Built to last: How keeping up the builder–buyer relationship can lead to future business

(This article originally posted on Construction Dive.)

Builders know that investing in a relationship with a client today can lead to more business down the line.

“You always want your company’s name to be viewed well in the public eye,” said Nicole Murray, chief operating officer of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “Most builders do feel a very strong sense of what they do and how it affects people and how it contributes to the American Dream.”

As a result, most stay in touch with homebuyers through the warranty period to help tie up loose ends, resolve major issues and provide a basic roadmap for taking care of what could be the largest purchase they’ll ever make. But that relationship is typically short-lived — at least relative to the life of the home and how long owners typically stay there.

Today, however, more builders are exploring ways to continue that relationship, and they are relying on a mix of tried-and-tested and high-tech methods to get there.

New tech for relationship management

Builders have long used personalized emails and phone calls as well as general print and digital direct-marketing campaigns to keep in touch with clients and reach new ones. Glasshouse, a new, consumer-focused CRM, wants to change that.

The cloud-based software platform launched last fall to help owners maintain contact with builders, and vice-versa. As the products and systems that make up homes today become increasingly complex — such as through the inclusion of LED lighting and internet-connected controls — owners often aren’t as able to troubleshoot basic fixes as they used to be, Glasshouse founder and CEO Shannon Bloemker said.

“Nobody knows your house better than your builder, so what better person to help you manage it?” she said.

Glasshouse partners with general contractors, who use the software to manage project work. While it is meant to be the single point-of-contact for their clients, the software can be used to create a paperless homeowner’s manual, deliver custom email newsletters and automate routine client visits. It also provides mobile work order administration and online payment processing, and houses a product database that gives builders information about a home’s appliances and materials.

Glasshouse is designed for use managing client relationships
Credit: Glasshouse

Homeowners, in turn, can purchase a subscription to the software and access their account through a desktop computer or smartphone. They can also use the service to reach out to the builder by submitting a task request or messaging them directly.

“I wanted to have a way of being able to keep track of the work that has been done on your house,” Bloemker said. “It’s better to have this cloud-based system with all this information than to have a shoebox full of receipts and owner’s manuals.”

Glasshouse software can also act as a useful reference tool when the owner sells the home or does a major renovation. The builder can store documents such as appliance warranties, building material information and even the deed to the home in the system, making the house’s specifications and maintenance history readily accessible and protected from physical damage.

Jed Daoust, founder and CEO of Oakland, CA–based Daoust Design and Construction, uses Glasshouse to check in on clients quarterly and to schedule routine maintenance jobs. He said such technology can provide “risk-relief” for the homeowner while offering his team the opportunity to pitch the client on a larger project down the road.

Daoust said he measures the value of any client outreach in the number of referrals it brings in.

“It’s about making sure the customers are so happy that they talk about the service,” he said. “We don’t need to promise to be all things to all people, and we’re not saying we’ll take care of literally everything. We’re just going to help make sure things aren’t broken.”

Where technology fits

Glasshouse currently operates on case-by-case basis, with some builders on a tiered pricing program and other, typically larger, firms paying a monthly fee. For new builders, Bloemker said, the cost is roughly 2% to 5% of the firm’s gross receipts from business generated through the system — meaning if the builder isn’t making money, Glasshouse isn’t either.

Still, not every builder can afford to use subscription-based software and others are content to stick to existing digital methods, like social media and email, or traditional pen-and-paper.

Glasshouse can be used on a mobile device
Credit: Glasshouse

For Daoust, social media also plays a role in extending the builder-owner relationship beyond the length of the contract, from befriending clients on Facebook to placing advertisements on popular social networking websites.

Allison King, division vice president of Cary, NC–based Garman Homes, said her firm looks to maintain the builder–​buyer relationship by reaching out at the 45-day and 11-month marks to make sure products and systems are working properly and to cover issues that have come up in the interim.

