Is your remodeling business profiting from a growing niche: Remodeling homes to make them safe for seniors? "Aging in place" is a growing trend — already, more than half of all homeowners are aged 55 and up. Sixty-one percent of those homeowners plan to stay in their homes indefinitely; among those aged 70 and up, that figure soars to 77 percent. Here are nine tactics to help you capture more of this growing remodeling market.
- Market your business online. Online research is the top source of information for baby boomers seeking help with home improvement and remodeling. Make sure your website is current and easy for aging eyes to read. Use search engine optimization (SEO) to attract prospects searching for keywords such as "age in place," "grab bars" or "remodeling for seniors."
- Target empty nesters. Homeowners aged 55-plus whose children are out of the home spend more on home improvement than other baby boomers. They’re also more likely to do bigger projects such as remodeling a kitchen or bathroom or adding a room to the home.
- Think outside the box. Widening doorways for wheelchairs or installing grab bars in showers aren't the only adjustments that appeal to boomers seeking to age in place. Remodeling that incorporates energy-efficient appliances, heating and cooling systems, insulation or windows also appeals to older homeowners who want to keep their utility costs manageable as they age.
- Emphasize form as well as function. "Universal design" elements make a home more accessible to everyone — not just seniors, but also visitors who may have physical disabilities. Wider doorways, sloping paths to the front porch or handles instead of knobs on doors are all attractive and unobtrusive ways to make a home safer for seniors without taking away its curb appeal. (Bonus: This type of design also appeals to younger customers.)
- Encourage reviews. Baby boomers heading online to research home remodeling projects often turn to online reviews to get opinions.
- Get social. Some 82.3 percent of baby boomers use Facebook, making it a great way to boost your presence and get your business in front of the target customer. Lighthouse Field Services automatically updates your social media pages with photos, reviews and special offers so prospects always get the latest news.
- Target the baby boomers' children. Generation X consumers are often the motivating force behind aging-in-place remodeling projects. Adult children may be the first to spot signs that a senior parent is struggling with activities of daily living. Use Facebook advertising, search engine optimization and online marketing to reach this age group. Also make sure your website is mobile-friendly: Lighthouse Field Services creates a website that automatically adjusts to any device. Create content that answers questions about dealing with aging parents, such as alternatives to nursing homes or signs that a parent should no longer live at home. A good selling point for Gen X: Point out that aging-in-place remodeling is much more affordable than paying for Mom or Dad to go to an assisted living facility.
- Promote your expertise. Post photos of aging-in-place remodeling jobs you've done on your website and on social media. (Lighthouse Field Services makes this easy by automating the process for you.) You can also give your remodeling business an edge in the market by getting the National Association of Home Builders' CAPS certification (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) and promoting this in your marketing and advertising.
- Partner with senior-related organizations, professionals and businesses. Discharge coordinators at rehabilitation centers or hospitals, occupational therapists, and physicians with lots of senior patients can all be excellent sources of referrals. Introduce yourself as a resource for their patients who may need extra assistance to continue living at home. You can also speak at local senior centers — most seniors would welcome more information about how they can stay independent longer. Be sure to provide handouts, brochures and other takeaways for your audience.