Getting to know the owners of Everest Home Improvement

We recently sat down with the co-owners of Everest Home Improvement, Chris Shoemaker and Randy Harding, to learn more about them and their genuine take on working with homeowners in making their renovation dreams a reality.

Interviewer

Thanks for joining us today, Chris and Randy! First of all, how did you guys get started in the construction business, and specifically in home improvement?

Randy Harding

Thanks for having us.

I got started in the construction business when I graduated college. I actually managed two hotels in the French Quarter in New Orleans. My father-in-law, at that time, owned a flooring company and I went to work for him. I wanted to get further on in the construction world, so I then moved back to the Virginia/DC area and I got back into the construction industry as a job site superintendent, then worked my way up to Director of Operations. And now, with Chris, I own my own company.

Chris Shoemaker

Appreciate the opportunity to talk with you today.

Home improvement is the only industry in which I’ve worked. Right out of college I took a job as an outside sales representative for one of the larger home improvement companies in the remodeling industry. I started as a gutter sales rep, and worked my way up into doors and windows and siding, and then took over some management positions in that company.

So, home improvement is the only industry I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve seen the growth within different companies and the industry itself, and, like Randy said, three-and-half years ago we wanted to venture out on our own and take a chance.

Interviewer

What exactly led you guys to go out on your own in what is a very competitive market? What is it that you thought you all could do differently or better for homeowners?

Chris Shoemaker  

Having worked with some of the larger companies within the industry–watching them grow over the years, and watching all the different challenges that they were faced with from recessions and other factors, and also seeing some of the advantages for tax credits in the industry—we thought there was just a different way to go about doing business. From alternate paths to purchase to creating a different customer experience, we knew there was an opportunity for us to do it better. Not necessarily transaction-based, but more relationship-based. You know, we felt there was just a real opportunity we could make a positive impact in the industry and with homeowners looking to renovate their homes.

Randy Harding   

As Chris stated, we decided to go out on our own basically to have more control over the customer and the finished product. We also wanted to provide a better customer experience and an easier path to purchase. We worked for another company where they just didn’t value the customer experience. The home improvement industry is very emotional. People are inviting us into their homes and often we get to know them better than their doctor does–because you’re in their lives day-in and day-out for an extended period of time. So, taking that into consideration, we want to have a positive impact on people and their families throughout the process.

Interviewer 

What home improvement/home renovation services does Everest offer?

Randy Harding

I like to say Everest is a whole home solutions company. We offer Northern Virginia homeowners improvement/renovations services related to the home’s exterior—including roofing, windows, siding, decks and doors. From an interior perspective, we offer complete renovation services for kitchens, basements, bathrooms and room additions. We also have design services to go along with all these different elements of the project.

Chris Shoemaker

Like Randy said, I think there are a lot of companies out there that specialize in one of those things. And they’re able to build their company and grow their company focused on that singular product or service offering—whether it’s for a home’s interior or exterior.

We believe there is a real advantage to be able to walk into a customer’s home, and be experts at everything involved with their home, whether it’s wanting their kitchen done, or wanting to do their windows within six months, we thought that we could offer that and offer a great relationship and continue that relationship down the road.

Interviewer

Excellent. So, what differentiates Everest Home Improvement’s attitude and deliverables? And how will clients witness this on a regular, daily basis?

Chris Shoemaker

I think one of the things that Randy and I both take a lot of pride in on a daily basis is having fun within the business. Obviously, we are well aware there are daily responsibilities–things that have to happen on a daily basis to keep the business going and make sure that projects are run in the right way—that’s a given.

One of the things that we’ve always taken pride in is having fun while we work. Not only with our company, but in our dealings with homeowners and clients.

Like Randy said earlier, we get to really know these customers as we’re in their home for an extended period of time. You want to have fun interactions with them and our crews that are in our customer’s homes on a daily basis. So, that was really the basis of the process we wanted to focus on—really, just creating that type of atmosphere with our projects and having fun at the end of the day.

Randy Harding

As Chris stated, our goal–as far as our customers’ experience–is to have a positive impact on our customers and their families, as well as the people that work for us as well.