To ensure builders and homeowners are on the same page when it comes to their home’s upkeep, Garman gives buyers a printed owner’s manual at closing. The manual acts as a kind of roadmap for the buyer, providing them with a maintenance schedule, detailed care information, a warranty request form and an infographic about the sales, construction and warranty process, which also lives on the company’s website.

Garman Homes uses an infographic to help clients understand the closing and post-close processes
Credit: Garman Homes

Most of Garman’s work is covered up to one year, with a 10-year structural warranty. Still, the company encourages owners to contact them with questions regardless of the timeframe.

“We have not only inspected homes over eight years old, but we have completed repairs as a courtesy past our one-year mark on many occasions,” King said. “It’s about the relationship and the issue that is being addressed.”

While Garman doesn’t have a formal process for checking in with owners, the company’s warranty manager currently uses software developed in-house to schedule monthly check-ins with existing owners. King said the company is setting up a CRM that will allow their builders to check in with homeowners after the sale, either as needed or at set intervals. As the company grows, she added, it could consider software that adds a layer of automation to the builder–buyer relationship.

“The client doesn’t want to feel like an item on a punch list.”

Shannon Bloemker
Founder and CEO, Glasshouse

She attributes the firm’s successes with repeat sales and referrals so far to creating strong client relationships and maintaining them through an active presence on Facebook and Instagram, and through personal responses for email and phone communication.

“We look at each buyer as a lifelong relationship,” King said. “Hopefully, we can grow or downsize with them as their life changes and their home needs adapt.”

While there’s no precise set of best practices when it comes to checking in on clients after the home is sold, being proactive about staying in touch is critical, Bloemker said. Periodic email check-ins and mini-home inspections to scout for major structural problems or leaks, for example, can be of huge value to a client.

“Even if [the client] didn’t do the service-plan element, there are things to keep in touch with to make the client feel they weren’t just abandoned after the builder got that last paycheck,” she said. “The client doesn’t want to feel like an item on a punch list.”


This article was written by Mary Tyler March. Follow her on Twitter.

Glasshouse Launches Done-For-You Newsletters

Keeping in touch with clients, while important, often falls by the wayside when business is good. But for most contractors, the majority of new business comes from referrals. We wrote about the value of continued communication recently and can now offer you a solution to help: Done-For-You Newsletters.

The name speaks for itself. Our Done-For-You Newsletters give you a hands-off approach to keeping in touch with your clients, generating referral business, and staying top-of-mind when a new home project arises. In a few simple steps, you can set it and forget it.


Custom Email Templates & Articles Written by Industry Pros

We will create monthly newsletters on your behalf and send them to your client list. Our engaging newsletter templates are customized by talented designers. They include three to four pieces of content alongside your company information, logo and brand color. Upon receiving the newsletters, your customers will enjoy reading expert advice from industry professionals on essential home maintenance tips, valuable upgrade opportunities, and more.


Branded Microsite

Additionally, we will create a personalized microsite to host articles from the newsletter along with an interactive company profile page.  Showcasing contact information, customer reviews, photos from past projects, and original articles from your newsletters, the profile pages are the perfect tool to keep your clients up-to-date on how you can keep their homes in peak condition.

The homeowner-focused articles in your microsite will be updated on a monthly basis in conjunction with the mailing of your newsletter. However your clients can visit the site at any time to read past posts or research your company. Not to mention, it’s quick and easy to make updates to your page when you have new reviews or images to share.

If your marketing plan needs a jumpstart or you are too busy to even think about how to stay relevant with past clients, Done-For-You Newsletters are the answer to your problems. Fill out our sign-up form to get started on your first newsletter campaign today!

[INFOGRAPHIC] Here’s Why the Auto Industry Services After the Sale (And You Should, Too)

For years, the automotive industry has used after-the-sale service and maintenance as a way to generate additional income for their dealerships and to stay top-of-mind with clients. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that car dealerships make around 44 percent of their gross profit from the service department.

Using Penske Automotive Group (owner of 326 auto franchises covering 40 brands) as an example, Popular Mechanics reports that “the gross margin for service and parts was 57 percent for the Penske group, vs. just 8 percent for new-vehicle sales.”

