Opening a second location can be a big commitment! There is so much that typically goes into it—finding the right location, hiring more staff, updating all of your marketing materials, and more—and if the new location doesn’t take off, it can be a huge waste of time and money.
One Bay Area replacement window company was recently faced with this dilemma: they wanted to expand into the populous San Jose area to the south of their headquarters in Pleasanton, California, but they wanted to do it in a smart way.
Custom Exchange is a smaller, family-owned window company with a great reputation in the Pleasanton area. They were starting to get calls from potential customers in San Jose and Milpitas, cities which are located about 30 miles away, who wanted to use them for replacement window installation. The company began servicing these homes when requested, but soon realized they had a huge opportunity: they could take their successful business model and duplicate it in the San Jose area.
However, since Custom Exchange is a small business (still operated by company founder Michal Kuron, along with a relatively small staff), they wanted to take things slowly. Instead of going out and signing a lease for a new commercial space, hiring a second office staff, and putting together a new installation crew to service the San Jose area, they decided to start by just setting up a minimal presence in San Jose.
They changed their website to reflect their new service area and set up a local call center in San Jose, but all of the rest of their operations are handled by the Pleasanton staff. Their sales team and installation crews operate out of the Pleasanton office and travel to San Jose when needed.
It takes some extra coordination to keep their employees from spending too much time on the road, but it has been worth it! Business is booming, and they are receiving more and more calls from homeowners in the San Jose area who are needing their windows replaced. With more than a million people in San Jose, not to mention the surrounding cities, this new location has loads of potential. And since their investment has been minimal, there is not much risk involved.
As business in San Jose picks up, Custom Exchange may consider investing more in this location, such as hiring a dedicated San Jose replacement window installation crew, but for now, the plan is working well. San Jose residents are receiving quality replacement windows and service from an experienced, reputable company, and a small business is growing at a smart pace, without overextending itself.
This model won’t work for all small businesses looking to expand into new markets, but for service-based companies that don’t necessarily need a storefront, following the example of Custom Exchange could be a good way to go!