Re-Bath

ReBath White Calcutta

Re-Bath’s transformation into a franchise organization allowed the remodeling company

to become more customer-centric business.

By Tim O’Connor

Re-Bath’s driving beliefs are that customers should love their bathrooms and the best way to do that is by controlling every point in the remodeling journey.

Too often, a person who hires an independent contractor runs the risk of creating a stressful process. There are fewer standard procedures so delays are more common. Subcontractors might be needed, resulting in uneven quality of installation. And in some cases the contractor might even require the client to buy all the materials themselves from a local home improvement retailer. After all those headaches, the customer might still end up with a beautiful bathroom but not one they love because they were soured by the experience.ReBath Fact Box

Re-Bath eliminates those frustrations by acting as the single source for the entire bathroom remodeling project. The company manufactures its own materials out of its facility in Tempe, Ariz., and its franchisees work with the client to design and install the full or partial remodel. “If we give them an effortless bathroom remodeling experience they’re going to have something to love at the end of the process,” Vice President of Franchise Development Jeremy Wallace says.

“There’s one number to call; there’s one contractor accountability,” he adds.

The Re-Bath Way

When Re-Bath started in 1978, it was the first company to produce an acrylic bathtub liner for the hospitality market. Acrylic products are a groutless solution that won’t crack or chip over time and are easy to install and maintain, making them perfect for hotels and motels. The company eventually added a matching three-piece acrylic wall system, which it sold to hospitality clients for about a decade.

A transformation began in the early 1990s as Re-Bath moved from the hospitality industry to target residential customers through branded dealerships. Re-Bath soon expanded its product lineup with replacement shower bases, bathtubs, bathtub-to-shower conversion pans and a variety of acrylic accessories. Today, the company also offers products including flooring, vanity tops, mirrors, shower valves, toilets, lighting, hardware and more.

As the company became a complete bathroom remodeling business, Re-Bath began looking for ways to better support its customers. In 2012, it decided to convert its dealer network to a royalty reporting franchise model. “We felt that as we looked across the industry we saw other acrylic manufacturers coming onto the scene, and we felt there was an opportunity to create more value for our dealer partners by offering more systems and a constant brand around the product,” Wallace explains.

There was some hesitation from Re-Bath dealers at first because, as independent businesses that had developed their own ways of operating, switching to the franchise format would not only bring the dealers all under a unified Re-Bath brand but also set uniform standards of operation. Most eventually understood the value and Re-Bath converted nearly its entire dealer network to franchisees.

The switch to franchising changed operations on the corporate side of the company as well. Re-Bath had long viewed itself as primarily a manufacturer, but it now considers itself a franchisor that manufactures products to support its franchisees. “To be a great franchisor you need to have a very well thought out and designed system that your franchisees use in creating value for the end customer,” Wallace says.

To that end, Re-Bath developed a module-based approach that supports the five main areas of how franchisees conduct business: marketing, sales, customer experience, production and office management. Within that framework, Re-Bath implemented processes and procedures designed to help franchisees succeed in each area. Wallace calls it “the Re-Bath Way.” “The Re-Bath Way is offering customers an effortless bathroom remodeling experience,” he explains.

By adhering to a customer-centric mindset, Wallace believes Re-Bath sets itself apart from competitors. “Most folks are functional in their approach: ‘You have a problem, they’ll help you fix it.’ It’s not at all about the experience,” he says. “We’re the only company to adopt the philosophy [of customer experience] mindset first. We believe that has allowed us to be positioned to dominate the market.”

Expanding Footprint

Re-Bath’s approach to customers and its switch to franchising are at the core of its growth strategy. The company is now the largest interior remodeling business in the United States and the sixth largest remodeling company overall, Wallace says. Fourteen new franchise locations joined the Re-Bath network last year, bringing the total number of franchisees to 120.

Wallace expects to steadily add 10 to 12 new franchises each year for the next five years. He credits that growth projection to the support tools the company put in place in 2016, such as a national vendor program that provides materials and components to franchises at a reduced cost. The program includes suppliers such as faucet maker Moen, cabinet manufacturer Bertch and plumbing provider Ferguson.

Re-Bath locations are available in about 80 markets across the country. Many of the franchises the company adds in the coming years will target the major markets where Re-Bath does not yet have a presence, including Kansas City, Mo.; Tampa, Fla.; Seattle, Wash.; Chicago and New York City.

The push into new markets creates the need to get the Re-Bath name in front of customers and potential franchisees alike. To help that effort, Re-Bath this year hired its first chief marketing office, Kavita McCarthy. “This is somebody that brings 20 years of marketing experience in the franchising and building products space so it’s a huge win for us,” Wallace says. 

 

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