But what does this have to do with the construction industry? Well, the same ideas that helped car dealers nearly double their profits and develop long-lasting relationships with their clients can be applied to the business of homebuilding.



Building Trust via After-the-Sale Service

The primary reason people bring their cars to a dealer for service is peace of mind — they trust the dealer as the expert on their vehicle. When you bring your Ford to a Ford dealership, you are dealing with technicians who know these vehicles inside and out. The local mechanic down the street knows about engines, but not necessarily the nuances of every specific make and model. The dealership provides ongoing training that keeps their mechanics up to date on Ford models and parts, and they have greater familiarity from working on these cars day in and day out.

The same holds true for construction. Who better to advise and direct repairs and maintenance for a home than the contractor who built it? A home is a much bigger investment than a new car, so surely protecting that investment should get just as much consideration.

Fostering Ongoing Relationships

People also take their car to the dealer for service because, throughout the buying process, they’ve established a relationship with that dealer. Loyal customers who return for regular maintenance and continue to receive good service are far more likely to refer future customers and to continue doing business with that dealership.

Providing a service plan to new home buyers is a great way to leverage the trust they already have in your company and continue to build a long-term relationship. Few homeowners are aware of how critical preventative maintenance is for retaining their home’s value and saving on repair costs. And even fewer actually do it. Offering to come in quarterly and do the simple maintenance and checkups that keep a home in good condition benefits everyone. The homeowner is grateful to have their home’s expert help retain its value. And you, the builder, benefit from being top-of-mind for referrals and future projects.

Stopping Preventative Maintenance Woes

New cars come with a sophisticated feedback mechanisms that tells owners when it’s time to change the oil, check the battery, and even replace the tires. The automation of the car’s maintenance requirements makes it easy for owners to protect and extend the life of the car.

Homes don’t come with a dashboard, but the average homeowner could certainly benefit from one!  Regardless of how well you inform them of the home’s recommended maintenance items, even the most conscientious homeowner will soon forget. And the few who do perform preventative maintenance will not recognize the early signs of dry rot, termites, or water damage – meaning it won’t get noticed until it becomes catastrophic, expensive, and inconvenient.

A well maintained home retains its value, and structure and systems kept in good repair make for a more comfortable home with fewer unpleasant surprises.  Considering the fact that for most people, a home is the largest investment they’ll ever make, it seems natural for them to want to protect the property. Make it easy for them by offering a maintenance plan.

A Shift in Perspective

As contractors and homebuilders, these ideas are a shift in perspective. The industry is accustomed to “building and forgetting.” Yes, there may be a home warranty involved, but how well does that help build relationships, ongoing trust, and your bottom line? If the industry were to adopt a strategy similar to the automotive maintenance model, it could see similar success.

The good news is that Glasshouse has developed and tested a software platform that makes adding a Service Plan simple and straightforward. We created a quarterly preventative maintenance model that makes sense for all homes and is easy for any field technician to perform so that nothing is overlooked or neglected. Glasshouse’s platform helps foster and profit from those relationships that you’ve worked so hard to establish.

Learn more by connecting with our team today or download the full infographic here.


Glasshouse Reveals: First-Time Homeowners Dangerously Overlook the Cost of Maintenance Associated With Ownership

Data Compiled by Glasshouse Uncovers Reality that Homeowners Overlook Maintenance When Assessing Home Ownership Costs, Resulting in Unnecessary and Unplanned Home Expenses.

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Glasshouse, the premiere proactive home maintenance service based in the San Francisco Bay Area, announces insightful data revealed in its newest whitepaper “What Does Home Maintenance Really Cost?” which reveals the need for new homeowners to educate themselves on the cost of maintenance when purchasing a home in order to avoid big ticket costs on unnecessary expenses.

