Take home mods by the reins

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Friday, January 27, 2017

WATERLOO, Iowa – Look for an amped up presence from The VGM Group’s Accessible Home Improvement of America in 2017.

Jim Greatorex, formerly of VGM’s Retail Services division and before that the owner of an HME company that worked with local contractors on home modifications, took the helm of AHIA in December.

“This is a really good opportunity for providers,” said Greatorex, vice president of AHIA. “The home modifications market is going to be faster growing in the next 10 years than the home oxygen market and that market is going to be 2.5 times bigger than it is right now.”

VGM launched AHIA, a nationwide network of providers and contractors that specialize in home modifications and related products and services, in 2010. It has about 135 members who are all specially trained and qualified Certified Environmental Access Consultants (CEAC), and works with about 25 “participating manufacturers,” including national names like Sherwin Williams and Lowe’s.

Greatorex’s goal is to bring to bear all of his expertise in marketing on AHIA.

“It’s an underserved market that’s screaming for help from a marketing perspective,” he said. “We need to foster the relationships between these great manufacturers who make these great products, and the folks on the front lines who see these people in their homes and know what works best for them. It’s a really nice challenge.”

Greatorex says one his first tasks on the job has been to learn the best practices of AHIA’s members and what’s holding them back from growing, including their lack of knowledge about funding sources.

“There’s lots of money out there for this, but it can be tricky to get your fingers on,” he said.

Due to the aging population, there are many eyes on the home mods market, but there’s room for everyone, Greatorex says.

“There are two sides to this business,” he said. “There are the contractors who take the ADA law and that’s how they approach home mods, and there’s the providers who know that every mobility impaired senior or person with a disability requires more than the federal guideline. We need to match up building and HME people. That’s the big picture.”