Home Modifications – Essentials for Success

Posted on in Growth Strategies

HomeAccessiblityBill Stelzer, home accessibility expert and consultant for AHIA, gave an enlightening presentation at the Heartland Conference. Stelzer began his presentation with a trip down memory lane, and a conversation about the good old days before managed care, increased reimbursement red tape and competitive bidding. There may be bumps in the road, however, there are opportunities available. Baby boomers are growing older, they want to age in place and they have the resources to make it happen. The DMEs that plan and diversify in order to take advantage of the opportunities to come have the potential to be highly successful. Success begins with three main pillars. Pillar 1: Solution thinking and building relationships. “If the customer comes in for a walk-in tub, but they only need a tub lift then the recommendation of the lower-priced tub lift will build trust, which builds repeat business and increases sales,” said Stelzer. Pillar 2: Product-proficient staff familiar with the five levels of home modification products. This information is important when making accurate and effective recommendations.

  • Level 1 Products:
    • Training: Basic instructions
    • Skills: Minimal
    • Example of products:
      • Threshold ramps
      • Shower benches
      • Elevated toilet seats
      • Reachers
  • Level 2 Products:
    • Training: In-house training
    • Skills: Able to follow technical instructions
    • Example of products:
      • Portable ramps with handrails
      • Portable patient lifts
      • Stand poles
      • Over-bed trapeze
  • Level 3 Products:
    • Training: Variable levels of complexity ranging from level 1 to 5
    • Skills: Variable levels of skills ranging from minimal skills to licensing
    • Example of products:
      • Modular ramp with platform/turns
      • Grab bars
      • Hand rails
      • Bridge lifts
  • Level 4 Products:
    • Training: Manufacturer, factory
    • Skills: Certification
    • Example of products:
      • Walk-in bathtubs
      • Stair lifts
      • Vertical or incline platform lifts
      • Mounted lifts
  • Level 5 Products:
    • Training: Contractor, carpenter, plumber, electrician
    • Skills: Skilled, licensed
    • Example of products:
      • Wooden ramps or decks
      • Bathroom renovations
      • Widening doorways and hallways
      • Accessible room additions
      • Indoor elevator
Pillar 3: Always evaluate homes and suggest projects based on the four home modification design distinctions:
  1. Accessible Design: Blends universal design parameters and specific customer needs
  2. Adaptable Design: Parameters meet up with the real-world needs of the customer within their home
  3. Affordable/Doable Design: Cost and project feasibility. Is the size and scope of the project possible? Can the customer afford the project? If so, when will you get paid?
  4. Aesthetic Design: Will the modification fit within the existing décor?
“If you put off planning or acting on the future, it will soon become a lost opportunity of the past,” said Bill Stelzer. Don’t let entry into home modifications become a lost opportunity. To learn more about the three pillars of DMEs offering home modification assistance, contact Bill Stelzer at 920-639-6993 or [email protected] or Jerry Keiderling, president of AHIA, at 877-404-2442 or [email protected].