our customers,” Steve says.
The firm had some difficulties last year due to rising prices. However, the company has bounced back nicely.
“With rising prices on just about everything last year, we saw consumer uncertainty and many homeowners canceled or delayed their projects,” Steve says. “We are excited to see that turning around again, and people realize their home is their largest investment and they still need to fix the problems they experienced with their home. We look forward to the rest of the year and expect continued growth by helping our customers with their home projects.”
Put in What You Get Out
Steve finds the job worthwhile and likes to see customers enjoy the results of his work. He enjoys many parts of the job, but his favorite is working in attics.
“With all we do to protect a home, attic projects are still one of the most exciting services we provide,” Steve says. “Making a home more comfortable and more energy-efficient, with homeowners experiencing results in their comfort and energy bills immediately after we complete the project, is highly rewarding to us and our customers.”
Nevertheless, Steve finds the water management part of the business to be just as important since it is a hassle for homeowners. He always keeps the customer in mind when making business decisions.
“Water seeping under a home into a crawl space or basement can degrade a building and its lifespan, as well as making it uncomfortable with high relative humidity and wasted energy trying to remove it,” Steve says. “That’s why we’ve added additional services to our company. We waterproof basements, add encapsulation systems to crawl spaces, and gutter systems to help keep the water away from the foundation.”
Not only does the company think about its customers and do right by them, but it also teaches its customers about the business. This may lead to a few less customers for the firm but, like everything else the company does, it is all about the customer.
“We spend a lot of time educating our customers on our findings during a free home inspection,” Steve says. “We can help homeowners gain the information they need to make an informed decision about their home improvement project. The homeowner, with the knowledge they have gained about their home, will design the project themselves to meet the budget and goals they wish to achieve.”
The company even applies its “customer” philosophy to behind-the-scenes work. Steve and Tyler implemented processes to expand communication with customers.
“Communicating with customers is one of the most important things we do; it’s really everything when it comes to our being successful,” Steve says. “We’ve put a lot of processes in place to make sure we are keeping customers updated about the status of their appointment, project or equipment so that they know we haven’t forgotten about them. Technology has helped us with these communication processes, but nothing has replaced the personal phone calls that our team makes to confirm appointments, give updates and schedule jobs.”
Team effort all the way
Overall, focusing on the customer seems like a successful business plan, but Steve and Tyler will not take all the credit. They may be the owners, but they feel just as important to the company as any of their employees.
Steve sums it up perfectly: “I’m excited to have built a team of engaged experts who deliver high-quality products and exceptional customer experiences.”