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160808/396437LOGO

“Experts recommend that you set aside anywhere from 1 to 4% of the home’s purchase price each year for maintenance. That’s a significant sum, and won’t be needed every year, but it prepares you to cover big-ticket items with little or no impact on your budget when the need arises,” says CEO and Founder, Shannon Bloemker.

When you consider the cost of home maintenance, it’s important to remember that there is a cost associated with neglecting home maintenance as well. In the same way that you service your car, maintaining home systems helps keep them running efficiently much longer. For example, regularly replacing air filters can prolong the life of your heating and air system, while it also saves money every month because it is more energy-efficient. There are an array of checks and tasks that should be done regularly on the home. When you look at that annual cost for preventative maintenance, you should consider part of it as a trade-off for savings elsewhere.

Key Findings from the white paper include:

  • Regular home maintenance means fewer surprises = savings!
  • Different features of your home have different expected lifespans, so as the property reaches each milestone, replacement costs can mount if not pre-budgeted.
  • For items like the replacement of the air conditioning system, furnace, or gutters, costs can vary widely depending on the climate and weather conditions. Know the factors that affect the region where you are purchasing.
  • A major consideration in determining cost of big ticket items like your roof is location. Different regions of the U.S. have different prices for materials and installation. For example, the average cost of a new roof varies as much as +18.09% in the Pacific vs. -16.18% in the West South Central.

For many of us, the hardest part about home maintenance is keeping track of the preventative maintenance that should be done and knowing how often to do it. Preventative maintenance happens before there is a problem and has the potential for big savings over time.

Download the full White Paper: https://glasshouse.com/resources/whitepapers/what-does-home-maintenance-cost

What is Glasshouse?
Glasshouse is a professional home management service that offers proactive maintenance and care for homeowners. It gives homeowners a single point of contact for all home maintenance issues and allows you to manage it all on an app. Imagine finding out you have a problem with your toilet…before it leaks. With Glasshouse’s quarterly, proactive maintenance plans, those types of issues can be prevented.

Connect with Glasshouse:

Nicole Rodrigues
NRPR Group

This content was issued through the press release distribution service at Newswire.com. For more info visit: http://www.newswire.com

SOURCE Glasshouse

Small Business Interview with Clever Girl Finance

(This article originally posted on Clever Girl Finance

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what services or products do you offer?

My name is Shannon Bloemker, and I am the Founder and CEO of Glasshouse. Glasshouse is a premium home maintenance and repair company dedicated to helping busy people keep their homes in peak condition. Our experienced Glasshouse Managers perform all the maintenance homes requires through quarterly visits, and are available any time homeowners need them – for inevitable repairs or simply tackling their to-do lists.

The House Manager will also track their work and catalog the home’s systems and appliances in an easy to navigate app. Now requesting help with a leaky faucet is as simple as sending a text message. No matter what issues arise, your Glasshouse Manager serves as a single point of contact throughout the process.

Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?

I have extensive experience in residential design/build, construction management, cost control, green building, and home maintenance. After having learned the value of good property management first-hand during my years as a strategist and co-owner of Five Ten Capital, I founded Glasshouse in order to bring the benefits of preventative maintenance to the single-family owner-occupied market.

Do you have any special training?

I earned my Master’s Degree from Harvard in Environmental Science & Sustainability after changing careers from the Mortgage-backed Securities Industry at Salomon Brothers and Franklin Templeton Funds. I also managed six high-end residential construction projects for investment, each of which required a yearlong process of design, value engineering, strategic planning, and oversight. And I am LEED certified home inspector.

What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?

First and foremost, launching a business has been a tremendous accomplishment. It’s been an incredible experience to take what began as a need I recognized in my own home and turning that into a real revenue stream. In addition to that, recruiting our team and getting validation from customers has really shown me that people believe in and support our philosophy around the value of preventative maintenance.

Shannon Bloemker, Glasshouse


How soon after you started did you start seeing profits? Or when do you project to begin earning a profit?

We just launched a few months ago and invested a lot in the business to date. Our goal right now is to gain market traction through educating and acquiring consumers. Beyond that our priority is to offer our clients the best customer service possible.

