By Mark Thoma
Taking an already successful business and building on the success of others: that was the reason Curt and Deb Trampe hooked up with DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen about eight years ago. The Waco, Texas-based franchise offered a successful business model that the Trampes couldn’t pass up when the Sangamon and Menard county territory became available in 2007.
It was a good move. Curt says the company is coming off two years of increased sales and is celebrating a move to a new showroom on west Wabash in Springfield.
Trampe started his Homeworks, Inc. remodeling business in 1998. Back then the company would do just about anything in construction, literally from the top of the house to the very bottom.
Looking to the future, Curt decided to specialize. “My end goal was to create a business that can operate without me, having a business model that was more repeatable. So instead of doing windows one day and roofing another, a bathroom one day then finishing a basement, we looked at the scope of our work and created a more repeatable process for us. Ultimately that’s going to help us fine-tune our business.”
Trampe said in this respect DreamMaker was the perfect fit, giving his now specialized operation training, support and preferred vendor relationships. Perhaps the biggest boost for his business was the ability, as a franchisee, to meet with other DreamMaker partners around the country on a regular basis to discover what worked and what didn’t in relation to factors such as advertising, marketing and profit and loss variables.
“It provides you with a great way to lay their P&L next to your P&L. How are they getting by with paying only this much for insurance? How can they get their labor rate that low?” The identical business model of a franchise made such comparisons quick and easy.
The DreamMakers company has a program called “next level groups” where franchise owners are paired up to pool resources. “We’ll go to their business for about two and a half days,” says Curt, “take a tour and review employees, see what they’re doing and as a group make recommendations. What they’re doing well, what they need to improve on. That’s been huge.”
Curt, a certified kitchen and bath designer, says the decision to go with DreamMaker was a “no-brainer” despite some customers telling him he was nuts going away from his already successful business model.
“That was one of the things that, business-wise, DreamMaker’s process really brings to the table,” he says. “We were able to pull all those pieces together. People will walk in the door and say ‘I want to do my kitchen, I don’t have a clue of where to start,’ so we ask questions to find out what’s important to them. We work with our clients and find out what they want to do, establish a budget, help them make all of their selections right here – we’re not sending them all over town to make selections – and then we also have a production staff that does the projects for them, so there’s not the disconnect between the design side and the production side. So it’s a pretty seamless experience for our client.”
Deb Trampe, who handles marketing and PR for the franchise, says that DreamMaker has certainly provided valuable design training but she credits Curt’s innate listening skills for their satisfied client base. “There are designs we probably wouldn’t pick out for ourselves but which the customer loves. He listens to them very well. What’s important is that they be happy and comfortable in their own space.”
To visit DreamMaker in their new space, head over to 3730 Wabash Ave. on Springfield’s west side to learn more about this successful local business.
Mark Thoma is a freelance writer and online video producer at WebVidz.com in Springfield. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.