We have a large number of sub-contractors who actually do the work, which is a very tough job. And our customers are going to get the best out of them every day. And I think one of the things that we pride ourselves on is we know we’re not perfect, but we also don’t shy away from issues and come up with solutions to issues that arise during the projects. So that again, we are always working towards that end goal in mind—a positive customer experience.

Chris Shoemaker

And ultimately, the end result, when we shake hands at the end of that project–and we’ve left you with a new kitchen, a new roof, whatever it may be–we want to leave you with a smile.

Randy Harding

That’s the ultimate goal, and the ultimate compliment that we get at the end of the project–to see the customer smile at the finished product and the new addition to their home.

Interviewer

That’s cool. The way you guys go about it sounds like you’re trying to keep both your crews and the clients all smiling throughout the process.

Chris Shoemaker 

Absolutely. You know, in creating this company, we looked at a lot at reviews given within the industry. Given my background in Sales, as much I would love to think that it was about me as the salesperson and what we did up front, most of those reviews in the industry are about the work that was completed and the people who did the work. The reviews focused on worker attitudes during the project, the timely manner that they worked in, how polite they were, how they cleaned up everything. And so, we wanted to create an atmosphere in a company that was built around that end product in mind and really celebrate those people that are doing the work on a daily basis.

Randy Harding

I think when clients work with Everest, they can expect us to be to do what we say we’re going to do. And that’s it–it’s just that simple. We try to separate ourselves by backing up what we say. So many people don’t in this industry. And so, we do what we say all the time.

Chris Shoemaker

In working with Everest, I think the biggest form of flattery within this industry is getting that phone call from someone new that’s interested in a project, that is a referral from someone that we already worked with. Our company is based around that and we do a lot of referral business. And that’s our ultimate goal–to complete a project with the customer that they’re excited about, and they’re happy about, and that they’re going to go out and talk to their family and friends about.

Interviewer

You both have said and I see on your website, there is no hard sale with Everest. Can you talk a little bit about the sales process? Especially Chris, since that’s your sandbox? How do you approach a prospective client?

Chris Shoemaker

Whether it’s myself or Randy, who also does a lot regarding coming to terms with some of our clients, one of the things that drives us is to never make this business a “now or never” type atmosphere. Having 15 years’ experience in this industry, I’ve seen a lot of different things—both good and bad.

Just like the actual project when we get into your home is a process and can take time, we understand that the purchasing of these projects for homeowners is a process as well. And so, they have to go through their checklist and items of things that they ultimately feel comfortable with and in working with a company. We want to be there for that process and answer any questions along the way they need to get answered, so they ultimately feel comfortable with Everest Home Improvement in signing on the dotted line.

Interviewer

Randy, given all the positive shout-outs to “Randy and his team” in your five-star reviews, does Chris ever get jealous that you are getting all the recognition?

Randy Harding

Chris is mentioned as part of the “team”. He’s the silent part of the team. But yes, he has mentioned it to me.

Chris Shoemaker

I like to think that I’m selfless. I know the glory goes to all and I’m just behind the scenes, you know, making it all happen.

Randy Harding

When it goes back to the sales process, we want to come up with the right solution for the customer. Ultimately, they come to us with ideas and we want to give them what we think is the best solution for them, and make sure they understand the proper budget up-front.

The better we clearly come to terms upfront on all aspects of a project during the sales process, the better success we have during the actual project. So, it’s about giving customers all the information we can up-front, and then letting them make a decision in their time.

We understand life gets in the way of a lot of things and everyone has different priorities. Unless customers are in dire straits with an active leak or something important not working, we let people take their time to do what’s right for them, because nobody likes to be forced into doing something. We understand these are rather large purchases. Customers have to be comfortable with their decisions. And, that’s nothing that we will press, as we would not want to be forced into a quick, high-pressure decision for us or our families either.

Chris Shoemaker

I think one of the elements of the industry that I always think about and I always talk with my sales teams in the past is, “would you want your parents to work with us?” Right? If you went into their home and you got to meet with them about a project. Would you send yourself (and your company) into your parent’s home? So, you take pride in that, right? There’s a lot of different companies out there, there’s a lot of different ways you can go about doing business within the industry–some are “now or never”. It doesn’t have to be that way. It can be fun. It can be getting to know you as a client and what you want for your home. And, like I said earlier, we just want to be there every step of the process for you.

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