How did you decide how to price your services? How did you determine what your services were worth?

I began by doing a lot of market research. I needed to find a balance between attracting the right people for the house manager role, while hitting a cost that is still affordable and fair for the consumer. In the end, we landed on a pricing model that would afford my business highly skilled and professional handymen, who have the power to elevate the industry to a new standard for how routine maintenance is both perceived and performed. Everyone we hire has to go through background checks, skills assessments, and personality tests. The result is a House Manager that our customers trust enough to use a lockbox for visits where they are unable to be onsite.

What mistakes, if any, have you made with your business? What have some of your biggest challenges been? What did you learn from the experience and how did you bounce back?

For a long time, I was afraid to launch a product that was not quite finished. I wanted it to be perfect, but in the time it took for me to refine the business and its extensions – like the website and our app – I could have gone to market sooner.

Looking back on that process, I now realize that the product doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be beneficial. Our customers have really given me the confidence to push forward. The positive feedback we get helps to make the bumps in the road much smoother these days.

Shannon Bloemker, Glasshouse


What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful business?

Building a team that loves coming to work and loves what they do is essential. In a customer service based industry, our staff needs to reflect our values. The group I’ve pulled together has such good energy, which in turn makes our work environment really positive.

Right now, we’re situated in an open office and meetings pop up all the time based on an off-hand comment or observation. Everyone is so passionate about our product that our business discussions don’t really feel like work most of the time. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how great the product is. If I didn’t have a team that supported it, we would fail. We are successful because my staff wants Glasshouse to flourish just as much as I do.

Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?

Don’t focus on how your gender historically impacts the business. Find what you are passionate about and create a business around your competencies. People will value the work that you do, when you show them why you are an expert in that field.

Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?

Don’t let finances get away from you. It’s easy to put stuff off, but much harder to catch up later. When you create a budget, be disciplined about it. The little things like team lunches, marketing collateral, and office supplies can be a drain on your finances if not properly managed.

How do you balance work and life owning a small business?

Nobody ever does. Life is never a perfect balance. Sometimes my family takes precedence because we have a big life event like graduation to plan for and participate in. Other times, I’m stuck late at the office and making dinner for everyone turns into a scramble to find cereal in the cabinets. What helps me along the way is including my family in my business as much as possible.



Many days my husband works out of the same office, and we’ll get to commute in together. Our oldest son has interned at Glasshouse and will continue to do so this summer.  And in the afternoons it’s not uncommon for my children to stop by after school to meet with their tutor in our conference room or help out with some data entry projects to work off all of the gems they secretly bought in a game on their cell phone.

It’s a lot easier to be a working mom, when I can find ways to have my family work alongside me.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope that our company has national brand recognition. In five years, my goal is to have demonstrated the value of what we do, so that people understand the implications of taking better care of their homes. I’d also like to challenge our Industry to adopt better standards. Beyond that I see many ways Glasshouse can partner with companies that offer home mortgages, insurance, and home warranties.

Please share a fun fact about yourself

I raised chickens for 15 years. They make great pets and are very social. We even have one who loves to walk through the house and make herself at home.

How can readers find you?

They can visit our website at www.glasshouse.com and follow us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/glasshousemanagement, Twitter: @Glasshousehome , LinkedIn atwww.linkedin.com/company/glasshouse-corporation, and on Houzz atwww.houzz.com/pro/glasshousemanagement/glasshouse

Meet Shannon Bloemker, the Founder and CEO of Glasshouse a premium home maintenance and repair company dedicated to helping busy people keep their homes in peak condition. She earned her master’s degree from Harvard in Environmental Science & Sustainability after changing careers from the Mortgage-backed Securities Industry. She has managed six high-end residential construction projects for investment, is a LEED certified home inspector and also raised chickens for 15 years. Now how’s that for a super woman? In this interview Shannon talks about how she prices her product, why you shouldn’t wait for perfection in business and why you should create a business around your competencies and not your gender. We have so much to learn from her – Enjoy!

