Remodeler Q&A: Greg Alsterlund
President and Owner
Greg Alsterlund is president and owner at McDonald Remodeling in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. He has more than 20 years experience in all aspects of remodeling, from digging drain tile, to framing homes, to designing kitchens, to working home shows.
Q: What are the top three things you look for from a supplier?
A:Our suppliers are a direct representation of us when working in our clients’ homes. With that, they need to reflect our same values and beliefs when on site. They need to be willing and able to service our clients in a professional manner and they need to be great problem solvers and provide creative and innovative solutions.
Q: Describe your best lumber and building materials vendor.
A:By far and away, our favorite lumber company is Scherer Brothers Lumber. It’s a family run company with almost 90 years of experience. They have put a true focus on tailoring their remodeling business to service the remodeler and the remodeling client. They do this with how their sales people are paid, how their stores are organized, their ability to perform high-end custom work in their shops to even how the loads are delivered to the sites. Beyond that, they put a huge focus on relationship building and training for the people in the industry. From the top down, they’re a wonderful company.
Q: When was the last time you changed vendors and why?
A:We had a client about eight years ago come to us and asked if we could use a cabinet company that they’ve used in the past. At the time, our existing cabinet company was going through some major transitions and the timing was right to explore this new opportunity. Through that experience, we’ve come to have a wonderful relationship with a terrific cabinet company.
Q: When and why would you accept a meeting from a new supplier/vendor?
A:As I mentioned in the last question, we explored a change because our current vendor was experiencing some major changes. Those changes were challenging our ability to properly service our clients. An additional reason would be if the size of the project would require different staffing needs.
Q: What do you wish LBM suppliers understood about your business?
A:It’s important that our vendors realize we both have the same clients. It’s all of our jobs to service that client as best possible. Timely communication is also huge. We have a saying, “nothing kills a deal like time.”
Q: What products (if any) do you buy installed?
A:We have a wonderful closet company and they do some fantastic work. They can meet with our clients to perform the design work, show some fun with options that are new and exciting and then they go and do the installs. They do a great job, and we let them do what they do best.
Q: What is the number one problem that keeps you up at night?
A:I’m not sure this question fits me. We’ve been blessed with some fantastic people and they do some great work in serving our clients. Knowing that, I sleep pretty well.
Q: What do you see as your biggest opportunity?
A:Building on our systems and services will always be the biggest opportunities. Success in these areas will continue to expand our client experiences.