In a single, three-day long sting operation, 26 unlicensed contractors were arrested in Pinellas County, Florida. The sting, called “Operation Drop the Hammer,” was implemented by the local sheriff’s office to catch dangerous and unsanctioned contractors.

Sheriff Bob Gaultieri is quoted as saying “This operation was too easy. It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” referencing the sheer quantity of unlicensed contractors seeking to cash in on under-the-table projects.

What does this mean for your business?

If the local sheriff in a sleepy Florida county can net dozens of unlicensed contractors in a three-day sting, just imagine what your local dealers are dealing with! On many jobs, your quality dealers will be competing with cut-rate contractors who may drop prices to unreasonable lows by cutting corners on licensure and insurance.

Protect your dealers and build your bottom line by highlighting these key differentiators your network brings to the table:

  1. Licensed and insured: Don’t just mention that you’re following the law. Make clear why that is a value to the customer. You stand by your products, your dealers insure their work, and the customer’s peace-of-mind will benefit. Sell against that value!
  2. Nationwide network: Branding works. Customers are more likely to trust a business with an established track record of success. Dealer networks like yours have a built-in way to demonstrate that credibility – your large network of dealers is an asset! Make it clear that your dealers are selected from the best remodelers nationwide. That way, the customer will be less likely to hire a bottom-dollar contractor, as they are buying into your reputation for quality.
  3. Happy customers: An illegal operator can’t give a long sheet of references. After all, they’re the definition of a fly-by-night company! Your dealers should fully leverage their list of happy customers to edge out shady competitors. The easiest way to do this at scale is with online reviews. Encourage your dealers to keep in contact with their past customers. Your dealers should request a review from every completed project. 
Here at Spectrum, we build online reviews into our software platform for remodeling manufacturers, so that requesting reviews is a snap and displaying them online is even easier.

The raw amount of unlicensed remodelers caught in this short sting illustrates a growing problem for the established remodeling industry – the business is so profitable that illicit competitors are increasingly common. Be sure to arm your dealers against this threat with strategic messaging that edges out unlicensed competitors before they can cause your customers any grief!