Glasshouse, the Premiere Preventative Home Maintenance Service in the East Bay, Expands Services to Orinda and Lafayette

Bay Area Pioneer Provides a Sustainable Approach to Home Care with a Proactive Edge, Preventing Problems From Ever Starting

Glasshouse, the premiere proactive home maintenance service based in the San Francisco Bay Area, today announces its expansion into Orinda and Lafayette. This new service area is a sign of the growing need for preventative home maintenance and of the value people see in taking the time to care for their home to preserve and add value to its financial worth. Earlier this Spring, Glasshouse launched its services to homeowners in Oakland, Piedmont and Berkeley.

“We officially launched Glasshouse in March of this year and we’re excited to share that in just a few months, we’re expanding and growing tremendously,” said Shannon Bloemker, CEO and Founder of Glasshouse. “We love teaching people about how preventative home care can keep homes safe and healthy, while also preserving their long-term value. Our expansion to Orinda and Lafayette shows that people are excited to have help caring for their most valuable investment.”

“For less than you probably spend on coffee each month, your home will have someone checking in and maintaining the working components regularly,” said Julie Gardner, Realtor. “All of our homes need attention and Glasshouse helps avoid a much costlier repair down the road – in other words, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 


While most homeowners are familiar with home warranties and on-demand services, Glasshouse plans to continue educating people about the benefits of preventative home maintenance by routinely assessing and addressing systems, appliances, infrastructure and more. Glasshouse is the first of its kind, and is making the home maintenance process easier and more transparent for everyone involved (hence, the name Glasshouse). Glasshouse customers look at it as a way to prevent a costly disaster before it happens and an opportunity to rest worry-free from home maintenance issues.

“For less than you probably spend on coffee each month, your home will have someone checking in and maintaining the working components regularly,” said Julie Gardner, Realtor. “All of our homes need attention and Glasshouse helps avoid a much costlier repair down the road – in other words, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

What is Glasshouse?

Glasshouse is a professional home management service that offers proactive maintenance and care for homeowners. It gives homeowners a single point of contact for all home maintenance issues and allows you to manage it all on an app. Imagine finding out you have a problem with your toilet…before it leaks. With Glasshouse’s quarterly, proactive maintenance plans, those types of issues can be prevented.

How Does Glasshouse Work?

1.     Glasshouse assigns each customer a dedicated Glasshouse Manager.

When you sign up for Glasshouse, you’re assigned to one trusted maintenance professional to call for all of your home needs. Your Glasshouse Manager will know your home inside and out, which saves homeowners time, money and hassles in the long run.

2.     Your Glasshouse Manager will arrive for quarterly visits with a preset list of home maintenance tasks to accomplish.

Each quarter, your Glasshouse Manager performs two hours’ worth of work, and over the course of a year, the whole list of services (filter changes, smoke detector batteries, dryer vent cleanouts, water heater maintenance, leak checks, garage door servicing, etc.) is completed. You can track your quarterly visits via the Glasshouse app, communicate with your house manager, request a task and manage reports. Each quarterly visit costs just $150.

3.     You can contact your Glasshouse Manager for any additional home maintenance or repair tasks that arise between service visits and track all details.

Glasshouse provides a myriad of services; from hanging up paintings, to unclogging a sink, to changing a hard to reach light bulb. For just $75/hour, your Glasshouse Manager can help you with minor repairs, upgrades, projects – virtually anything you need. Glasshouse’s cloud-based app keeps details of all your home’s appliances, systems, and the work that’s been done on them to ensure that you know everything about your house.

About Glasshouse

Glasshouse is a premium home maintenance company dedicated to helping people keep their homes in peak condition. Glasshouse’s experienced house managers perform all the maintenance your home requires through quarterly visits and are available any time you need them — for anything from inevitable repairs to simply tackling your to-do list. Glasshouse takes care of your home so you can relax and enjoy it. For more information, please visit us at: https://glasshouse.com/