Re-Bath owner Chris Horney spent years building homes. Now he’s building a multi-city empire as a remodeler.
Before purchasing his first Re-Bath territory in 2009, Chris Horney was a custom home builder. He loved the design-build process and helping create dream homes for his customers. But there were a lot of challenges, too. Horney joined Re-Bath after the housing downturn as a way to survive the Great Recession, but business has been so strong that rather than ramp back up his home building business, he has invested in two additional Re-Bath territories. He now owns Re-Baths in Pittsburgh, PA, and Cleveland and Columbus, OH.
“If you asked me to rate the franchise on a scale of 1 to 100, I’d give it a 99 and change,” he said.
We asked him to compare home building to owning a Re-Bath bathroom remodeling franchise. These are three differences he singled out:
1. Fast, predictable projects that impress customers
Project efficiency and client happiness go hand-in-hand. When I built a house, it was 3-6 months depending on the complexity. Over the course of 6 months, it’s almost impossible to have a purely happy 10-out-of-10 customer experience. It rains. A guy has a family emergency and doesn’t show up. You have to use subcontractors.
Things can still occasionally happen, but now I may use a subcontractor once a quarter. A big benefit is that with Re-Bath’s installations, there are no surprises, and we work indoors. I live in a winter climate area. I’ve got three months of the year that are really hard to work in if you’re working outside. As a homebuilder, you wind up trying to do a year of work in 9 months, or going beyond capacity, and the customer experience can fall down.
With Re-Bath, doing 98% of our projects in 5 days or less blows customers away. “Wow, Chris and his team are the greatest of all time.” And that’s the kind of experience people get to have with Re-Bath. The installations are very routine. We are able to replicate the same projects again and again. We have it down to a science with all our employee-installers.
2. Quick payment, simpler cash flow
Getting your money in 48 hours is the greatest thing in the world. Re-Bath’s short project timelines mean expedited cash flow. I didn’t have cash flow issues as a home builder, but I saw how it could be a problem for people who weren’t as efficient as me. Like any home builder, I had project delays, subcontractor delays, and difficulties holding to a schedule. When you are building a home, you have your hands in 100 different things. When you’re doing a simple bathroom remodel, you have your hands in 5 things. It’s very mechanical and predictable.
3. Ease of customer financing means more projects come to fruition
I had a passion for designing homes. I would use CAD to design a house interactively with customers at my desk on a big monitor. This was in 2003, and it was a breakthrough experience for people. Making the sale wasn’t that hard. You would get a sense of their budget and whether the bank was likely to approve a loan, and approval rates were 95%-98%. Then the housing market crashed in 2008, and loan approvals dropped to 30%-40%. I was doing hundreds of hours of design work and nobody could get financed.
When I switched to Re-Bath, my contracts went from $200,000 to $300,000 homes to designing a $10,000 bathroom. I was able to offer customers credit, and the time to transact business went from 2-3 months to 2 hours.
The number of customers I am able to serve is inconceivable for a home builder. In the time it would take to build a home, my crews can sell and install dozens of bathroom remodels.
Explore the franchise opportunity
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