My brother Gabriel and I opened Kelemer Brothers back in 1999, with the hope of being one of those new businesses that makes it beyond the first year, since so many fail. By late 2000 we became accredited by the local Better Business Bureau and over time the business grew. We celebrated five years, and then ten, and kept on growing. Now, over 16 years and 50,000 replacement windows later, we are firmly entrenched in the Baltimore area and known as the “window men.”
But running a business is never easy, especially in such a competitive market. Sure, profits are the bottom line when you run any company, but if, at the end of the day, you do not feel fulfilled and have a sense of pride in what you are doing, you may be in the wrong business.
When we see customers in the community who say hello and talk to us, as we look at their children who that have grown up since we were last at their home installing replacement windows, we remember why we do this. For us, running a successful business is about being part of the community and making our customers feel good about working with us. After all, our original mission was, and still is, to make every customer a customer for life.
How is that possible?
One Word: Integrity
It’s actually simple, there are a few key rules to follow:
- Be honest and ethical: There are two ways to do something. You can be up front and honest with people or you can lie or trick your way into making a deal. The difference is how well you will sleep at night and how much stress will eat you up inside. I’d prefer to sleep well knowing I was fair and honest with my customers. Plus, the great thing about being honest is you never have to stay up thinking of ways to cover your tracks or trying to remember what you told people.
- Keep your promises: Your promise is your word… and it is powerful. I always take time to think about what I can and cannot fulfill and subsequently make promises that I am able to act upon. The problem with even one unfulfilled promise is that you lose credibility and have to work so hard to gain it back. We’ve found that by keeping our promises people trust us and call us again.
- Know What You Don’t Know: Gabriel and I are experts on window replacements but considering how many different types of homes we visit, it does not mean we always know everything. Yes, we read up and educate ourselves on what’s new in the industry, BUT if we are confronted by a situation in which we do not have all the answers, we will acknowledge it and make it our business to find the answer and come back to the customer with the solution. Once you start guessing, you lead yourself and your customer down a path that rarely ends well and you jeopardize your integrity.
- Sincerity: If you care about your customers let them know you are interested by listening closely and understanding their needs. We sincerely enjoy talking with our customers and learning about them – that’s what makes the business so worthwhile.
We have tried to abide by these rules of integrity and have seen numerous wonderful testimonials and reviews that remind us why we are doing what we do… and enjoying it. You can contact us at 410-299-0038.